Lafayette, Louisiana – Julio Naudin, an El Paso native and notoriously bad speller, is pleased to present Headlines, a new series of mixed media artwork based on original vintage newspaper front-pages.
Naudin, who worked for The El Paso Times and El Paso Herald-Post for more than 20 years, was in the newspaper business for more than three decades — not including the six years he spent as a newspaper boy in central El Paso.
A graduate of Austin High School, Naudin started his studies at the University of Texas El Paso as an art major but eventually graduated with a degree in mass communications/broadcasting. He sold a number of paintings while in college at UTEP.
Through the years, Naudin has continued to paint when time availed. He has gained a loyal following in Louisiana, where he now lives. His paintings hang in many Louisiana homes. When he retired in 2019, he took up painting full-time.
When he lived in El Paso in the 1990s, he purchased a bound edition of 1929 El Paso Herald newspapers at a flea market along Doniphan Road. After retiring, he rediscovered the old volume of newspapers and was amazed at the headlines and stories he found.
“I remember as a 12-year-old kid, sitting on the sidewalk of Alabama Street, reading the headlines every day after throwing a paper route. On good days, I was drinking a Coke and eating peanuts,” Naudin said. “I remember thinking, ‘If you only read the headlines, what image of the story would you have?'”
His interest in headlines and their power to tell a story stayed with him.
“While I didn’t spend any of my newspaper career in a newsroom, I did spend it in advertising and marketing — which is also about writing headlines,” he said. “During my career in an industry that has changed so much recently, I learned a lot about the history of newspapers, especially in El Paso.”
Naudin said that in 1929, the time of the El Paso newspapers he’s working with, there were at least three daily newspapers.
“Every day it was a competition of who had the best headlines to sell papers,” he said. “The headlines were the 1920s version of clickbait.”
Many of the stories found in the 1929 newspapers are about familiar themes.
“With some of the headlines and images that I work with in the old newspapers, making a social statement by pointing out the misogyny and racism that was common then, and to some degree now, is there for the viewer to see and draw his or her own conclusions,” Naudin said. “And other front pages are just for fun — like the cattle rustlers.”
With a growing Louisiana following, Naudin has also collected a number of vintage Louisiana-based front pages and has sold several Huey P. Long-inspired paintings from the Headline collection.
“The Bandit Queen immediately caught our eye. We love the mixed media approach and the fact that the painting was done on a real front page from an El Paso newspaper. It’s a work that gets more interesting the more you look at it and the more time you spend with it,” Monica Wright, owner of The Bandit Queen shares.
“The story of Rita Delores pulled us in, since it is her image that Julio painted, but we found so many tidbits of history from 1929 that we just marveled at the work. She now hangs above our mantle, defiant and beautiful, forever in her historical moment but fully in the present through Julio’s delightful rendering.”