artist’s commentsArmando Adrian-Lopez Toughts and Musings
My life is not separate from my art, my life is art and has always been art. I am, for all intent and purposes, self-taught. I have an unshakable belief in La Unidad, Unity in all things. I believe we are all connected to everything and everyone. I see myself as a spiritual storyteller; the narrative-symbolic allows me to tell a stories in which I am not the sole interpreter, the viewer is also an interpreter. My imagery is intentionally accessible and universal by way of archetypes that are open and flexible enough to allow for many interpretations, not one interpretation. My use of visual language, the symbolic, expresses my intent to engage the viewer in a dialogue. Through this unspoken dialogue an intimacy arises and the space to dream, imagine, contemplate–that, to me, is freedom.
Theater college in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico was the only the official art schooling that I had. My grandfather was a basket maker and from him, I learned how to weave and construct objects from different materials. I am still essentially a basket maker; an artistic/theatrical basket maker.
At first, I made baskets too, and began to impregnate them with a personality; taken perhaps from a tale, a myth, a fable, pastoral, vesicle, an apparition, a mystical encounter, or a dream. My baskets grow wings, rays, and faces. The beings I create use my hands to form the shape around their space with corn leaves. My hands are grass horns full with creatures and beings streaming out from their/my interior home, they are their own parents and they rush out of the cornucopia which are filled with creatures.
Painting, I find that I can communicate my artistic visions and inner life in a detailed, colorful, & multi-leveled format. I build upon the foundation laid down by the old European Masters Using layers of under painting and glazing I build up the paint so that the viewer is drawn into the depths of the canvas.
I apply paint as under painting, then as many opaque layers on top of that. Many transparent glazes added onto that. This is very time consuming and gives the paintings an inner glow, which, in my opinion, helps to communicate the inner world to the viewer. Much of my subject matter ranges from the angelic through the mundane and sometimes shamanistic. Much of it stems from my interpretation of the native Mexican view of the world and of the New and Old Testament.
No one bequeathed my dreams to me, No one taught them to me. The muse of my inspiration comes every night and like Prometheus, each day I am disarmed arming my dreams
A bit about my artistic roots:
The tribe, Tarasco were known for its great warriors. So fierce were they, that even the powerful Aztecs could not or would not conquer or demand tribute from them. They were among the last of the Mexican tribes to fall under the yoke of the Conquista.
It is a very old tradition to decorate the family altars with products from the harvest such as, corn, chilis, beans, and also with figures made out of corn husks or clay. My work is the combination of this pre-Colombian custom and the influence of the Catholic religion. An interesting example of these early colonial images is La Virgen de Salud (The Virgin of Health) which is in the cathedral of Patzcuaro. La Virgin was made about 400 years ago and later covered over with gesso to preserve it’s heart of corn husks and corn paste or pasta de caña. For me, this figure has been an important source of inspiration. I visualize her often while I am working.