In February 2018, I had a chance to be in the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair in Toronto again. It was such a great fair that I was left completely humbeled by the love and support of the people who came to say hi, bought my work and continue to build realitionships with me. I just wanted to say Thank you Toronto!
The holiday season may be upon us. For me this time of the year always makes me think of how we can give back. I have always felt that artists have a social responsibility to give back through their art. I have throughout my career always tried to find ways to do this, because art isn't always just for the sake of doing art.
A few years back when the refugee crisis started on a large global scale we saw large number of people leaving their homelands, putting themselves through treacherous trips to bring a better future to their families and themselves. Coming from a country that has the second biggest number of internally placed refugees, this had a huge impact on me. In response to this, I wanted to find the humanity within it all, and not have it just be numbers of people. I wanted to find hope that we can find in the darkest hour. So, I created a series called Travelers Under the Moon. Pics below.
This year before I left for my trip to Colombia, I decided to donate some of the pieces in the series to a local agency who works with supporting refugee every day, FCJ Refugee Centre. I am honored for them receiving me and my artwork. Thank you for your conversation, the delicious lunch and generosity. Here are some pics.
I still have two large (4'x'5 ) pieces from this series that I would love to donate to someone who can put it up somewhere and show hope, show human connection, show the energy of love and family. If interested feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before I had defined my work in the current abstract portraiture I used to do a lot of murals. Much like a lot of the work I did at that time, murals were done as commercial aspect of my business usually just doing what the customer wanted, which more than not was usually more on the realistic style. Since I had been working in my current abstract portraiture I had told myself I won't be doing any more murals unless I can bring these faces to the large scale. So I was very honoured when within a month I had an opportunity to do this twice.
The first mural came in July when received an invitation from Mural Routes and StreetART Toronto in Toronto to be part of the Underpass Park and paint a mural in my style on one of the columns. Below are some photos. Thank you to Mural Routes and StreetART Toronto for this invite. If you are in Toronto you can check it out yourself at the Underpass Park at King St. W. and Lower River St.
A week after I finished this mural I went to my native Colombia to participate in a cultural event called "Encuentro de la Palabra" in my home town Rioscuio, Caldas. Beside some live painting, I was also invited to do a mural. It was a big honour to be able to leave something so large scale and in my own original style in my home town. Below are some photos, and if you are ever traveling in that part of Colombia, make sure to go check it out.
This September 29, 2016 I had the honour of painting a mural with Ontario Culture Days for the opening of the three day festival. It was the fist time that I took my series Being Human in the System into a public space, especially a public space with such movement, where we are always going, moving, being part of our man made systems. It was also the first time that I did Being Human in the System on large scale.
The response from people was amazing, a lot of people stopped, watched and I think found a little bit of something relatable in the work. Since then I have seen many people post this photo on social media sites with their own interpretation of what the work means to them and this brings me great joy. As an artist I love when my art inspires people to create their own story and project that story into the artwork, truly making it a part of them.
I wanted to share here below a gallery of the process and a video that captures the feeling of Constant Movement!
My artistic journey has been one of many ups and downs and even long breaks. Since I was little art was a part of my life and I was lucky enough to have parents, especially my father, recognize something in all of my sketches and doodles, which often caused me to be scolded by my elementary teachers for "ruining" all of my notebooks. For the last few years living in Canada I have been lucky to be able to give myself fully to my art and create a full time career out of it. This is why it was so special for me to hold my first solo show (in a commercial gallery) back home in Colombia where my family and my parents could come and for the first time see my work in such a professional context.
I want to say thank you to all of my family and friends for support and for Gallery Carlos Drew Castro in Pereira at the Institute for Culture and Tourism in Colombia for inviting me to show my series Being Human in the System at such a beautiful space in the Museum of the Institute for Culture and Tourism. Below is a small selection of photos from the opening night which opened up with a large scale 7 ' x 12' live painting of one of my biggest Being Human in the System pieces yet.
Photo credit by Alejandro Neira