Sunday, August 13, 2017

María Esperanza Díaz (Spanish version)

La Colombiana que Pinta Dioses Extraterrestres Australianos

Por Roxana Rojas-Luzon
Artista-Periodista
TLAL



Un día, hace mas de diez años, María Esperanza Díaz supo de la existencia de los Wandjina, y desde entonces empezó a ilustrarlos en pequeños cuadernos de dibujo y a pintarlos en acrílicos de grandes dimensiones. Gracias a uno de estos Wandjina logró entrar a los Estados Unidos. Sueña constantemente con ellos. Y nunca ha estado en Australia.

Los Wandjinas son personajes mitológicos para los Aborígenes Australianos que pintaron sus imágenes en las paredes de ciertas cuevas en Australia. Australia queda a 20 horas en avión, de Maryland, Estados Unidos, donde María Esperanza vive desde hace cinco años.

A MaríaE, como prefiere que la llamen, siempre la gente le dice que las cosas que hace en su vida no tienen sentido. Pero ella sigue haciendo lo que le gusta. De Colombia, su país natal, emigró a Panamá para continuar sus estudios de arte, ahí vivió 12 años. En Panamá empezó a pintar Wandjinas y de ahí se vino con ellos a los Estados Unidos, o ellos la trajeron aquí. Venía a exhibir sus cuadros, pero en el aeropuerto se los confiscaron porque eran demasiado grandes y pesados. Parada frente al oficial de aduanas sin Wandjinas, logró convencerlo de que era artista y de que venía a una exposición de arte, gracias a una sola foto de una de sus pinturas de Wandjinas que tenía en su celular. Sus enormes lienzos  no llegaron a tiempo para la exposición, pero su hija se los trajo enrollados mas tarde.

Aunque sus libros ilustrados sobre los Wandjinas no han sido publicados, sigue escribiéndolos a mano en cuadernos de notas e ilustrándolos, con buen humor. Las decenas de cuadros los ha exhibido en este país a través de exposiciones realizadas por la Liga Latina de Arte de Washington DC, y por supuesto que ha vendido algunos.

“Mi arte es realismo figurativo porque hay evidencia de que los Aborígenes Australianos vieron y convivieron con los Wandjinas, hay fósiles y pinturas  rupestres que lo demuestran”, asegura MariaE.

Su espíritu es aventurero, como el de los Wandjina que supuestamente estuvieron en este mundo de manera pasajera. Y no se arrepiente de nada. Una vez renunció a un trabajo lucrativo “porque decidí vivir del arte pintando miniaturas, pero no me funcionó”. Antes de las Wandjina, presentó para su tesis una exposición en la Universidad de Panamá titulada Erotismo del Paisaje, “y me censuraron algunos cuadros, los llamaron porno, la noticia llegó a los medios de comunicación, y la expo fue un exitazo, se llenó totalmente. ¡Esto incluyó entrevistas en televisión y todo eso!”

MaríaE quiere contar a través de sus pinturas, “que existen las leyendas y que los artistas podemos explorarlas y explotarlas,... sin importar si son reales o fantasía, para alimentar nuestros sentidos”. La artista dice sobre su obra, “mi arte es divertido, un poco loco en el buen sentido de la palabra, pues me salto las reglas y hago lo que quiero y como quiero, solo me dejo llevar por mi sensibilidad e intuición, rompo un poco con lo que es bonito, perfecto...”

MaríaE ahora dibuja Wandjinas en sus cuadernos de dibujo, ya no tiene espacio ni tiempo para pintar en grande. Trabaja como estilista en un salón de belleza donde su talento artístico se enfoca en embellecer a sus clientes arreglándoles el cabello. Manda dinero a su familia en Colombia, para ayudarlos. Su hija es adulta, vive en Panamá y la visita periódicamente. También escribe poemas y acaba de publicar su Poemario, un trabajo que le tomó 10 años escribir y dos años para conseguir una editorial que aceptara publicarlo. Sus poemas y canciones no tienen nada que ver con dioses ni extraterrestres. Ella escribe sobre el amor y sus sentimientos.

Lo más difícil de seguir siendo artista, finaliza, es “mantener la constancia, no desfallecer ante la adversidad, mantener la fe en uno mismo, creerse el cuento de ser artista, ignorar las malas críticas, y a la gente que se burla de nuestro trabajo o estilo de vida”.


