Local teen artist is subject of Oscar-nominated documentary 'Inocente'

Documentary film looks at life of Inocente Izucar

CHULA VISTA - This year, the Oscars spotlight will shine on the gripping story of a teenage artist from San Diego.

Inocente Izucar's journey through art and pain is about to intersect with the Academy Awards.             

"Everyone started calling and getting really excited," said Izucar. "This is really exciting."  

But before the excitement, there was hardship. After her father was deported for domestic violence, Izucar, her mother and her siblings became homeless in San Diego. The family moved from shelter to shelter.

In the documentary entitled "Inocente," Izucar's mother says things got so hopeless that plans were made for the entire family to jump off the Coronado Bay Bridge before Izucar talked her out of it.

Izucar, 18, had blocked the episode out before it came out in the film.

"I was shocked watching it," she told 10News. "It was very emotional for me to watch."

For much of her life, the emotions of living on the streets were hard to escape.

When she was 12, she was referred to a local nonprofit group, ARTS: A Reason To Survive. The group teaches the therapeutic aspects of art.

In the program, she started off with photography and gravitated toward painting. She was drawn to vibrant colors and abstract art.

"You could see the transformation as she got into the painting, she'd get lost," said Matt D'Arrigo, the founder of the group.

Izucar's story, which was profiled in a newspaper article, drew the attention of some well-known directors who ended up filming her for two years until the age of 17.

Recently, she had her first art exhibition in New York. Most of her pieces sold, which enabled her to get off the streets and into an apartment. She now lives in Chula Vista.

On Thursday, Izucar learned the documentary was an Oscar nominee.

"It will reach out to more people, and hopefully inspire people," she said. "My message has always been never give up hope."

The documentary was also shown on MTV.

Izucar has a ticket to go the Oscars and she plans to be there.

Click here to look at samples of Izucar's art.

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