Sunday, June 19, 2016

"MY NEIGHBORS: Capturing the Soul of America's Diverse City" 2016

 "Ricky of Carson" oil on canvas 36" x 24"


"Ricky" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

Ricardo Echevarria, “Ricky” is my  next door neighbor. His indoor soccer field is directly next to my studio. Ricky is a survivor of a horrendous car crash that left him in a coma for months and his face disfigured.  After many months of reconstructive surgeries and recovery, he was left unrecognizable even to his neighbors.  To hide from prying  eyes, he covered himself in tattoos that would grab all the attention. Ricky healed fully, his face is now truly beautiful  and he regrets his tattoo decision. Now, he gracefully shares with others the gratitude for the miracle of his recovery. He is supporting the local children’s soccer team and has built and runs a fully-regulated professional indoor soccer rink for the kids and adults. Ricky carries a truly noble and refined look of victory over unimaginable suffering and adversity. A local hero that every neighborhood should have.

"Mrs. O'Neal" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

As one of Carson’s founders, Marry Ann O'Neal, is a true icon of the Carson community.  A great-granddaughter of slaves who grew up on a farm in Arkansas, this 90-year-young woman leads her life by example. She believes in serving others before self and to help a neighbor in need. Mrs. O’Neal is an inspiring, vibrant and kind human being, the kind that binds the world together. A rare soul, but one that still exists in every community.

 "Ukulele Player" oil on canvas 48" x 60"



"Uncle Lincoln" sepia on Fabriano paper 32" x 22"

Uncle Lincoln has been my good friend and neighbor for ten years.
He is a native Hawai'i ukulele master who, along with his wife Auntie Sissy, a hula dance teacher, is deeply involved with preserving and revitalizing the Hawaiian culture and its way of life. "Ukulele Player" is an emotionally-charged representation of a truthful and authentic dedication to one’s cultural heritage.

 in ART we trust!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Working on "MY NEIGHBOR SERIES" - The Truth Factor and the Power of Image

One of the defining characteristics of the "My Neighbor Series" is the extensive live work with the remarkable individuals that inspire the work.

As the objective of the project is a capture of the deeply specific and personal expression within the unique character, the live interaction and study I consider a critical ingredient. "Love" is an extraordinarily difficult quality to convey and, even more so, to elicit.

Conveying the message of "Love My Neighbor" credibly requires unquestionable empathy on the part of the viewer and no one shall underestimate how hard it is to earn it in today's jaded and betrayed world.

We do not trust anyone with a slightest hint of authority and rightly so. We know empirically and for a fact that politicians of any self-professed stripe lie, selling us on themselves for a vote. Those, who don't are the vast exception to a rule. We know that corporations lie selling us something that we don't need or what will likely harm us for our own buck. Those, who don't are the vast exception to the rule. We know that anything that "sounds nice" is more often than not is a blatant, conscious and deliberate trap. Our instinct of self-preservation tells us not to take it. Society had lost faith in the institutions of society. Everything we were supposed to believe in, we now can't. Problem is that the organized society in its key components - political and economic - is a product of faith. Without faith there is no organized society. Religion used to take care of that and we know where that went. There is only one thing today outside our immediate family boundary that I see as worthy and demanding of our undisputed and unquestionable faith - it is a Love of Our Worthy Neighbor.

Love of one's neighbor today, whomever that neighbor happen to be and of whatever ethnic or cultural background, is the only hard land we can crawl on in midst of the societal deluge that is upon us.

Conveying such Love credibly and emphatically is a tall order. It is opposite to both the objective coolness and the ironic smirk that most of contemporary art is preoccupied with, it is also opposite to any trace of a sugarcoated sentimentalism that is always prevalent. That is were very specific personal and professional qualities are needed to come together in the act of eternal fusion called ART.

We can and shall envision, address and will-to-life the best in people that really is there. We can help overcome fear, anxiety and separation not by pretending it does not exist but by showing with an undeniable certainty that the alternative does exist. That is what the immense power of ART can do and that is its core Social Function.

in ART we trust!