Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Portraits al Fresco


Known generically as stencils, cutting the paper (stencil/template) is but a phase in the making of this type of painting.
I start with a drawing, either a pencil drawing or a photoshop “drawing”. This would be a heavily brushed photograph of the subject. I take these photos myself but the filters I apply in photoshop to create the desired effects react to colours in very specific ways. Therefore, the photograph needs to be re-brushed for those specific needs.
Next is printing the stencil design, and the cutting.
Sprayed, sponged, painted or whichever method one chooses, the varnish passes through the spaces cut in the paper and land on the canvas. I prepare my canvases with a mix of materials, to give it a wall-like look. I love painting on walls and street stencils often decorate the street walls. As admirer of cave paintings, this is the closest I can get to my Altamira.

A couple of other remarks. I consider Jan Van Eyck and Durer the fathers of stencil-art.
Van Eyck, even before the Italian Renaissance, moved the subject of painting from the divine, to the mortals. My stencil portraits depict ordinary people, they interest me, I connect with them when I photograph, draw, or paint them. It is my tribute to these people, who offered me some seconds from their lives and enchanted me in ways I want to tell others about.
Durer was the first to understand the power of the printed art. Just like the Japanese print makers (were they known in the 1400s in Europe?) he made wood blocks and reproduced his illustrations, so everyone could afford to buy one. Durer made his name into a brand, labelling all his paintings with his logo. He was the first to do that, practice we find back on the streets, in the graffiti and stencil art.

These are the first images from the 22 canvas series “Portraits al Fresco”, commissioned for an American Art magazine. I call them “al fresco” because when I spray the paint, the “wall” glued to the canvas is still wet.
Radiator

El Pipe
Al Hambra

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