Death has been served, natural, casual like a daily cup of tea.
A short conversation with a friend got me thinking about an issue that has been bouncing off my head for the last few days. The amount of deceased, victims of the now called Covid-19 are now over 1100 people and for most of us they are just that, a number, but hundreds and hundreds of people have been forced to deal with the sudden realization of death, people with names, lives, and feelings.
We are so busy trying to keep up with the news about the virus, the infected, how not to get infected, the doctors and nurses in the front line, the hope for a cure, the financial impact and the end of the lockdown, but we never stop to think about those 1100 people and their families.
Every year the “The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders” organises a series of events to commemorate the International Peace day on the 21st of September.
In 2017 I was invited to take part in one of these activities by creating a 4 x 2 meters painting that was colored along with the people visiting the activity. The large painting was later donated to the museum.
For 2019 I received an email from “The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders” inviting me to submit designs for the “Nanjing • City of Peace” Philatelic International Design Competition” a series of postal stamp that will be produced under the theme Nanjing City of Peace.
Being a long time habitant of Nanjing I have chosen to work with what I consider are the most relevant icons that represent the city. The first icon I decided to use is the mythical creature called “Pixiu 貔貅” which is considered a protector against the evil entities.
A statue of Pixiu is located at Zhongshan gate and welcomes the people entering the city through the very same gate that during the war saw the first invading troops breaching the city by land.
In my interpretation the Pixiu is holding a white dove, universal symbol of peace, in its lifted paw. Its a representation of the peace and harmony that today reigns in the city of Nanjing, which serves as an example of friendship and good relationships.
For my second submission I used a symbol that represents the city of Nanjing, the plum blossom flower, which we can see present in many places from the subway tokens to many logos and icons across Nanjing.
After the war, the city was gifted with several gardens filled with this magnificent and beautiful tree which flowers represent not only beauty but also endurance, it is today the strongest representation of peace, friendship, fraternity between the two nations that were once at war.
The white dove traditionally carries in its beak a branch of Olive as a representation of peace, in this case, the white dove carries a branch of plum blossoms as a message not only of peace but also fraternity and harmony.
Both compositions were originally hand sketched on the one line drawing technique characteristic of my work, later vectorized and colorized on computer graphic software.
On July 30th I was invited by Elevate Shanghai as featured artist to give a presentation about my trajectory as an artist, my roots and the process behind my work
Elevate it’s a media platform ran by a collective of foreigners and Chinese locals dedicated to the promotion, diffusion and support of the arts in the local community through cultural and artistic events. Every month they feature one or two artists to give a talk about their trajectory and current projects.
I had the chance to talk about how much influence had in me being born in a family of artists, both my mom and dad were accomplished commercial artists and that was in fact how they met and got together.
I also talked about my earliest influences, favorite artists and how I got into the work that I have been consistently producing for so many years until now.
My presentation concluded with what I think are the most important aspects of being a real artist. “Sustained Work – Intention / Purpose – Consistency” and of course the importance of having a humble and honest approach towards your work and your audience.
Due to the strong rain that afternoon and the characteristic Shanghai summer heat the audience was reduce but it helped to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere which allowed a great Q&A session and conversation at the end.
This is a drawing commissioned by my dear friend @arqanaceflores, a Venezuelan architect who’s main area of specialization is accessibility for disable people in urban areas and public spaces. I love to take this kind of work because of the complexity and the challenge it represents, it takes me several hours negotiating with the composition, the technique and the limitations I impose on myself, without compromising the message and legibility.
To celebrate being a father I have to first celebrate those who have made me the father I am today.
My own dad who is now resting and who gave me the most profound and lasting lessons on how to be a caring, loving, unconditional and dedicated father. I feel so fortunate to have learned from the very best.
To my two beautiful kids who are the most beautiful, amazing and loving creatures any father could ask, every time they call me “dad” I can literally feel my heart drop and my face lights up with pride and gratitude.
