In the historical district of Manhattan Heights lives the sculptor Ho Baron, in his house, adorned with large shrubs and trees but the most interesting part of his yard are his sculptures, visible from the street. Amid the towering “gods,” The Water God, sits covered with intertwined roots making his house look like an abandoned, mystical place.
His sculptures take anthropomorphic shapes in various positions that suggest movement. The surfaces are rough and intricate, only a delicate eye can mold such patterns. By carefully examining his sculptures, various motifs can be identified like the shape of faces and specifically eyes.
“I like figurative art,” Baron said. “Because, I figured, you put a face in there, and people relate to faces.”
His art places the viewer in an uncomfortable position, “my art is not pretty,” Baron admits. His pieces are unique and they speak to his persona.
“People have passions in life,” Baron said. “Some people watch football, some people watch TV, and some people sit in their porch and drink beer. I make art,” Baron said.
His collective work is titled “Gods for Future Religions,” and is displayed as a post-apocalyptic occurrence. It is a satire on religion; he believes that just like religions have deities, his sculptures are his idols. He derives his ideas from the “universal archetypes” that have existed throughout history and that extend to religion.
Ho Baron is a native from Chicago, but was born and raised in El Paso, since his grandfather opened the pawnshop Dave’s Loan Co., located in front of Tricky Falls. He then studied English in Arizona and joined the Peace Corps, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Baron later returned to El Paso to work in the family business. “El Paso is an easy city to live in,” Baron said. “It’s not a tough city . . . I mean, there are cities in which I might have trouble putting my stuff outside.”
His sculptures can be found in the El Paso Public Library, the El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of Archeology; and nationally in Georgetown, other parts of Texas, and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, among others.
Baron also writes fiction, practices photography, paints, sews, and has written letters for the El Paso Times regularly. He is also politically active in different organizations in El Paso, like the socialist organization.
His work is something to cherish, and by taking a walk in Manhattan Heights around Piedras Street and Aurora Avenue, one can enjoy Baron’s work.
– By Aimée Santillán