Faces - we see ourselves in each other?

For the last two years I have been exploring my series Faces of the System. If you ever wondered what inspires my work, please read my artist statement here. Over time the faces have transformed, changed and shaped in ways I could not have imagined. Inspired by the things and the people around me, my pieces keep carrying on the conversation of how we express ourselves. 

What if I added more than one face in a piece? Would they tell a different story, would the mirror each other, share a same experience or be two entirely separate entities?

Work in progress.....

Work in progress.....

These are questions that I am sure they paintings will come to answer as I explore and create. Here are some new pieces that are beginning this process. Stay tuned for more by signing up to my Art Lovers List and seeing the work as it is created. 

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Sketches

If you ever see me outside of the studio you will usually see me with sketchbook in hand doing some sketches. I have been doing these for a while without sharing too much, but this year decided it was time to include in my body of work. 
Below is a compilation of some of my selected drawings and sketches. To view more (where i also regularly update them) go HERE  

To purchase sketches please get in contact with me directly. 

Follow my art to Europe

I have been very fortunate to sell my work around the world and connect with many interesting people. This September I went to Europe to do some live painting in Sweden at the gallery representing me there. While I was there I decided to visit with some of my collectors. At time it felt like I was following my art, it has gotten there before me (sometimes many years before) and now I had a chance to meet face to face the people who have made it part of their home and their life. 

My first visit was an afternoon spent in Soho, London with one of collectors. I brought him some pieces that he had acquired and we spent the afternoon getting to know the London pub and food scene in Soho. I was deeply moved by his reaction to seeing the work. His words (and accompanying tears of emotion)"Carlos you change people's lives through your art" touched me deeply. To see such a personal and emotional connection to my work is one of the greatest inspirations to go to the studio every day and create more and more. There is no greater joy. 

Following this, I had a wonderful experience to visit one of my collector's at his home in the English countryside and together with my wife spend two nights getting to know him and his family. Leaving his home, both my wife and me felt like we found a new family. I am forever grateful for his hospitality and welcoming into his home and life. I was left speechless when I walked into the house and saw one of my big pieces beautifully framed in the foyer, followed by 8 more paintings in his living room and kitchen. Having such profound support of someone brings me such deep sense of gratitude on this journey of making art and knowing that those paintings come to life even more when they leave my studio and go into someone's home and life. 

My last visit was a with a collector who bought one of my first pieces (first piece to be sold in Europe and first abstract piece to be sold) three years ago. When he bought, I was so excited about the sale that I forgot to sign it. I had made him a promise that one day I would come to London and sign it. I finally had a chance to do this and meet a wonderful person and his family. 

I share this story because I think life and art is all about connection with each other. Sometimes my pieces portray emotions of how people don't connect with each other and sometimes they do. But to see the emotion they carry into each person's life and how they make that piece their own, that for me is witnessing of a powerful connection and power of art. Art for me is everything. Like someone told me once "it is like breathing for you isn't it". To be able to share all kind of emotions and feelings through art and have it mean something to me, ultimately having me lead to a connection with this person (even if we never meet) that to me is very humbling and one of the reasons why I get up every day with passion to work more and more. Thank you to anyone who has ever connected in some way to my art. 

From the Artist Canvas; Starting a piece

It has taken me four years to realize that for me painting is not about creating a specific artistic aesthetic, rather it isabout my personal expression and the process of using creativity to say something. I want to share with you two short videos of painting and drawing and how I usually start the process. 

The Constant Movement, Being Human in the System at Union Station

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! 

The capacity of the human being to stay strong in the system, being human in the system.

Where it All Started

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