Our Belize Community – Denroy “Smurf” Norales

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 19            May 10, 2007

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Denroy doing what he does best, painting amazing signs that color the town.

Businesses know that in order to get your services or products out, advertising is key. Whether it is through newspapers, radio or commercial on the local television channel, letting the public know is imperative to your businesses success. However, businesses have found that having a sign along one of the busy streets or intersections in San Pedro Town is a very good way to advertise. Knowing who to call to paint your sign is truly important as a skilled artist will not only have the artistic eye but will know which products will be able to withstand the weather. This week, The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce you to a young man that is skilled in the “lost art” of sign painting – Denroy “Smurf” Norales.

    Denroy was born on August 11th, 1972 in Belize City where he spent a total of six months. His mother Antonette decided that she wanted a better life for herself and her young child. Looking at her various options, she opted to uproot from her life in Belize and move, along with Denroy, to the “land of stars” – Los Angeles, California. There she had a family circle that not only supported her but made the transition to the “fast life” easier. In Los Angeles, she found work as a housekeeper while Denroy found company in the presence of his cousins.

    Denroy’s academic life began at Hooper Elementary where he proved to be a very intelligent young man that not only enjoyed hitting the books but loved hitting the courts. Moving to another section of the city known as The Valley, Denroy transferred to Darby Elementary where he became involved in basketball and volleyball. “But, my passion was always for the arts,” he comments. As such, arts were the extracurricular activities that he would enjoy the most.

    In 1991, when Denroy attended Venice High School, he delved deeper into the art world, attending classes that spoke of the commercial arts. These classes gave him the opportunity to explore the fields of silk screens, realism, pastels among many others. “These were all very interesting classes but the one thing that I would enjoy the most is mural paintings. Standing on the sidewalk, I would admire the various billboards and as much as they were vandalized, the spray painting done on the walls of buildings had a beautiful artistic feel to them. Being able to draw a perfect landscape on a big space was just impressive,” he explains.

    Completing his studies at Venice High, Denroy knew he needed to find a job. “Work in the states is very competitive. Many people applying for one job, that the chances that you get are automatically slimmed down,” he states. Denroy did get a position; he worked part-time as an assistant cook at McDonald’s. “That is not where I wanted to be, especially after the dedication I had put into my studies.”

    In 1995, Denroy returned to Belize on a short trip to visit family and friends and he knew he would have to come back to his country. He did just that, returning home on December of 1999. Denroy became a resident of Belize in 2000, and worked in the Belmopan Government Offices as an assistant. For a full year he worked in the Forestry Department. However a short trip to San Pedro Town showed him exactly where his home would be.

    Here on the island, Denroy discovered that he could apply his skills as an artist when he was contracted to do a sign. He teamed up with long time resident and artist Marcos Larios and together did the Southwind sign. This is when he knew that this was his calling, and branched out on his own. To date, Denroy has painted slightly over 500 signs, loved every minute of it and has no sign of slowing down. Watch out for his SEArious Adventures signs which will be going up shortly.

    In his free time, Denroy enjoys spending time with his family. Life in San Pedro has not only provided him with a job that he loves but also a woman whom he shares his life with. Josephine Garcia and Denroy were blessed with a beautiful daughter Denise, two years and nine months old.

    Denroy understands the struggles of an artist and having found success in his field, he now assists young artists in their venture. Papo, Leo Vasquez, Edgar Gomez and Eluterio Carillo are among some of the artistic minds he helps in any way possible.

    Denroy comments that he has no intention of returning to the States, except for small visits. “Why go when I have found home and paradise all at once,” he ends. A motivated individual, loving husband and father and an incredible artist with the ability of bringing images to life, Denroy “Smurf” Norales has creatively incorporated himself in “Our Belize Community.”

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