January 8th, 2022 5PM-9PM

By Esther Sanchez

Nestled in a prominent corner of the Westfield mall in Palm Desert, Flat Black is an art supply store that also functions as a tattoo parlor and art gallery that proudly showcases pieces from up and coming artists and has become a general hub for artists of all styles throughout the community. I remember attending their grand opening a few years ago where they hosted performances by local musicians as well as showcasing multiple visual artists and I knew they had something special up their sleeves. The brainchild of owner and artist in his own right, Pete Salcido, Flat Back is not only about giving local artists access to supplies, but more importantly, opportunities to showcase their work in an environment worthy of what they can do in order to receive recognition they deserve.

After so many months of uncertainty due to covid shutdowns, the good people at Flat Black are proud to present their first art show of 2022 featuring the creations of lifelong artist and Coachella Valley native, Fred “Warzart” Warzecha.

Warzecha: “Art was just something that I have always done. As a kid, I was always drawing. From the time I was a toddler up through ages 5, 6 and 7 years old…If it got too quiet in the house my parents automatically knew they could find me behind the drapes or underneath the table drawing on something with crayons or markers. I was always getting into trouble for damaging walls, furniture, etc. Basically, the desire to create art has just been deeply ingrained in me since I was little.”


CVW: “More often than not, those types of talents tend to be inherited and fostered through family. Is that true in your case?”

Warzecha: “Oh, definitely. It does kind of run in the family. My mom was very crafty. She hand-painted t-shirts for all of the local sports events that I did growing up as a kid. My dad is an architectural draftsman who is big into interior and exterior design.”

CVW: “So what you’re saying is that regardless of how much of their property you may have damaged with your childhood scribblings, they pretty much always nurtured the artist within you?”

Warzecha: “They always did. They never once said anything along the lines of, ‘You need to focus on this and stop playing with pens and pencils.’ I mean, my grades had to stay at a certain standard but they never stopped me from drawing or painting. They encouraged me to go to art school. I always had full support from them.”

Warzecha continues: “I attended San Diego Art Institute and ended up getting my degree in graphic design from here at COD, although eventually, I got out of graphic design. Chasing money can be the downfall of a lot of graphic designers. It was just one of those things. I got tired of chasing money. That’s when I decided to pick up my paint brushes again…and my airbrush.”

CVW: “Do you feel as though your time in art school made you a more well-rounded artist compared to how you may have turned out if you were mainly, ‘self-taught?’”

Warzecha: “I would say it helps, yes. You get to play and explore a bit more and then you have instructors who are critiquing from an academic standpoint. They can be very helpful in pushing you towards your niche, you know? Helping you find your strengths. I mean, I can’t paint abstract styles to save my life. To me, it’s just like flinging paint. I mean, don’t get me wrong…It’s beautiful and I love the colors with abstract art. But for me, my realm of style falls into realism with a slight illustrative style to it.”

CVW: “I know that a lot of artists go through phases with their style. Is that something you do?”

Warzecha: “NO, because up until the last couple of years I have been a commission artist. People come to me for portraits or maybe a particular landscape that they want. So with that, I never really find myself in the position of getting bored because a commission piece always has its own battles. Especially if someone is handing you a photograph of say, their grandparents from the 1930s and I’m having to pull a lot of information from that picture because it’s not digital. In all honesty, I’ve been doing portraits since High School so a lot of those things do come a little easier to me like being able to wrap my head around painting something when all of the information isn’t completely clear. When you draw something thousands of times you become proficient at it.”

CVW: “Seeing as how you have been making art on some level throughout your life, if you could go back in time, what type of advice would you give yourself as a young artist trying to make his way?”

Warzecha: “Just keep going. Just keep doing it. I said before that if I’m not creating something I get depressed. If I were to go back in time and advise myself to do something else I would probably be miserable. Everything in this show is something that I actually painted for myself because I was inspired and wanted to do it. That said, because of that fact…not everything is even for sale.”

Warzecha continues: “I am grateful for the opportunity that Pete (Salcido) has created here not only for myself, but the rest of the local art community in general.”


IG @warzart