To see more about artist MariaE, see this video: 

Maria Esperanza Diaz: (English version)


A Colombian Painting Extraterrestrial Australian Gods


By RoxanaRojas-Luzon

Artist-Journalist

Proofread by Judith Levine

One day, more than ten years ago, Maria Esperanza Diaz learned of the existence of the Wandjina, and from then on she began to illustrate them in small sketchbooks and to paint them in large acrylics. Thanks to one of the Wandjina she managed to enter the United States. She constantly dreams of them. And she's never been to Australia.


The Wandjina are mythological characters of the Australian Aborigines who painted their images on the walls of certain caves in Australia. Australia is 20 hours by plane from Maryland in United States, where Maria Esperanza has lived for five years now.

To MariaE, as she prefers to be called, people always tell her that the things she does in her life do not make sense. But she still does what she likes. From Colombia, her native country, she immigrated to Panama, where she lived for 12 years, to continue her art studies. In Panama she began to paint Wandjinas and from there she came with them to the United States, or maybe they brought her here. She came to exhibit her pictures, but at the airport in Miami they were confiscated because they were too big and heavy. Standing in front of the customs officer without Wandjinas, she managed to convince him that she was an artist and that she was bringing them to an art exhibition. Thanks to a single photo of one of her Wandjina paintings on her cell phone, she was able to come to the USA. Her enormous canvases did not arrive in time for the exhibition, but her daughter brought them later, rolled up.

Although her illustrated books on Wandjina have not been published, she continues to write them by hand into notebooks and illustrate them, with good humor. Dozens of her paintings have been exhibited in this country through exhibitions by the Latino Art League of Greater Washington DC, and of course, she has sold some. "My art is figurative realism because there is evidence that the Australian Aborigines saw and lived with the Wandjina, there are fossils and cave paintings that prove that." says Maria E.
 
Her spirit is adventurous, like that of the Wandjina who supposedly were 
in this world in a passing way. And she does not regret anything. She once quit a lucrative job "…because I decided to live on art by painting miniatures, but it did not work." Before the Wandjina, she presented for her thesis an exhibition at the University of Panama titled Eroticism of the Landscape, "…and they censored some pictures, called them porn. The news reached the media, and the expo was a hit, it was filled totally. This included television interviews and all that! "

Maria wants to say through her paintings, "…that there are legends and that artists can explore and exploit them, ... no matter if they are real or fantasy, to feed our senses." The artist says about her work, "My art is fun and a little crazy in the good sense of the word, because I skip the rules and do what I want and how I want. I just let myself go by my sensitivity and intuition. I break a little with what is beautiful and perfect ... "

Maria now draws Wandjina in her sketchbooks, she no longer has space or time to paint large canvases. She works as a stylist in a beauty salon where her artistic talent focuses on beautifying her clients by arranging their hair. She sends money to her family in Colombia, to help them. Her daughter is an adult; she lives in Panama and visits her periodically. She also writes poems and has just published her Poemario, a book that took 10 years to write and two years to get a publisher to agree to publish it. Her poems and songs have nothing to do with gods or aliens. She writes about love and her feelings.

She finalizes “The most difficult thing to continue being an artist is to maintain consistency, not to faint in the face of adversity, to maintain faith in one’s self, to believe the story of being an artist, to ignore bad criticism and people who mock our work and our lifestyle.”

To see more about artist MariaE, see this video: 




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Alfredo Ortiz (version en español)

El Artista de Servilletas                                   


Artista-Periodista


Mientras “jangueaba” (spanglish por “pasar el rato”) con amigos en alguna taberna de Takoma Park o Silver Spring, en Maryland, dibujaba las escenas que estaban frente a él, mientras todos comían y conversaban. Lo mismo hace ahora, después de 23 años, cuando se reúne con sus colegas de la Liga Latina de Arte de Washington DC. Su médium: lapicero, en servilletas de papel. 


Alfredo Ortiz se emociona cuando dice “El Mundo es mi marco y la gente, mis modelos”. Las escenas que pinta son espontáneas, improvisadas, calmadas, con hombres y mujeres conversando, viendo televisión, tocando la guitarra, “jangueando” dice él como buen puertorriqueño. También ha dibujado el funeral de su abuela y de su tío. Sus escenas no son festivas o con personas en situaciones agitadas. Sus composiciones son caprichosas. Lo que hace Alfredo es llenar los espacios con figuras. No trata de reproducir una situación exacta, sino que transmite el momento, los gestos, el ambiente y lo inmortaliza en su obra sin respetar mucho la perspectiva y la proporción de los elementos. Su obra es un todo, una sola emoción.

