My Faces of 2008, Miami…

(“Caras de Naranjas y Tambores” acrylic on canvas, 28×37,5cm private collection, Turkey)

The year 2008 was not a very good year, especially towards the end, as we were approaching 2009 and the crisis…

Therefore, I guess that I had to have an artistic response. After all I was bombarded by the news that reflected nothing but negative things. I was a witness to the fact that many thousands of people all around me were losing their homes, losing their jobs and some, perhaps wiser, were downsizing dramatically to cope and not be destroyed by the circumstances.

I decided that I would paint their faces, naturally my way, where they would have to eventually begin to look like what I had painted than the painting looking like them. I did not think it would be a reflection of the times, no, not at that time but now, in retrospect, I see it as such.

It was an uncertain time for most people in the United States where I was living at the time and I certainly had to reflect it. I truly believe that an artist has to be involved with what is going on politically, economically and socially. An artist has to be aware and through this awareness gain inspiration and that inspiration should be the catalyst for creation and for producing an artistic response, which is, in fact, communication, which is what art…in my opinion…is.

So here are some of the paintings I made that year, 2008, towards the end of the year. Most of them were sold the following summer in Turkey to a private collector. Others to collectors in Miami, Florida.

Although those were strange days, I was pretty successful with my work. As everyone knows, when times are hard artists become inspired for misery, sadness and loss, brings forth the desire to communicate and that is the key to creating hits. It is quite well known that such times that produce a strong emotional response in humanity becomes the source material for works of art.

However, I do not subscribe to that, although I believe it. But I work better when times are good. Yet, I was satisfied and pleased with the work I did that year. I think it was because I created work that differed greatly from my usual style…if I may say style, which I do not wish to have or follow…which always had to do with movement, with the dance and with Jazz in all its forms.

This one “Orange Yous” I think was one of the last that I painted in 2008. It has much more than faces and the composition once again began to acquire the rhythms of jazz…

(“Orange Yous” acrylic on canvas 80x54cm private collection, Miami)

While in these two, “Cara Verde y Mandolina” and “Pink Mandolina”, also from around that period, I returned to the faces and the mandolin theme. But in “Cara Verde y Mandolina”, the composition comes with the addition of a flower that I grew to love and incorporate into many of my paintings…

(“Cara Verde y Mandolina” acrylic on canvas 80x60cm private collection, Miami)
(“Pink Mandolina” acrylic on canvas 60x50cm private collection, Miami)

Then came the end of that period. I was painting at a beautiful restaurant in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, which was a pretty trendy and “hip” place in those years. I would go there once a week, get a glass of chardonnay and set up my easel, which they kept there for me. I worked while patrons, and friends, would stroll by, say hello or anything else, share a second glass of vino and either watch or ignore, it made no difference, it was a strange year, so might as well do strange things.

(“El beso Verde” acrylic on wood panel, 35x40cm private collection, Miami)

So with this kiss, although a 2008 green kiss, I close off the year and this post. I hope you have noticed in these paintings the mood of that time frame, say 2008 to 2009, the end of George W. Bush and the beginning of Obama, when the crisis hit the US and then Europe, when the housing bubble broke and so many big companies were going under or disappeared altogether…and when the United States was about to head towards a wonderful and progressive period led by the first black man ever to become a US president. Things would certainly become better.

If you like my work and you would like to see more, please follow my Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and as well you can visit my new online galleries for my 2019 collection called “JaZzArt en Valencia” by visiting http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo

And…please do not forget to hit that like button, follow and share! Of comments are encouraged and appreciated, as is your visit.

THANKS!

From My Blood-Red Orange: “New York City”

“2008” acrylic on canvas, 54 x 107 cm
In private collection
Where I live there are no ice cream parlours,
no snack bars on the beach,
no fast food on the harbours.
Where I live the food is nasty, hard to eat,
the water tastes like piss,
the fruits smell like sewer rats
that before you bear their teeth.

Where I sleep the air is not conditioned cool,
or warmer during frozen days.
My mattress is a cardboard box,
I'm up as soon as I feel the first of that yellow ball's rays.
My breakfast, in the dumpster on Eighth Avenue and Fifty Seventh Street,
If I can find anything after all my neighbours eat,
'cause they're bigger and they're meaner and they never let me pass,
I guess when I turn ten or twelve I'll get something at last.

Yes, I'm from right here, Manhattan, Midtown,
but I was born in the Bronx,
and when I was just a baby my mother crossed the river
and New York's been my home.
My mom?
Lying in an alley, just west of Ninth and Forty Second Street.
She's been there for a whole day,
can't rouse her from that sleep.
But I don't care, I never knew her well,
she brought me to this island city
where the devil seems to dwell.

