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Archive for the ‘Artist Interviews’ Category

Daniel Flores

Daniel Flores

Daniel Flores is working with the concept of line …

Daniel Flores "Blue String"

Daniel Flores "Blue String"

he has explored line in his studio with blue string, cleverly stretching it to form a shape across his studio, and with crayons …

Daniel Flores "Crayon Lines"

Daniel Flores "Crayon Lines"

he lined the crayons up on a piece of board, glued them on, and then used a heat gun to melt them, thereby producing lines of each color …”I try to produce straight lines”  he said. “It is not easy.”   We all know what a line is … don’t we??  A straight line might be “a mark which lies evenly with points of itself. ” Once we try to define it … it becomes complicated!

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Alex Macias

Alex Macias

Here is Alex … He is good!

Macias Paper Sculptures

Macias Paper Sculptures

His paper fox figures are visually arresting … as are his wolf paintings.

Macias Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Macias "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"

One is titled “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” … a play on words … I asked him if he had ever seen a real wolf and he answered “No!” with a twinkle in his eye.  He was busy texturing the canvas so it had a rough, raised surface which works well conveying the wolf fur he is working on.

Macias Wolf

Macias Wolf

A different way of telling the viewer “this is fur.”

Alex Macias drawing

Alex Macias drawing

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Janett Pena

Janett Pena

Jannett says in her “Artists Statement” that she desires to convey her symbolic interpretation of life by painting on a canvas.  Her explanation is “the usage of wood, plexiglass, nails, wires, and anything else I can obtain can be used within my artwork.  Even found objects can be used to perceive an idea and create.”  Jannett has painted the best frog I have ever seen … see it below!

Janett Pena Frog

Janett Pena Frog

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Ricardo Benevides

Ricardo Benevides

Ricardo is a teacher and father of twin one-year-old babies … Art?  Who has time for that??  However, he does make time for it and here are the works themselves.

Benevides Drawing

Benevides Drawing

He said “My work deals with violence and the flow of people back and forth over the border we live next to … I draw poor people, prostitutes, beggars, and ordinary folks and try to make a statement about how society treats them.  I have been drawing since I was a child and it comes naturally to me … just something I do.”

Benevides Drawing

Benevides Drawing

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Alex Coronado

Alex Coronado

The studio of Alex Coronado houses many sculptures.  They range from recycled styrofoam, cleverly crafted together, to massive stone sculptures.  He has lots of maquettes (small scale models) lined up to look at … a way of exploring a concept before executing a large scale model.  One of them, which is 8 feet tall, deals with Green issues and use of recycled materials.  I will certainly bring him all styrofoam objects which come my way … what he does with them has changed my mind about that material. Apparently, if heat is applied (using a heat gun), the tiny balls which styrofoam is made up of expand … change shape … Lots of possibilities!

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Jill bikes around, stopping at coffee shops and other public places where her interest is people and their preoccupations and gestures. She records what she observes … then re-positions them in new scenes and environments … in oil … on canvas … a reinterpretation of the meaning of their behavior.  This could produce some wild paintings!

Self Portrait with Dog

Self Portrait with Dog

Go Jill!

Close-up of  One of Jill’s Sculptures:

Jill Carpenter Sculpture

Jill Carpenter Sculpture

Jill shares her studio with Rena Vela. Here is their studio door:

Studio Door

Studio Door

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Manuel Lince

Manuel Lince

Manuel moves easily between the two cultures … Mexico and America.  He taught himself the art of carving wooden masks and entered the MFA program at UTPA. He already has a couple of graduate degrees.  As I asked him the same questions I have asked others he came up with the following answers :

1. What is your definition of success as an artist ?
“I cannot answer that question .”
2.  What is your definition of a successful work of art ?
” A successful piece is one which, when you see it, you must stop and look.”
3.  At what age did you know that you wanted to be an artist ?
” I began to draw at age 12 and have continued since … I had a responsible job for years and that entailed many meetings. Of course I “doodled” constantly in those meetings.  It improved my skill and kept me interested. I went to a woodcarver in Mexico to train.  He gave me a piece of wood to carve and I worked on it until satisfied. Days later,  when it was time to leave,  he told me that it was custom to go up into the mountain to find a tree and replace the wood I had used.  Up we went … him hustling along and me trying to keep up. We got near the top and secured a few pieces … at which point he said I would have to give him three to replace one.  Three for one!  I staggered down the mountain with them on my back as he sauntered down carrying his easily.  Good wood to carve is hard to find.  I learned a lot.”