El artista nació en Río Piedras de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico a finales de la segunda guerra mundial, “en un estado de pobreza extrema en la isla y en todo el mundo”, recalca. “Me Llevaron a New York City a los 5 años de edad y allí pasé toda mi juventud. Por eso me considero del Bronx, NYC”, aclara.


Cuenta Alfredo que en el pasado pintaba pasteles y óleos, eran esos tiempos en los que exponía sus trabajos en exhibiciones grupales en el Museo del Barrio de Nueva York cuando todavía no estaba ubicado en la Quinta Avenida. En 1980 vendió una de sus obras por mil dólares a una amiga que conoció en esa ciudad, pero la pintura le gustaba tanto que después de un tiempo ofreció pagar dos mil para tenerla de vuelta. La oferta fue rechazada y Alfredo perdió de vista a la coleccionista. Ahora quiere buscarla a través de ese mundo extraño y mágico, que él no entiende: el Internet.

Alfredo tiene su propio lenguaje. A sus dibujos los llama garabatos, sin embargo  cada uno de sus personaje tiene un nombre propio, con apellido materno y paterno, como todo latinoamericano. En los espacios entre las figuras escribe fechas, nombres de lugares, de personas, de acontecimientos y también escribe sus pensamientos e impresiones del momento. Alfredo es un documentalista de a pie, un paparazzi a mano de anécdotas ocurridas de día o de noche, en un  lugar determinado del mundo. 

También ha llamado a su obra “arte rupestre y cavernícola” porque dibujar en servilletas con cualquier bolígrafo no le toma horas, ni le cuesta dinero, pero “las servilletas deben ser de buena calidad para que la obra perdure”, dice. Lo que le preocupa a Alfredo es, “¿cuanto tiempo va a durar mi obra?”. Hasta el momento, sus dibujos más antiguos en servilleta de papel, enmarcados desde 1995, se encuentran en excelente condición.

Alfredo ha visitado los museos más importantes de cada continente y recuerda exactamente en qué ubicación se encuentra cada obra de los grandes maestros, y qué emoción le causó cuando la vio. Admira a Aldo Raimundi, Cizañen, Goya, El Greco, Rembrant, Sorolla, Guayasamin, Miguel Angel, entro otros, y de ellos ha visto sus impresionantes obras maestras originales. Al que admira más, es a un dominicano llamado Isidro Aykbar, a quien conocio en el  barrio latino De NYC. En New York City tambien se tropezo varias veces con Warhol y Jean-Michel  Basquiat, pero no les habló “porque no tenía nada que decirles”.

El arte es la forma más inmediata y primitiva en la comunicación entre los seres humanos. Es más fácil y aceptable para un niño dibujar un paisaje, un cielo y un sol que explicarlo”, finaliza.

Gracias Alfredo por tan agradable e interesante entrevista!

Para ver más sobre los orígenes y significado del arte en servilletas de Alfredo, vea el siguiente video: 

Alfredo Ortiz (English version)


The Artist of Napkins   

Artist-Journalist

English Version proofread by Judith Levine


      

While "jangueaba" (Spanglish for hanging out) with friends in a tavern in Takoma Park or Silver Spring, Maryland, Alfredo Ortiz drew the scenes that he saw around him, while people ate and talked. Now he does the same thing, after 23 years, when he meets with his colleagues from the Latino Art League of Greater Washington DC. His medium: pen on paper napkins.

Ortiz is excited when he says "The world is my frame and the people, my models". The scenes he paints are spontaneous, improvised, and calm, with men and women talking, watching television, playing the guitar, "jangueando," he says as a good Puerto Rican. He has also drawn the funerals of his grandmother and uncle. His scenes are not festive or with people in hectic situations. His compositions are capricious. What Alfredo does is fill the spaces with figures. He does not try to reproduce an exact situation, but it transmits the moment, the gestures, and the environment. He then immortalizes it in his work without much respecting the perspective and the proportion of the elements. His work is a whole, a single emotion.

