When Ernesto Hernandez came to the United States from a small town in Mexico at age 5 with his mother and younger sister, he struggled with the English language. However, he found an outlet for expression through visual arts.

“We were living in poverty and in a country where we saw violence every day,” Hernandez wrote via email to the Index-Journal. “If nothing else, art has opened my eyes to a pathway of expressing myself as an immigrant.”

Hernandez now lives in Fort Mill and is a largely self-taught artist. He is the Greenwood Artist Guild artist of the month for November at Howard’s on Main in Greenwood with the show “Muerto No Estoy.”

An artist’s reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, open to the public, is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Hernandez lived in Greenwood from ages 6 to 15 and credits a former middle school art teacher at Northside Middle School, Chris Baschon, who now lives in Tryon, North Carolina, with encouraging his love for art.

“Her confidence in me has carried me since middle school,” Hernandez wrote. “We communicate often through texts, calls, emails and Facebook.”

Hernandez began his art career in 2007 and is also employed as a multi-unit manager for a Charlotte company, Sabor Latin Street Grill.

“My art sales get donated to different organizations in the Carolinas that support Latino and Latina artists,” Hernandez wrote. “Some of the organizations supported include Palmetto Luna Arts, SC Appleseed, Hope for the Arts, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the Art Museum of Myrtle Beach, among others.”

Hernandez’s paintings are vibrant. He finds inspiration from artists such as Jonathan Green and Diego Rivera.

“I love bright colors,” Hernandez wrote. “I use blues and reds a lot.”

Contact St. Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518