Digital Kintsugi

‘Androgynous No. 20’

‘Androgynous No. 19’
‘Androgynous No. 19’

A couple of recent paintings, Androgynous No. 19 & 20.  The gold, dabbed over the faces of the models is inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese technique of repairing pottery with gold powder and lacquer (as describe in an earlier post).  The actual painting technique—rectangles applied with a flat brush—came from an idea I had in a design class back in the ’80s around the time of the Challenger disaster.  The assignment:  An analogous color study.

On tiny pieces of paper, I watered down my acrylic paints and rendered rectangles, transitioning from one hue to another.  Even back then, one couldn’t help but think of a digital future, such as the one Salvador Dali perhaps hinted at in Lincoln in Dalivision.  30 years later, I still find something compelling about that artistic sentiment.  Whether Dali was remotely interested in technology or was primarily concerned with achieving an illusion with a photo-mosaic, as things turned out, the world has become quite pixelated indeed.

Add a little humanity in the mix and our cyber experience of life might look a little more like a van Gogh painting with thick gooey brushstrokes.  I wonder if van Gogh, who was an avid fan of Japanese art knew about kintsugi.  No doubt, the golden years of expression came out of deep personal brokenness.

So there you have it—kintsugi, Lincoln in Dalivision and van Gogh—all swirling around in my head as I try to depict androgynous models and the fascinating things they tell us without ever saying a word.

The Summer of ’17

Aside from celebrating the 20th wedding anniversary with my wife, Jean, and the launch of the Androgynous Project exclusively for the Art Frenzie Gallery in Wilton Manors, 2017 is the year I have been granted the distinct honor of being the featured artist at the City of Sunrise Anime Festival as well as the speaker for ‘Otaku Mode.’  Having an art talk and gallery opening simultaneously during a Japan themed festival is a dream come true.  If you’re in South Florida and can make it, I’d love to see you there!

Details:
2 Free events at the City of Sunrise Anime Festival featuring Carlos Aleman

Otaku Mode (At the City of Sunrise Theater, 2:30pm)
Artist, writer, speaker and cultural provocateur, Carlos Aleman, examines the creative spirit and the appreciation of all that is different, exotic and compelling revealed by our western love for Japanese pop culture. The talk is a preview of a creativity course he is slated to teach at the Civic Center in July, 2017.

Anime-Japan (At the City of Sunrise Art Gallery, 4:00pm)
After the talk, you are cordially invited to the special reception celebrating the launch of Anime-Japan, the new art exhibition featuring the work of Carlos Aleman. Come meet the artist inside the Sunrise Art Gallery and also enjoy the 2017 City of Sunrise Anime Festival just outside the doors of the gallery.

In addition to the art talk and gallery opening, there will be lots of activities including animated movies, origami, manga, calligraphy art, bonsai demonstration, a ‘cosplay’ costume contest, Japanese food, and performance by the Taiko Dojo Drummers (There is a cost for the food and Taiko Drumming).

Eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/anime-exhibit-festival-tickets-30927131884

Facebook Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1863489450590765

Kintsugi Samurai


‘Kintsugi Samurai’ © 2017 Carlos Aleman

I’m finishing up my pieces for the summer Anime-Japan show.  This one has quite a bit of gold and glitter in the face (photo doesn’t quite capture it) and so I thought I’d describe it with the word, kintsugi.  If you’ve ever seen broken Japanese pottery repaired with lacquer and gold dust, you might find ‘kintsugi’ can also be a metaphor for people who have experienced brokenness and recovery.  I plan to carry the sentiment over to some paintings I’m starting to work on in my head.  I’ll keep you posted.

Androgynous Art Opening

Last night, Bernadette Zizzo and Debbi Burke of Art Frenzie Gallery hosted an incredible art opening to unveil my new series, ‘Androgynous.’ The enormous turnout seemed almost a metaphysical extension of all the hard work put in by the gallery staff to literally rearrange their sacred space to perfectly compliment my paintings (I’m profoundly grateful and humbled).

The highlights of the evening included the glamorously dressed arriving in face paint and costume as well as the many who I had the pleasure of engaging in long meaningful conversations with. Genderfluid cosplay model, Rune, was also there posing for photographs next to the paintings she had inspired. Especially significantly for me, was observing Bernadette Zizzo, singing karaoke outside with what appeared to be limitless energy. Only last year, she had battled back from life threatening illness. At some point during her ordeal, she found the time to contact me after reading a magazine article featuring my artwork. Bernadette is someone that is loved by many. Her heart is as big as her belief in artists like me, who need extraordinary people in their lives.

Painting Androgynous People


It’s been said that art should sometimes confuse people a little to help them to see things in a way they’re not used to.  Probably, one of the things that stir up the most discomfort and disorientation is the subject of human sexuality.  As consciousness shifts and attitudes evolve, the question of what is male or female, non-binary, gender fluid or gender neutral or even transgendered is being examined with more profundity and opened mindedness, as something that can no longer be ignored.

According to a British study back in 2015 (YouGov U.K.), 49% among 18-24 year olds consider themselves something other than heterosexual.  This ambiguous realm of not quite this and not quite that struck me as something of a beautiful mystery that needed artistic exploration as an alternative to all the things people say and write.

I began painting subjects that I hoped would draw viewers into a sort of trance, a fashion show, if you will, that would express what words cannot and the mind may not be able to fathom, each painting, essentially a runway model gazing at their audience, overflowing with secrets and/or confessions.

The reality is, those that are somewhere outside the binary model of gender and societal norms suffer from dysphoria, hating themselves and their bodies, at least this was what I learned when trying to obtain permission from a model to use her Instagram account as reference photographs.  Having suffered from depression, I find it particularly alarming that 41% of transgendered people had attempted suicide according to one study.

With the encouragement of Art Frenzie Gallery in Wilton Manors, Florida, I am working on the Androgynous Project with the help of models, Loring MaCall, Rune De LaVince, Alita LaShae, Joash Kong, Natalie Lenz and Millie Rose Evans.  I seek to capture their beauty and look past all the obvious questions, such as what pronouns to use.  More importantly, there seems to be some cosmic mystery at work, the interplay of yin and yang within the soul and the achievement of balance between polar opposites.  And such are heavenly mysteries, the things that completely baffle us.  And so another artist chooses to respond to a peerless muse.

Click here to see the paintings