First published: Summer 2024
Ten years after his death, elusive street artist Anthony Dominguez is making his mark again


Anthony Dominguez viewed the world as a realm of hidden forces. An unhoused artist roaming the streets of New York, furtively occupying abandoned structures around the city, he met hardships with equanimity and good humour. He had the same attitude when events favoured him, an outlook that accords with the medieval notion of fate as a revolving “Wheel of Fortune”. The seemingly capricious alternation of favourable and deleterious forces is a theme Dominguez often dealt with in his art, which consists mostly of monochromatic paintings on scavenged fabric. From the time he forsook conventional life to become a homeless street dweller, he produced hundreds of these works. His creative outpouring concluded with his suicide on Easter Sunday, 2014, shortly before he turned 54.


Exploded Heart Victim, 1995, paint on cloth, 41 x 31 in. / 104 x 78.5 cm


This year, almost ten years after his untimely death, Dominguez’s art was exhibited at New York’s Andrew Edlin Gallery. “Anthony Dominguez: Kindness Cruelty Continuum” ran from February 24 to April 6, 2024, bringing together 25 mostly two-dimensional works that collectively represent the arc of the artist’s output. Dominguez is also the subject of a recently released short film by art dealer and curatorial consultant Damon Brandt.


Untitled (Line to Come), c. 2013, paint on canvas, 19 x 8.5 in. / 48.5 x 21.5 cm


Of Mexican, Native American and Anglo ancestry, Dominguez was born in 1960, the second of three sons, and was raised by his father, a commercial artist in Fort Worth, Texas. His aunt Celia – his dad’s sister – emerged as the maternal figure in Dominguez’s life after his emotionally unstable mother abandoned the family when he was two years old.


Everready 9, 2008, paint on canvas, 24 x 10.5 in. / 61 x 26.5 cm


He excelled at art in high school, then took art and design courses at Texas Christian University, but he withdrew without a degree in order to freelance as a sign painter. In 1987, on a whim, he moved to New York and found work in a commercial print shop. By the early 1990s, he had quit his job, vacated his apartment and a not-for-profit centre for unhoused artists in NYC, and she showed Dominguez’s work there until it closed in 1996. Thereafter, the artist was represented by American Primitive, operated by Anton's husband Aarne Anton who would become his longtime art dealer. It was a happy chain of events for the artist who had his own particular beliefs about intentionality and fortune: “Often I make a suggestion, and it will appear,” he said. “If you want to get something, you’ve got to let go; you’ve got to give something in return. If you leave three pennies in a telephone coin-return slot – preferably heads up – you’ll find a quarter. Try it. It works.”




This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #119.

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