Biography - Victor Arriola Reina (Sr.)
Victor Arriola Sr., born Victor Manuel Arriola Reina on December 25, 1933, in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala.
He grew up on a coffee farm with his parents, Carlos Arriola and Lucia Reina de Arriola. As a young man, his father decided to send him to Canada to study law. It was not long before he discovered his “bohemian side”, making friends with local artists. He left the university before he could receive his law degree, but continued to live in Toronto and Montreal for 5 years before returning to Guatemala.
While in his early 30’s, Victor was married and starting his own family while working as a cashier at the Hotel Biltmore’s bar. Between working full time and his family, he was also taking painting classes to develop his skills as an artist. For practice, he started making drawings of regular customers in the bar. Many of these customers began noticing and were impressed with his sketches of them; a few customers began offering to pay him to draw them. He began bringing paintings to work and putting them behind the cash register for customers to see his work. While at the hospital with his wife, who was in labor, another cashier at the bar was approached by a customer to buy one of Victor’s paintings. It was not until the next day when he returned to work that he learned that he sold his first painting on the same day his oldest twin sons’ Carlos and Guillermo were born.
As his art carrier began to become more successful, he started teaching his own kids to paint. The need of sharing his talent and passion for art grew so strong that he opened his own art academy in the 1970’s, Academia de Arte Arriola. For over 20 years, many of today’s most famous Guatemalan artists learned to paint under his loving tutelage, as well as his three son’s. His talent as a master artist and skills as teacher have been world-renowned and rewarded over the last 50 years.
Now 78 years old, Victor is still full of his love and passion for his art, combined with the optimism and energy of a much younger man. Now retired from teaching, he paints and takes care of his own Art Gallery, Galeria Arriola in Guatemala City. The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, from 9am to 9pm, featuring Realistic works from the entire Arriola family.
Please visit our Contact Page to schedule an appointment or for more information.