I was remembering a song by the Beatles, that Paul wrote and sang that started like this: “Ah, look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from? Where do they all belong?” The song, “Eleanor Rigby”, was released as a double A-side single with “Yellow Submarine,” in August of 1966. Both are from the album Revolver.

The song is about two lonely people, Eleanor, an old woman who exists in a world of her own, population one. Her main purpose in life is nothingness. She “picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been.” The other is the priest, Father McKenzie, who preaches in an empty church and whose sermons “no one will hear.” Eleanor dies and he buries the old woman. To her funeral, nobody came, just him, seemingly caring little for the lonely people, “he walks from the grave.”

“No one was saved, all the lonely people, where do they all come from, all the lonely people, where do they all belong.” The cycle of life and death among the “lonely people” simply begins again…

What do you think? As an artist, I encourage all others engaged in the creative arts, or not, to get involved. This is our world, this is our problem. I have been focusing on two very serious conditions found in the world today, mainly poverty and the plight of immigrants. I think that if we all do our part, we can begin to change things, even if we have to do it helping only one person at a time. That is one less. It’s worth the effort.

If you agree, please share, comment and hit that like button. Let’s discuss these topics. Whoever said that topics such as politics and religion…or others also considered polemic…should not be discussed was lying. Such topics should be the source of discussions and conversations perpetually on everyone’s agenda. Of course, only through civilised discussions, no fights, no argumentum ad hominem, let us argue only the facts.

You can see my artwork…like the one above…drawings and paintings, on my Instagram, @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and my online galleries, featuring my 2019 collection, “JaZzArt en Valencia” at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155 (you can browse, you need not purchase anything)

THANKS!

From My Blood-Red Orange Part 11: Express Yourself!

“Thinking of Spain” “Julen” “Twin Personalities”
Acrylic on canvas 30cm X 50cm

Expressionism is an artistic genre and style that seeks the opposite of Impressionism…mostly…and to represent thoughts and emotions of the artist. Expressionism began in the early days of the XXth C. in Germany. Its most iconic works are films such as: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1920, Directed by Robert Wiene), and “Nosferatu” (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, 1922, directed by F.W.Murnau and starring Max Schreck as the vampire). This film was the unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Because Bram Stoker’s widow protested the name of the vampire was changed to Count Orlok, however, the legal battle to stop the film continued resulting in most copies being destroyed.

In any event, I look at “expressionism” as a useful tool to create interesting art as I never paint what is there (as in Impressionism) but what is inside my head. In my three paintings above (Valencia 2019) I have used the techniques of expressionism combined with what I call “Jazz Art” to create three portraits…of imaginary people…that represent thoughts, feelings, emotions and even fantasy.

“Thinking of Spain” is my most gentle and serene of the three portraits and it represents the stoic, firm disposition of a person combined with the dreams and fantasies that populate that other part of the brain creating a perfect duality. People never have just one face, one thought, one form of behaviour. Behaviour is adapted to the situation and to the mood, affected both internally and externally, it is the only psychological characteristic that is clear and observable.

“Julen” represents a mind tormented by doubts, fears and irritations. Anger produces depression, depression produces anxiety and despair. Human traits that come and go throughout a person’s lifetime…sometimes a person’s day…and that in healthy (mentally) individuals, leave no secondary negative effects. However, in some it becomes a way of life. Such is the face of “Julen.” Is “Julen” your passing phase or your living hell?

“Double Personality” seems to look back at “Thinking of Spain” to say, “you’re not the only one that can look forward and to the side.” Yes, but the thought and the expression, as seen in the painting, is quite different. When you look one way and I mean not just with your eyes but with your intentions, you may seem to others to be something that perhaps you are not. Yet, when you look and act, the other “way” you become, the one people consider to be, the real you. But since no one knows what is inside your head, they judge you only on your behaviour. Behaviourism is the only psychological theory that can be most effective as it deals with observable phenomena.

In any event, art is there to give you pause for thoughts and reflections and if it is good enough, every time you look at a painting it should serve as a catalyst for more thoughts, impressions, expressions and meditations. A good work of art should always say something to the observer. So I give my explanations…which I think are important…very lightly, not wishing to influence, but to be there only as a starting point. You provide the rest. After all in life, no one can explain it all to you, some things…most…you must discover, interpret, figure out, yourself.

