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…
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…
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.
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.
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