Nacho Moya in Moya Art Gallery & Studio
Colorful, eye-catching art that makes a statement is drawing people from around the world to Moya Art Gallery & Studio in downtown Gilroy. More accurately, the artist behind these eye-catching pieces—Ignacio Moya Rodriguez (who goes by “Nacho” Moya)—is drawing visitors to his gallery to meet him and see his vibrant, culturally-themed pieces in person.
When you plan your Gilroy visit, you won’t want to miss this hidden gem and see how Moya Art Gallery & Studio is helping to vitalize Gilroy’s burgeoning arts community.
COLORFUL ART WITH MEANING
Nacho Moya wants his artwork to inspire others and send a positive message, and his expressive paintings convey his emotions and intentions. When you walk into Nacho’s studio, you will be surrounded by walls covered with bold paintings of political movers and shakers, inspiring athletes, celebrities, everyday people, locally-inspired pieces, and symbolic pictures.
Nacho’s painting of Pele, the Brazilian soccer legend who passed away in 2022
Nacho’s paintings are often inspired by current events in the world; he wants his art to be realistic but also unique. He loves the use of color and believes that colors are energy. Nacho said, “I want people when they see my paintings to feel something.” His paintings are meaningful and often share a message or a tribute to someone. And, just as Nacho is inspired to create art, he hopes to inspire others with his artwork and his passion for art.
What painting will speak to you? And which one will you want to take home? Schedule an appointment with Nacho to come check them out in person to find out!
NACHO MOYA’S INSPIRING STORY
Nacho grew up in Mexico, and he was drawing and sketching by kindergarten. He won his first art contest in 6th grade, and the prize was a backpack with art supplies. Because his family was poor and he didn’t even own a backpack, this prize meant a lot to him. He was so inspired, he resolved that he would work hard and become a professional artist when he grew up. It also registered in Nacho’s mind that he could one day make money with his art.
During school, Nacho participated in as many artistic pursuits as he could. He was always sketching. One of Nacho’s first paintings was one of sunflowers that he gave to his mom for Mother’s Day, as he had no money for a gift. His mom still has this special painting.
NACHO COMES TO GILROY
Nacho moved to Gilroy, California, from Mexico when he was 17 years old. He worked at a variety of different jobs, from construction and grounds preparations for Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park to retail at the Gilroy Premium Outlets. It was here that he met his wife, Alma, who encouraged him to take art classes at Gilroy’s Gavilan Community College. While a student there, he was featured in a campus “Student Spotlight” two years in a row for his art.
One of his first pieces from his college years was a painting he did in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He carried a vision in his mind for a few years what he wanted to create, and he sketched and painted it in 2006. Although his teacher wanted to buy the painting, Nacho held onto it and displays it on his gallery wall. Because it’s so meaningful to him, he hasn’t sold it, even though he’s had offers.
An enlarged replica of Nacho’s original painting inspired by the terrorist attacks on 9/11
PURSUING HIS DREAM
In 2016, Nacho decided to quit his retail job to pursue art full time. He thought that if he was going to be a professional artist, he needed to dedicate 100% of his time and energy to his talent and building his career. Nacho started out doing paint parties in his living room at home and at other peoples’ homes, with some of them on video. He also began selling his own paintings on the side.
A paint party in Moya Art Gallery & Studio
After outgrowing his living room, Nacho opened his downtown gallery and studio in 2017. Once he moved into his gallery, the walls began filling up with original and colorful paintings, and he had a place to host more paint parties and group events.
When the pandemic hit, Nacho focused on doing more virtual paint parties from his studio. People from around the world began to tune in, and Nacho’s positive, patient teaching style grew his following on social media. He received responses from many followers on how his virtual paint sessions brought them positivity and a way out of depression during the darkness of the pandemic.
Nacho’s caring, encouraging personality and fantastic paintings have earned him many followers around the world. Fans from the Fresno area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, other states and other countries have made trips to Gilroy to visit Nacho’s gallery to meet him and see his art in person.
Nacho’s followers all know The Moya Motto: “Relax, don’t stress & do your best!”
A GROWING BUSINESS
Since the pandemic, Nacho’s business has continued to grow. He’s stayed busy with painting sessions or paint parties virtually, in his studio, and at other locations, including at some large companies, such as Netflix and Facebook. He also does commissioned paintings and paints his own inspired pieces, many of which are for sale.
He’s also in demand as a motivational speaker at schools and universities, even some out-of-state. Nacho loves to inspire others through his story and his art, encouraging them to work hard and pursue their dreams.
“The stories of how other successful people followed their dreams to get where they are inspires me,” Nacho said. “I want to be able to tell my story to inspire other people.”
He often follows the speaking engagements with a painting session.