The artist was born in Río Piedras de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico at the end of World War II, "in circumstances of extreme poverty on the island and around the world," he emphasizes. "I was taken to New York City when I was 5 years old and spent all my youth there. That's why I consider myself from the Bronx, NYC. "

Ortiz, in the past, painted in pastels and oils. At that time he used to exhibit his works in group shows at the Del Barrio Museum in New York City, when this was not yet located on Fifth Avenue. In 1980 he sold one of his works for a thousand dollars to a friend he met in that city, but he liked his own painting so much that after a while he offered to pay two thousand to have it back. The offer was rejected and Alfredo lost sight of the collector. Now he wants to look for her through this strange and magical world, which he does not understand very well, called the Internet.

Ortiz has his own language. He calls his drawings scribbles, however each of his characters has a proper name, with maternal and paternal last name, as all Latin American use. In the spaces between the figures he writes dates, names of places and of people, events and also writes his thoughts and impressions of the moment. Ortiz is a documentarian on foot; one might almost say paparazzi at hand of anecdotes that have happened day or night, in a determined place of the world. He also calls his work "rock and cave art" because drawing on napkins with any ballpoint pen does not take hours, nor does it cost money, but, "napkins must be of good quality for the work to last," he says. What worries Ortiz is, "How long will my work last?” So far, his oldest paper napkin drawings, which were framed in 1995, are in excellent condition.

Ortiz has visited the most important museums on each continent and remembers exactly where each work of the great masters is located, and what emotions it caused to him to feel when he saw it. He admires Aldo Raimundi, Cezanne, Goya, El Greco, Rembrandt, Sorolla, Guayasamin, Miguel Angel, among others, whose impressive original masterpieces he has seen. The one who he admires more is a Dominican named Isidro Aykbar, whom he met in the Latino Quarter of NYC. In New York City he also ran into Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat several times, but did not say a word, "Because I had nothing to say to them".

"Art is the most immediate and primitive form of communication between humans. It is easier and acceptable for a child to draw a landscape, a sky and the sun than to explain it", he concludes. Thanks Alfredo Ortiz for such an enjoyable and interesting interview!

To see more about the origins and meaning of art on Alfredo’s napkins, see this video: 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pedro Huamani (Spanish version)

Pedro Huamaní y sus Razones para Sentirse un Buen Pintor

Artista-Periodista

Pedro Huamaní se enorgullece de su ascendencia incaica y de sus pinturas inspiradas en temas y diseños precolombinos. El artista se proclama auténtico pintor peruano por ser estudioso de las raíces ancestrales del Perú y por pintar contenido precolombino en sus óleos, acrílicos y acuarelas.

 "Cuando aflora mi inspiración, dibujo y pinto las leyendas, la mitología y las creencias sobre seres superiores, dioses que fueron adorados por la gente que habitó el Perú en el pasado, que impartió conocimiento y que un día volverán", dice.

Huamaní afirma que estudió Bellas Artes en la Escuela Superior Nacional Autónoma de Bellas Artes en Perú. Después de trabajar como profesor de Ciencias Sociales en una escuela secundaria en Arequipa, decidió retirarse y venir a vivir a Estados Unidos en el 2005.  El artista dice que le está yendo muy bien en este país como pintor. Enfatiza que en 1998 fue invitado por el Fondo Monetario Internacional para exponer su trabajo en Washington, DC. El año pasado Telemundo transmitió un video sobre él y sus obras. En noviembre de 2015 un artículo sobre él llenó una página completa en El Tiempo Latino. Y desde el año 2015 ha tenido exposiciones una vez al año en la galería The Women's Rights National Historical Park, ubicada en Seneca Falls, Nueva York; donde su pintura "El Músico Precolombino" fue premiada como la mejor de la exhibición hace dos años.

Huamaní dice que sus coloridas pinturas, en su mayoría ejecutadas en formato grande, son bienvenidas en el ambiente artístico estadounidense porque ofrecen nuevos temas para la población de este país. También dice que “mi objetivo es presentar nuestra cultura como algo exótico". Pedro Huamaní vive en Maryland con su esposa y es miembro de nuestra Liga de Arte Latino de Washington DC. Le deseamos toda la suerte del mundo, don Pedro, gracias por concedernos esta entrevista.

Para ver sus pinturas y saber más sobre su tema y contenido, visite su sitio web en http://www.pedrohuamani.com. También puede disfrutar del siguiente video:

Pedro Huamani (English version)

Pedro Huamaní and his Reasons for Feeling like a Good Painter



Pedro Huamaní is proud of his Inca ancestry and of his paintings inspired by pre-Columbian themes and designs. The artist proclaims himself an authentic Peruvian painter for being studious about the ancestral roots of Peru, and for painting pre-Columbian content in his oils, acrylics and watercolors. 