In response to a homework assignment Manuel Lince bought some cowhides in Mexico, carved a wooden mold,  and made two masks. Rena Vela is wearing one …

Manuel Lince Mask I

Manuel Lince Mask I, modeled by Rena Vela

and the other was donned by Manuel himself.

Manuel Lince Mask II

Manuel Lince Mask II

 

Manuel contemplates his carving of the crucified Christ

Manuel contemplates his carving of the crucified Christ

… Manuel had never carved a figure before. I thought the blemishes in the wood really emphasised the suffering and destruction of the flesh the subject required.

Crucified Christ close-up

Crucified Christ close-up

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Vulture Woman

Vulture Woman

The work of Rena Vela is informed by her experience in life. In discussing the painting of the woman turning into a vulture she emphasized that slowly the thoughts of the woman were becoming “vulture thoughts”. Rena says in her artist statement “My art is both truthful and secretive. I want to state truths but to do so in the form of fables and riddles.”

A summer art student trip to Italy inspired the work on Mary Magdalene (on the right). “Look at the submissive posture of the figure”, Rena said. ” There were many paintings in Italy with halos of gold so I wanted to use this in my work. I did the piece using bleach on black paper and later use of colored pencils and gold leaf.” Next to it is the early stage of a work featuring a woman climbing out of her own skin. In the sphere of “making a living” Rena is a dedicated art teacher working with children.

Rena shares her studio with Jill Carpenter. Here is their studio door:

Studio Door

Studio Door

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Two students who are ready to graduate from the MFA program this semester:

Eduardo Quintero

Eduardo Quintero

Eduardo Quintero ushered me into his studio and showed me his work.  His big painting covers the whole studio wall and he has smaller canvasses stapled to the big one.  He said he is angry at the policy on immigration and that his art work reflects that anger.  The words scrawled across the canvas are from the lyrics of Motley Crue, a heavy metal band formed in the 1980’s which is still in existence. “I’m on my way just set me free … you can’t kill me cuz I’m already inside … Home sweet Home” … On the front of his T-shirt it says “I WANT YOU GRINGO !”

Eduardo Quintero

Eduardo Quintero

Contrary to the above he is affable, educated, and well-spoken.  “The loss of land and second class citizenship has made the people of this region a poverty-stricken minority … I have chosen the media of drawing, painting, and collage to express my cultural identity as a Chicano.”

tiVictoria Hidalgo

Victoria Hidalgo

The other candidate for a MFA is Victoria Hidalgo …a vivacious young woman bursting with energy.  Her artist statement says “My paintings are a reflection of the emotional experiences in my life; the joy of living life, never regretting the past, and embracing all that life has to offer.”  ….

Victoria Hidalgo

Victoria Hidalgo

“Color is another way that I am able to inject vibrancy into my paintings.”
The joy and goodwill glowing from her face is delightful !

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Diego Sanchez Sculpture

Diego Sanchez Sculpture

Diego Sanchez Sculpture

Diego Sanchez Sculpture

How about these very simple and striking ceramic sculptures? Produced by Diego Sanchez, an intense, thoughtful man from Colombia who is in the MFA program at UTPA, they evoke animal horns, sea anenomes, and other organic forms. He specializes in low-fire pieces.

Diego Sanchez

Diego Sanchez

His artist’s statement says : “In much of my work, I passionately search for ways to express my love for nature, especially with clay … What can be more earthy than dirt ? What I like most about working with clay is the ability to control the form.”

Hands of Diego Sanchez

Hands of Diego Sanchez

He goes on to say, ” My intention with my art work is to express and preserve that personal need to be in contact with nature.  I create my pieces only for the joyfulness of my spirit and use them as a constant search and exploration for that organic essence in this geometrical man-made world of shapes that we live in. What I offer the viewer with my work is an opportunity to look closer at nature and an invitation to spend more time with it.”

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