Friday, September 16, 2011

Studio Visit :: Rogelio Manzo

I first met Rogelio Manzo in January 2011, at a painting in the Skinner-Howard Contemporary Art Gallery in Sacramento, CA. We introduced ourselves, shook hands, and I asked him if he is an artist. He said, yes, and pointed to the large painting you see below. The blog entry from that showing here.

I saw Rogelio again in February to check out two new pieces.

Photo courtesy of Rogelio Manzo

From the first moment I saw Rogelio's work my jaw dropped and I could not help but to fall in love with the beautifully scary work. I have not seen work like Rogelio's in person. I have seen work that is scary, but there is something magical, there is a beautiful energy that I can feel when I engage myself into one of Rogelio's paintings. He has a unique process in creating his work. I was able to score some intimate studio time with Manzo himself while he works. Below are images from the visit.

Above, a small scale work in progress.

 Above, a framed piece ready to be shipped. 

Above, a cropped shot of one of Rogelio's newest pieces, getting ready to be shipped.

Rogelio's work is strong in both small and large scale. He has great juxtaposition of the painterly and graphic techniques. We talk about the age old question of inspiration and just what makes him tick as an artist. For Rogelio it is not just about people or portraits but it is about life and the interactions we as humans have in this world. It is about experiencing this life inside the human body and expressing those human emotions in a visual format. He tells me, you know you are alive because you are here, we are experiencing life. Rogelio reflects what he knows and understands of life through his work.

Rogelio is just painting the truth. Many people ask him this question, "Are these people dead or alive?" For Rogelio what he sees is movement. The portrait is showing the basics of the face but you need to go beyond the cosmetics of these portraits to listen to the stories they are telling you. Rogelio's work sends an emotional rush through my body. That is one of the reasons why I think his work is so strong. Rogelio's work is not work that I generally gravitate towards, however the technique and extreme beauty of the painter's decisions, my body can not ignore.

Rogelio shows me some of his early work from 2002. It is always great to see the visual time line of an artist and might I add, Rogelio can paint. Since that time Rogelio has learned new skills which is apparent in the current body of work. Keeping the attention of humans in this age of technology is challenging, however with Rogelio's combination of the transfer, it gives the work that digital quality but pairing it with a painterly touch keeps it human.

There is a lot of cruelty in the world. Rogelio used a simple analogy of humans squashing cockroaches and swatting flies. As humans we have this feeling, a right almost to squash bugs and animals that are smaller than us. Why? Is it because we are humans and we think we are superior than all other living things on this land? What is the bug doing? It is just trying to survive, just like you, and just like me.

The work of Rogelio Manzo is exactly opposite from what you might assume. For Rogelio it is about letting something go from inside of him and sharing that with you. If the viewer chooses to look inside the painting, they will find a piece of themselves in the work. In his current series, it is not about death, but about life, about human feelings.

Rogelio did state that he loves to be scared. I giggled and told him I really do not like to be scared, but I find such beauty in this work that I can not help to look and be fascinated by the story of each portrait. The reaction from some people is that of disgust, but they too can not help to love his work either. 

Here are a some of Rogelio's paintings. Photography provided by Rogelio Manzo.

Donaciano, 24x30

 Eliodoro, 24x24

Justino, 40x40

 Ralulca, 10x8

Rogelio is being represented by the following galleries around the world. He is currently working on two solo exhibitions each one on opposite sides of the USA. The first one for the Skinner Howard Gallery in Sacramento, CA in November 2011 and one for Muriel Guepin in Brooklyn, NY in January 2012. Keep your eyes out for Rogelio, he is someone to watch. If you are interested in learning more about his work, check out a gallery near you and visit his site : and if you FB, you can see him there too (here).

Jack Fischer Gallery
49 Geary St., suite 418
San Francisco, CA 94108

Muriel Guepin Gallery
47 Bergen street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Patrajdas Contemporary Art
Chicago, IL

Cube Gallery
Perry Road
Bristol, UK BS1 5BG
T + 44 (0)117 3771470

The Christopher Hill Gallery
1235 Main St.
St. Helena, CA 94574

Skinner-Howard Contemporary Art
723 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

217 West 10th St. suite 125.
Indianapolis, IN46202
317. 955.2450

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bask @ the Alternative

This Saturday I was able to check out the much talked about Bask showing at the Alternative Cafe located at 1230 Fremont Blvd. Seaside, CA. The show is curated by Andrew Jackson. Texture and color are every where you look. Take a gander for yourself. It is great to see so many of those red dots. If you are in the area, go check out the show. To purchase the work, click,  (here). The artist flew all the way from Florida to attend the show. To read up on the curating Andrew Jackson check out the story by Walter Ryce about the Shepard Fairey show, currently on display in Sand City. Dare I say, it is happening...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chalkin' It Up in Sacramento

This Labor Day weekend I was chalkin' it up in Sacramento for the 21st Annual Chalk It Up event which raises money for children's arts programs in Sacramento county. I was representing which is the go-to website in Sacramento for events all year round. sponsored two squares each with a different artist.

This was my first time creating anything in chalk, since I was a young girl. My first try at it was on a morning news spot in Sacramento at KCRA Channel 3 News. My chalkbot and I accompanied a  youthful band, with the youngest member being 8 years old and the oldest I believe 14, Failed To Resolve, you can listen to them here. Here is a clip of me working in chalk, making, what else, chalkbots (the clip). You will find me about 1 minute into the clip. Below are some photos from the spot.

Onward to the event. Here we are at the registration table where I will receive my t-shirt, bag, Spare the Air pen and lip balm.

Here is my square! I am #8, O how exciting! Let's get to chalkin'!

Above is the end of day one.

The finished Chalkbots! It was a great experience and of course it was fun to hear what people had to say. My favorite response from an on-looker with his children was, O look, love monsters! I love that people young and 'old', left brain and right brain, locals and travelers can all connect to the simple fact that we as humans all want to be loved. Humans want to find a special connection to someone and love them back, to feel like they belong. It is about finding that special bond bringing people together. A young man came up to my square and told me his girlfriend and his favorite colors are orange and purple, and hey, they are in love! Awesome!