Artist: Elmer Guevara
Media: Canvas, Paints, Tarp
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Elmer Guevara is currently enrolled as a student here at CSULB and is trying to achieve Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in drawing and painting at the school of Arts. Elmer currently lives in South Central and commutes to Long Beach. Ever since Elmer was little he knew that he wanted to be an artist. At various points in his life he considered other occupations but he decided to follow his heart and stay diligent as an artist. He grew up with his cousins and his family in LA and was inspired to be an artist after being exposed to the graffiti art around him. Elmer has studied art figuratively but his art style appears to be more contemporary. Elmer Guevara worked with his good friend Robert Nhemiah to open the exhibit “Immaterial” together because of their similar art styles.
Most of Elmer’s work in this exhibit have the same “theme” or concept. Elmer’s art work is very abstract but has a contemporary approach. His artwork consists of a painting of a person as well as their background but it is not the average painting. The paintings consist of the same person and background but at multiple angles and times in one big blob or collage. It’s like he spliced multiple images from the same gif and layered them on top of each other so that you could see some pieces mixed together while seeing multiple versions of the same thing at different angles. The colors he used for his artwork aren’t too vibrant. Most of the paintings have more of a dark tone because some of the settings of his subjects were at night while other paintings have a lighter feel because they were seen and talked to during the daytime. There were occasional parts of the picture that were bright because of the setting but the painting did not have a lot of bright colors. The paintings are a blend of straight and jagged looks as well blotchy spots.
Every person Elmer painted in his exhibit was a real-life person that he met in South Central. Before painting or even taking pictures of his subjects, Elmer would interview and talk to the person and get to know them. For example, the painting of the man with the white baseball hat and the blue basketball jersey was a man named Greg that he talked to. He said that Greg kept moving during his interview and pictures so he painted Greg with multiple limbs to show or express movement in the painting. Elmer’s process for his paintings include taking picture of his subject at different angles and times. He will then make a collage reference with the photos that he has taken and then he will proceed to paint. Each subject Elmer has painted has a different background and was painted for a different reason. Elmer’s main purpose for each painting was to show us how each individual lives and challenge our perceptions of them. After Elmer talks to each individual, he learns about the situation and environment they experience and tries to display this information in his paintings of them. Elmer uses this style of artwork to express multiple ideas and information people might not see from a regular glance of a person.
Synthesis / My Experience
When I first walked in to Elmer Guevara’s, I automatically knew that their art was centered around or about LA. I don’t know if it was because I like to go there a lot or if it was because the art had a graffiti style to them. To be honest, I just the art was really good because it was clean and it was quite detailed when show specific parts of the background. I wondered if these people were his friends or if they were random people and apparently, they were random people. I thought it was really cool how it looked like he spliced his paintings since some paintings would have multiple arms or legs. I thought he was just doing this to make his style different or intricate but I was wrong. Elmer painted his subjects at multiple angles because he wanted to express the situation and background of the individuals that he met. Each way he drew his subjects were to express their individuality in their situation. Elmer wanted to show more about the person he painted that you would not normally see from just a first glance. Basically each painting was the story of the individual. I could relate with what he is trying to do with his art because nothing is just as meets the eye. You could take a glance at a random person and think they are very cool and reserved but actually be an outgoing person. I’ve seen a lot of graffiti which could be described a just tagging but Elmer’s art shows a different side of it. Elmer Guevara’s art was more intricate and had depth that tells a story of people on a larger perspective that other individuals don’t see.