There have been many events and situations in history that have sparked outrage and provoked change, we are all familiar with the story of how a dispute over a bus seat in 1955 ended up in a social revolution.
Once again is a bus the setting for what it should be another social revolution, a revolution to abolish ignorance, prejudice, bigotry, misogyny, discrimination, and all those social deceases. The attack against Melania and Chris on a London bus by a group of criminals is not an isolated case carried out by a group of disarranged criminals, let’s not be fooled, this is once again a brutal and horrendous act promoted by a society that masquerading themselves as religious and conservative incite hate, prejudice and discrimination.
I don’t see Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris as victims, not only because they clearly refuse to be seen as such, but most importantly because they now represent something more iconic, living evidence of what this decaying society have turned into and what we should be work on becoming into. This is no longer Melania’s and Chris’ problem, this everybody’s issue and we should all feel responsible for not doing enough to preventing these abominable events from keep happening.
Every single person who doesn’t raise their voice against this kind of hate crimes is an accomplice especially those in positions of influence, and I make special emphasis on religious leaders because the majority of these horrendous acts are committed in the name of “religious and moral values”, also parents must be aware of what kind of values the instill on their kids because inadvertently they could be raising vulgar criminals incapable of respect and consideration for others.
On May 28th, 2019 I was invited to participate in the inauguration of an amazing creative center and art space located in the beautiful small city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province.
My participation consisted on a small retrospective exhibition of my work with pieces produced from 2016 to present and the creation of a painting with the theme of the “Red Boat Ideology” in front of the guests to the event who were mostly local government officials, art academics and local artists.
I shared this event with the amazing Russian street artist Feat Pavel who created and amazing mural for the venue under the same theme of the Red Boat.
The sketch for the live painting performance was produced on site, due to the limited amount of time available to produce the piece (only 2 hours), it needed to be simple and capture the idea suggested of the Red Boat theme. The result was the woman, representing the seductive country of China, carefully holding in her hand a red boat like a precious jewel.
I always try to make time to participate in initiatives that can contribute to the community where I live even if is just a little bit. The best way I find to do this is by donating my work either as a graphic designer or as an artist like in this case donating my artwork to help raise funds.
This is my second year working with B人bel, an organization based in Shanghai – China which main premise is:
“…to create a more inclusive and equal society. We want everyone to see the humanity in all people, regardless of their identity, ethnicity, gender, special needs, sexual orientation, or background.”
Contemporary Art Exhibition at 1929 Art Space in Shanghai May 18th – 27th
On May 18th 2019 was the Opening of the collective exhibition “Connecting Dots”, organized and curated by a collaboration between Sino-Architecture, NSHSG, Elevate Art, Hush Hush, and Shanghai Madness Creative Collective, using the Shanghai Sketch Group in WeChat as a main platform for promotion, submission and selection.
I was selected to participate in this exhibition along other 42 highly talented artists, some of them were showing their work for the first time as some other artist have a more extensive trajectory.
The three pieces I submitted belong to a series of drawings called Venus I created back in 2017, inspired in the female figure going through the process of pregnancy as a tribute to all women who feel unattractive while going through this difficult yet beautiful period.
Although I produced these pieces a while ago I haven’t been able to show them in an exhibition before, that is due to their suggestive content and the restrictions and prohibitions the Chinese government impose on the diffusion of material that could be perceived and pornographic, erotic or simply offensive, regardless of the media. It is not easy to find a platform that would dare to show this kind of work.
Standing in support to those who celebrate on May 17th the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
I have lived plenty and shared with all kinds of people, I have made all kinds of friendship and I have learned to respect and consider those who live with respect, dignity, ethics, values, principles and most importantly love, of any kind and I can tell with certainty that a different sexual orientation doesn’t make any of my friends any less, way the contrary, having to battle every day the stigma of a still ignorant and prejudice society deserves them even more respect and admiration.