Drawing on his love for Japanese culture, La Quinta-based artist Anthony Tran went to work on a new watercolor, Keep Fighting, an 11-by-14-inch painting on paperboard depicting, in a kaleidoscope of colors, a samurai — masked as a sign of the COVID-19 times — with his sword held high, ready to come down on anything that threatens him.

“Japanese samurais are known for their unmoved fighting spirit,” says Tran, whose painting earned a $500 grant from the nonprofit California Desert Arts Council (CDAC). “[The figure] represents the spirits of all of who are fighting the pandemic. I added the mask to emphasize the importance of wearing them.” 

CDAC and La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works responding to the pandemic.

Tran’s award also recognizes his musicianship, which he demonstrated with a video vocal performance of the Louis Armstrong standard “What A Wonderful World.”

“The meaning of the song is even more relevant in our current time of the pandemic,” says Tran, who performed at Palm Springs VillageFest before the event was shuttered due to the pandemic. “I hope we can help each other through this time and that we will soon be able to spread joy and music throughout the valley again.”

Visit Anthony Tran online at artbyanthonytran.com