Why do you paint and draw? What is your interest in art?
I make art cause it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I’m interested in the self preservation aspect to it. We make things to define our existence or just to make things. In the end it becomes a sort of time capsule that shows what I’ve been doing while I was alive. Also, it’s fun. If I didn't have to worry about bills, fueling the economy, living the standard lifestyle…if being homeless wasn’t socially unacceptable, I’d paint all day without a care in the world. But paints cost money, I like taking long hot showers, and the internet.
When did you first get started and how has your art evolved since then?
I started taking art more seriously in my early twenties. I was attending community college and taking art classes there because that was the only thing I was most interested in and excelled at. I didn't get a chance to take a painting class, but I really got into figure drawing and printmaking. I would go down and visit the watercolor class during my breaks in between classes. If I’m lucky I would get to see the teacher Charlie Chavez take his class out and paint plein air. That’s when I really wanted to learn watercolor and paint outdoors.
I transferred to CSU East Bay and received a BFA in Traditional Art. While getting my undergrad I was more exposed to other artists (both peers and professional) that helped me discover more about myself and art making. In the beginning I was still in training mode and getting my feet wet. Now I’m trying to perfect the variations of the breaststroke.
How does your background/history impact the themes you paint on?
It impacts it greatly especially in my current series on Acculturation. That series is based on human behavior, identity, and culture. I grew up knowing little of mine and feeling sort of out of place. When I started this series I noticed that I learned more about myself and others than ever before.
Why do you enjoy plein aire? What's the difference vs. painting from photos or an iPad?
Painting plein air is a very interesting experience. You have to go in knowing that you’re not going to make the best painting. Instead, it’s going to be the best sketch you’ll ever do. I like the freshness, spontaneity, it’s ephemeral, and the care free attitude that comes with it. Just go outside paint what you see, hope for the best, expect the worst, and bring home something that proves you were there at that date and time.
Okay, every artist knows that there’s a big difference between painting from life and working from photos. Colors and temperatures are different. The way you see something also isn't the same. I don’t mind working from photos. It depends on the process and the approach that determines the results. However, working from life will definitely help you execute how you work from photos. You’ll trust your gut and eye more. Be a little loose when you need to be and working from photos will help you be a little more tight and allows more freedom. There are benefits to both.
Who has been your biggest influences in art style?
I never really liked the word “style” when it comes to art.Feels…too trendy. I don’t feel like I have one. It’s just a bunch of everyone I like molded in together. There’s a whole lot of artists that I’m inspired by. I like the works of George Post, Joseph Zbukvic, Miguel Linares Rios, Sargent, Zorn, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Bill Watterson, Sean Cheetham, too many. Right now, I’m still in the technical and foundation aspect, so I’m attracted by artists with exceptional drawing skills.
George Post, Guyanans Harbor
Miguel Linares Rios
What is your favorite painting you painted and why?
Don’t have one. I don’t think i’ll ever have a favorite of my artworks. However I feel most connected to my little series of mix media drawings, Tahimik. They’re also a part of the Acculturation series. It’s the most personal and therapeutic works I’ve made so far.
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