Pacheco’s Art of Ybor City
"[Ybor City Chronicles] reads like oral history, behind which one senses a practiced storyteller--a big, hearty, entertaining fellow who can talk about himself for hours, and does. . . . He can make you laugh out loud in a room alone."-- Washington Post
"Dr. Pacheco is enthralled by the memory of a neighborhood of family and friends inextricably tied together by custom, values, and concerns. It is these traits that make his anecdotes worth relating."-- New York Times Book Review
"Ferdie Pacheco is an artist. His oils are lush and rich, full of the color and life of his times. They are vibrant and alive--almost as if Grandma Moses were to eat a plate of boliche and swallow three cups of café solo before sitting down to paint. . . . [And] he is a storyteller. . . . Ybor City Chronicles is a moment lifted out of the past. . . . It is told with style and gusto and more than a little love, [and] we owe a debt of thanks to Ferdie Pacheco."-- Tampa Tribune
Ferdie Pacheco has done it again. In Ybor City Chronicles (UPF, 1994) he brought to life the immigrant utopia that was Tampa’s Ybor City in his childhood. In The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook (UPF, 1995), he and coauthor Adela Hernandez Gonzmart created something more than a cookbook, highlighting the recipes, history, and personalities behind of one of America’s most famous Spanish restaurants.
Now, in Pacheco’s Art of Ybor City, the Renaissance man and bon vivant best known as Muhammad Ali’s "Fight Doctor"--a man who has also worn the hats of family physician, Emmy award-winning boxing commentator, historian, playwright, screenplay writer, and author of five books--here offers 33 of the paintings that have established his reputation as an artist.
In these full-color reproductions we see the Ybor City of the 1930s and ’40s that inspired Pacheco from the beginning. With the same flare and storyteller’s gift evident in Ybor City Chronicles and The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook, he narrates the unpredictable course of his development as an artist and tells the story behind each painting in this collection.
In the bright muralist-style colors that have become his stock-in-trade, Pacheco renders a storehouse of memories too vivid ever to grow dull. So long as he has hold of us, there is no Ybor City more real than this one--with its cigar factories, palm trees, bolita gangsters, trolley cars, clubs and diners and cafés, and the Spaniards, Cubans, Sicilians, and oddball personalities who walk its red-bricked streets.
Picture book, memoir, history lesson, and portrait of the artist, Pacheco’s Art of Ybor City is four books in one. Together they do what only art can: they turn memory, love, and nostalgia into a city you can visit.
Ferdie Pacheco is the author of Ybor City Chronicles (UPF, 1994), The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook (with Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, UPF, 1995), Muhammad Ali: A View from the Corner, Fight Doctor, and Renegade Lightning. His art has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Miami Herald, USA Today, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and many others. Exhibits of his award-winning paintings have appeared in New York, London, Paris, Marseilles, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa, and Miami, where he now lives with his wife, Luisita Sevilla.
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Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award - 1998
"To those who lived in or knew of the Ybor City of the 30s and 40s, it is a catapult into the past, the days of high school heroes, trolley cars, street vendors, town scandals and landmarks long forgotten." "Today's Ybor City of art deco wekends and promenades along traffic-less Broadway, of Ybor Gold beer and restoration projects, can't hold a candle to the Ybor City of first generation immigrants. The Ybor City I knew."
--Merritt Island News
"A thoroughly delightful text. Pacheco's Art of Ybor City gives one a visual treat as brimming with flavor and texture as the Columbia's arroz con pollo and as deeply felt as his Chronicles. Like those, this text reveals a time not that long ago when the cities we inhabit were truly tropical in the habits and haunts - a place the palm trees in the bricked-in windows of large silent cigar factories."
--Key West, The Newspaper
"Pacheco's Art of Ybor City, by Ferdie Pacheco, is an art book that turns out to be much more." "In this book are powerful and sensitive images of Ybor City's people and places, depicted as they were during the 1930s and 1940s when Pacheco was young. In his memory it was that community's golden age and he describes it lovingly." "Through pictures and text, the reader encounters wonderful people at work and play. Ybor City must have been a vibrant place then - cigar factories, social clubs, cafes, trolley cars, picnics in the park - a distinctive ethnic enclave now mostly lost to time and an exodus to suburbia."
"Ferdie Pacheco's mural-like paintings dazzle in Pacheco's Art of Ybor City. . . ; the text by the colorful fight doctor is flashy, too."
--St. Peterburg Times
"This jewel of a book proves once again that the author is indeed a man of all seasons." "Recommended for inclusion in any Florida history collection and any collectio of art books."
"Pacheco offers 33 carefully designed, brilliantly hued paintings that established him as an artist of exceptional talent." "This picture-book portrait of an artist is a history lesson and memoir."
--Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel