Granillo embraces art, life’s lessons

by Anna Roy
Staff Writer

Ernie Granillo can be seen working daily at the University of La Verne mail center.

But in addition to his full-time position, Granillo is an artist, a friend to the students and a type of visionary, who credits his past with shaping his approach to life.

There is always music filtering through the mail center any time Granillo is at work. Diverse music: from rhythm and blues to alternative rock.

Music and art have been a part of Granillo’s life since he was young, he said, and art is still his passion.

He spends his free time painting murals and portraits, writing music, playing electric and classical guitar, viewing art and drawing to communicate his thoughts.

“Art is a form of expression that I developed because I didn’t have the best verbal communication when I was younger, I was fairly shy,” he said.

He says he believes that art is therapeutic.

“I want people to be aware that art is out there for them to appreciate even though they might not create it. I think that it is a very important part of what completes a human being,” he said.

Granillo, 51, came to ULV eight years ago after seeing a job posting in the newspaper. At the time he was working at an insurance company in Pasadena.

With all his projects, Granillo takes the time to appreciate, enjoy and learn from the life surrounding him.

“Creativity is happening outside, not necessarily inside a building, creative things happen all over the place,” said Granillo, who often visits museums.

He grew up in a diverse part of Los Angeles, a place called El Sereno. Granillo said that he was friends with people of African- American, Armenian, Latino, Italian and Eastern European descent.

“I really liked the exchange of ideas,” he said.

His parents were born in the United States, and both spent time living in different parts of Mexico.

His parents have since passed away, but Granillo remains in close contact with his sister and cousins whom he grew up with.

He attended Cathedral High School, near Dodger Stadium, Elysian Park and Chinatown.

It was during this time that the Vietnam War was taking place. It was also a time of political activism, and Granillo and his friends participated.

“We were very much involved in demonstrations being put on, we were very aware of where the nation was at that time,” he said.

He joined such organizations as MECHA and La Raza Unida Party.

“We would put up flyers, write articles and make artwork,” Granillo said, who added that he also experimented with drugs in those days.

“I’ve had a very curious nature,” Granillo said, ” I’ve tried just about anything and everything and I’m not ashamed of it.”

He said he remembers the ’60s and ’70s as being a very vibrant time, when there wasn’t a lot of information about particular drugs.

“It was like a new frontier, there weren’t any Betty Ford Centers for rehabilitation,” Granillo said, “My generation was very exciting.”

He soon realized, that drugs, ” just put a lot of limits to what you can do. Any abuse is bad,” he said.

After graduating from high school, Granillo headed to Northern California, where he worked at a lily bulb farm in Smiths River, a small town 12 miles from the Oregon border. There he met and befriended migrant farm workers, or campesinos.

“It was a great time for me. Being around the campesinos taught me a lot about myself. The simple way that they lived. They took pride in what they did no matter how menial or tedious the job was. They’re very generous people. People like that have always had a great influence on me,” he said.

Granillo and his co-workers would work the entire harvest season and then have a celebration at the end. Afterwards he attended a junior college and traveled a lot.

He enjoyed living in Northern California, amid the Redwoods, where the pace was slower, he said.

He eventually came back to Southern California and said he plans to stay. He said he enjoys living in La Verne, particularly because of the ULV community.

“I’m more involved now than ever before,” he said.

“I encourage all students to be involved in whatever it is that they do, whether it be sports, campus politics or the liberal arts.

“I feel very comfortable where I’m at right now,” he said, “I think that it’s my time to share what I have with other people.”

Students, staff and faculty appreciate Granillo’s friendliness.

“He is really personable,” said freshman Matt Paulson. “He really helps you out on an individual basis.”

“Basically, of all the school employees, he’s probably the friendliest. He knew my name before I knew his,” said senior Will Paulson.

“He knows if I have mail, it’s just the little things that he does. If I see him around in the community we say hi to each other. Everybody knows Ernie.”

Latest Stories

Related articles

Students appreciate additional access

Several University of La Verne departments have taken needed steps to give students extended access to campus amenities, such as hot food, ticket purchases and mail pickup.

Students still shopping Amazon, despite tax

Up until last month, Californians were not charged state tax by such popular online stores as Amazon, but as of Sept. 15, that changed along with some people’s shopping habits.

SPJ banquet recognizes ULV with top honors

University of La Verne journalists cleaned up – capturing numerous top awards including second place in the “Best Newspaper” category, first place for “Best Magazine,” and first and second place for “Best TV Feature Segment,” 2005 – in a regional Society of Professional Journalist contest last week.

Award Winners

Society of Professional Journalists 2005 Southern California Excellence in Journalism University of La Verne award winners