Thank you for your patience and for your interest. Please like, share and follow if you will. You can also comment, as it would be nice to generate discussions on art. You can see more of my paintings and drawings on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and if you would like to see my 2019 collection titled “JaZzArt en Valencia” you can visit…you do not have to buy…my virtual galleries at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

THANKS!

From My Blood-Red Orange Part 8: Origins of My Jazz Art

Playing with AJA, Coral Gables, Florida 2005

Well…I guess you can call it a late start…I began really getting into Jazz in the late nineteen nineties. Actually in the early nineties I didn’t even know who John Coltrane was, I’m ashamed to admit but it is the truth. I was always a rock and roll lad. I grew up listening to the Beatles and through their songs was how I learned to speak English, mostly.

The group I formed in nineteen ninety nine, which lasted through to two thousand and four, I called AJA (Abstract Jazz Arrangement). We recorded two CD’s (www.cdbay.com/cd/aja http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aja2) and there I started developing my version and idea of what Jazz was all about. (I left the link so, if you like, you can get an idea from the samples offere

Then by 2003, Jazz changed for me. It became a language, a way to express my art, not just music. I studied Jazz and discovered the definition that most of the originators agreed upon was that Jazz was the performer’s music, that it had to have improvisation, rhythm and that the player (soloist) would create as he played, therefore, it had to have spontaneity. That definition is what I use to create my artwork.

“Expressing Blue” 2003, acrylic on canvas (private collection)

Of course, I am inclined to include the players as well in my paintings and drawings. I paint (and draw) them as I imagine them, playing the music that is deep in their soul and magically letting those musical phrases travel from brain to fingers to instrument. I try to capture the expression of the sound and the expression of the inner world of the artist as they join with the others onstage and then separate into their own inner world. And since Jazz is also dance, I have my dancers participate in the temporary world created as the music travels through time creating itself and destructing itself, improvising, succumbing to the rhythm, and then creating it.

“Los Tres Musicos” 2003, oil on canvas (private collection)

Jazz is a world like none other. It resembles life but life orchestrated and rehearsed in order for it to be artistic for even though Jazz is spontaneous and improvisational, it is still art and raw emotion is not art.

Please feel free to comment and like and share, I will greatly appreciate it. Also you can see many more of my paintings and drawings in my Instagream @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera AND if you would like to see my 2019 collection, JaZzArt en Valencia (my city in Spain), please visit…you do not have to buy anything…my online gallery at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

THANKS!

From my Blood-Red Orange Part 5: “The Dancer Without a Face”

When you look at an Expressionist painting or drawing, you always see something a little different from what you expect. Reality is always a bit bizarre after it has crossed through the artist’s obscure expressionistic filter.  The composition, although usually figurative and realistic, always has details that distinguish it from things in our ordinary reality.  The painting or drawing will represent what the artist sees and feels reference whatever is in the composition.  This is the essence of my expressionism.  I will show you what is inside my head, as an artist.

“Dancer Without a Face,” is vertical and rather a small (30cm X 70cm) painting, but it contains a very strong internal expression.  The colours are many but green dominates the palette and the colour itself is creating the mood that sets the stage for the dancer.  The dancer, of course, is the principal element of the composition and the reason for the painting.  Green is the colour of envy and how many of us have not envied the body, the agility and the power of dancers onstage?


My dancer has no face.  How many times have you gone to see a dance performance and noticed the faces?  I was intrigued by this because I had just gone to a Flamenco show in Sevilla, Spain the day before I started on this painting and I recalled the bodies, the movements, the intensity of the music, the footwork of the “bailaores” but I could not recall the faces.  Then I realised that I was not meant to remember them.  Their function and purpose was to create art in movement with the instrument of the dance, which is the body and they did it so brilliantly that I never once noticed the face, at least not long enough to remember the features.

The intensity of the dance is what I wanted to paint.  I wanted to include the feelings I got from the music, especially the strength of the percussive elements, which were many as the dancers themselves created rhythms with their footwork on stage.  The drummer looks like an African drummer and that is relative to the fact that, in my interpretation of the scene, I associated the rhythmic qualities with a more ancient, tribal and powerful beat.  This rhythm still forms the music used by Flamenco dancers.  It is the closest thing to raw emotion that an artist can get to without violating a rule, which I love, which states that raw emotion is not art, (Konstantin Stanislavsky).

Please like and follow and lets discuss these things, lets generate discussions on art. 

You can also follow me on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and there you can see many of my drawings and paintings from all years.

And you can visit my JaZzArt en Valencia galleries online…you do not have to buy anything…at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

Thanks!