"When my inspiration comes out, I draw and paint the legends, mythology, and beliefs of some higher beings gods who were worshipped by the people who inhabited Peru at some time in the past, who imparted knowledge and will one day return," he says.

Huamaní affirms that he studied Fine Arts at the National Autonomous Superior School of Fine Arts in Peru. After working as a professor of Social Sciences at a high school in Arequipa, he decided to retire and come to live in the United States in 2005. He says that in this country he is doing very well as a painter. 

He emphasized that in 1998 he was invited by the International Monetary Fund to exhibit his work in Washington, DC. Last year Telemundo aired a video about him and his artwork.  In November of 2015 an article about him filled a full page in El Tiempo Latino. And since 2015 he has had exhibits of his works once a year in the gallery of The Women's Rights National Historical Park, located in Seneca Falls, New York; where his painting "The Musician Pre-Colombian" was awarded the best of show two years ago. 

Huamaní says that his colorful paintings, mostly executed in large format, are welcomed in the American artistic environment because they offer new themes for the population of this country. He also says that “my goal is to present our culture as something exotic”. Pedro Huamaní lives in Maryland with his wife and is a member of our Latino Art League of Washington DC. We wish you all the luck in the world, Don Pedro, thank you for granting us this interview.

To see his paintings and to know more about his theme and contents, visit his website at pedrohuamani.com. You can also enjoy the following video:



Saturday, May 13, 2017




Carlos Alburqueque
The Demon Painter

                                    

By Roxana Rojas-Luzon

Artist-Journalist TLAL member.


English Version Proofread by Judith Levine



Carlos Alburqueque

Where do the demonic figures of colors that Carlos Alburqueque put on his paintings come from? They come from a hidden place in the sierra of Piura-Peru, where he grew fearful of the dark. There, his family got light in the house from a kerosene burner at night, because there was no electricity. In that gloom his grandfather told him, tenebrous legends that at seven years of age he believed were true stories. These dark; shadowy, obscure stories now inspire his oils and acrylics.


For a long time he focused his artistic gift on illustration and graphics. He developed political cartoons and designed the pages of important Peruvian newspapers such as Correo, Ojo and El Comercio; and in the United States, performed similar tasks in El Tiempo Latino. Speaking of devil, one of his unforgettable cartoons, which appeared in El Comercio in Lima in September of 1992, was that of the capture of Sendero Luminoso terrorist leader Abimael Guzmán. Using Chinese inks, Alburqueque drew the criminal, in his prisoner-striped suit. He depicted Guzmán’s body as that of a lion, inside a cage surrounded by news reporters. Perhaps Abimael Guzmán was the first demon of the painter?

Releasing colors


It was only eight years ago when Alburqueque began painting on canvas. This is how his demons began to come out. Since then, he always has had one complete new painting and at least three unfinished ones. "I paint when I have time, after work when I get home. I also paint on weekends, on Friday nights until dawn. On Saturdays and Sundays, all day long, I can paint for up to 8 hours in a row, "says Alburqueque.



"My paintings are dreams or nightmares of intense colors, pure fantasy. First I dream, then I go to the canvas to paint. I cannot stand to see a painting in black and white. As everything I see seems gray to me: the cities, the people, the beaches, the mountains, I put a lot of color in my works. I feel that way since I started to paint." says the artist.

See more about his fantasy- reality work, in the following video:






Monsters and Humans


"My technique is simple, I do not follow any established model. When inspiration comes to me, I put on music, stand in front of the white frame, and begin to throw paint on the canvas. One, two, three brush strokes to one side, then up, down, and I am done. I sit at the front sharpening my gaze on the canvas. At first I do not see anything at all. I turn the canvas and suddenly, as if by magic, I see faces, animals, fish, monsters, human figures.” he says.



Of those supernatural beings in his paintings Alburqueque says he has heard different opinions. A teacher wrote him to say that she was using his human figures and technique to teach her art students in Italy. On another occasion he heard two women in front of his work saying that they did not like it. "My work generates different feelings, that's important, just as it is that I do what I love to do," he says.



Carlos Alburqueque has lived in Maryland for 22 years with his main fans: his wife and children. He works as a teacher of Spanish, and exhibits his works along with the rest of TLAL artists. Thank you for sharing your inspiration, amigo!