Nacho has also had the chance to collaborate with many other organizations and participate in cultural events with his art. During Hispanic Heritage Month in the fall of 2022, a film called Campesinos: America’s Unsung Heroes—an award-winning short film about the lives of farm workers filmed at some Silicon Valley farms—was played in many film festivals, including local ones. Nacho was inspired to do a series of artwork related to the film titled “Feeding America,” helping bring awareness to what field workers go through. He was invited to display these paintings portraying field workers in collaboration with the film at different tech companies in the Bay Area.
Nacho said, “I learned so much from it [the film]. I started creating art that shows that.” People bought a lot of his artworks at those shows.
INSPIRED AND INSPIRING
Nacho’s future plans include opening a new location to serve as a gallery and event space. This would give him the freedom to keep his studio to paint in, while providing visitors a separate, larger space to view and purchase his artwork. He’d also like to hire staff to help with more paint parties and classes, art camps, and other community events in the new space. Nacho also plans to work on painting a new collection in 2023 that will send a positive message.
Nacho likes to surround himself with people who have worked hard to follow their dreams and have succeeded. This inspires him to do the same. In turn, he wants to do the same for others, through his art and sharing his story. Nacho said, “It inspires me to inspire others.”
Nacho’s painting inspired by Delores Huerta, a civil rights icon who co-founded United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez and coined the famous phrase “Si se puede” (“Yes, we can.)
Nacho especially wants to inspire his family and Latinos to not be afraid to follow their dreams. “I’ve promised myself that I will never give up on my dream,” he said. “No matter what’s going on, I’m going to keep moving forward.”
Nacho also finds music inspiring, and he will listen to all kinds of music while painting, depending on what fits his mood. Nacho also enjoys playing the guitar and the piano.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Nacho has been recognized for his art, his support of the local community, and his encouraging, positive spirit that has impacted even Nacho’s international followers.
In 2022, Nacho received the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Icon Award for Art. The Poppy Jasper Film Festival (PJIFF) is an annual, locally-hosted international film festival. This award was presented to him at a ceremony in 2022 on PJIFF’s Mexico Day, when they highlighted Mexican movies, filmmakers, musicians, and artists. Nacho not only contributed his time and original artwork for PJIFF’s 2019 poster, but he painted pieces for visiting industry professionals and celebrities. According to Mattie Scariot, the director of PJIFF, “Nacho has developed a reputation that has led to the emergence of an international business.” She said Nacho was given the award to “recognize a local artist who has made significant contributions to the community and art world.”
Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Icon Award 2022 Recipients
Director and author Luis Reyes, director Luis Valdez, actor Pepe Serna, and artist Nacho Moya
Nacho is thrilled to be receiving a Freedom Award in January of 2023 from the Bethany Community Church in Gilroy, which will be presented to him, along with three Lifetime Achievement Award winners, at a special breakfast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This award recognizes his positive, uplifting impact during the pandemic on his followers who span the globe. Nacho said, “This award is so meaningful to me.” He had a goal of wanting to earn this award one day in the distant future and was shocked to earn it in so soon.
A variety of celebrities from the Bay Area, Hollywood, and even Mexico have purchased Nacho’s art. He also did a commissioned painting for a musician from a well-known Mexican band.
ART BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER
Nacho believes “art is a worldwide language” that can bring people together from different locations, races, and religions. He said he experienced this during the pandemic through his virtual paint sessions. “It was an amazing energy,” he said. Nacho believes we can heal people and lift their spirts through art, and he wants to continue to bring people together through art.
Nacho encourages visitors to explore other art in Gilroy besides his studio, whether it’s a visit to Gallery 1202 or the Gilroy Center for the Arts downtown or checking out the many murals throughout town. He said, “We have a lot of amazing local artists.” He encouraged buying something from local artists on your next visit to Gilroy to support them and encourage their dreams.
VISITING MOYA ART GALLERY & STUDIO
Nacho invites Gilroy visitors to “visit Moya Art Gallery & Studio to learn the story of how it started.” Moya Art Gallery & Studio is open by appointment only. Call Nacho Moya ahead to schedule a viewing and to purchase some of his colorful, inspiring artwork.
7516 Eigleberry St. Unit 100
For other artistic venues, check out our Arts & Entertainment page or learn more in-depth details in A Guide to Gilroy’s Art Galleries, Murals, and More. You can also check our Events calendar for upcoming arts events.
If you’re planning to come to Gilroy to visit the Moya Art Gallery & Studio, be sure to book a comfortable, affordable hotel and plan to stick around downtown where you can visit the other galleries and studios, along with finding some fun shopping and great restaurants. You’ll also find plenty of other fantastic things to do in Gilroy!
While you’re in town, be sure to stop by our California Welcome Center Gilroy in the Gilroy Premium Outlets, near Forever 21, where our friendly staff can help you find the perfect souvenirs and a free copy of our Spice Visitors Guide with more information about all the fun things to do in Gilroy.