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Art Whino Blog

Interview with current exhibiting artist Adrian Viajero Roman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

AW: Tell us a bit about yourself; what are you into, what do you like

to do outside of the studio?


AR: Traveling is very important to me. I'm inspired by the lives of everyday people. Whether it's traveling internationally or within the U.S. My last trip was to Cuba, which a large portion of my current exhibit is based from. Music is also very important to me in my everyday life, especially when and traveling and creating. The drum is a prominent instrument of my creative process. You can't have one without the other! I'm currently learning how to play percussion of folkloric music from Puerto Rico and Cuba.

AW: What do you like most about your work, and what you do as an artist?
AR: I believe people naturally enjoy identifying with other people and their lives. Through experience I feel I've provided a sense of identification and remembrance for the viewer, simultaneously paying homage to my subjects. The materials I use are warm comforting materials that have lived a life, or that have embodied the lives of the people that have used them. Being an artist has provided me to be more of a student, an educator, a historian, and an activist.

AW: What are the first words that come to mind when you are asked to describe your body of work? Why?


AR: The first word that comes to mind is - "Remembering". I'm telling the stories of the everyday people that are unfortunately forgotten about. The people that have truly persevered through struggle and unfairness. Making them martyrs in their own right, immortalizing and memorializing them. A large part of accomplishing this is by the personal experiences I've had with most of my subjects. I also incorporate artifacts I collect during my travels that are marks in time that help support the stories and provide remembrance of a life once lived.

AW: What other genres of art are you find yourself attracted to outside of your own style of work?

AR: I try to be as versatile with my art as possible. Currently working 
with drawing, sculpting and installations, I'd like to do some more painting and maybe some "street art".

AW: Do you draw inspiration from any other artists, past or present?
AR: I don't make it a practice for me to search for inspiration but I've come across amazing artists from the past and present that have inspired me. In the current "street art" scene Jorge Rodriguez
Gerada's large charcoal portraits on buildings are amazing, but more importantly his philosophy is inspiring

AW: In terms of your work, what is it that most influences you; why d
id you choose the media that you work with?


AR: I get most of my influence from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Being Puerto Rican, culture, traditions and history are a very important part of who I am and how I channel my work. Choosing wood as the main element helps create the feeling of life. Its versatility, the natural colors, the grains, the individuality of each piece not ever being the same, it ages, it warps ... etc. There's comfort in it because it's natural. 

AW: I’ve noticed that age seems to be a major motif in your work, that you 
focus on innocence of youth as well as the experience of wizened maturity; Are those choices intentional? How do you decide on which imagery you use, and the different appropriated objects that accompany each piece?

AR: Yes, I work with elders and children in most of my work because without the knowledge of our past, our future will be misguided. The elders being the keepers of our past, our history and traditions, and full of experience. The children being the innocent vessels to be filled with values and culture but also having the silent burden of early responsibility, and carrying on traditions. Choosing images and objects come natural, it's not planned. I believe it's a spiritual moment as well. I go through all my images and pull the ones that call out to me. As the drawing develops, artifacts callout to me. Some combinations are intentional, and some are given spiritually.

AW: Are there any specific narratives behind your pieces; what stories are
told both visually, or perhaps below the surface?

They all have specific narratives told below the surface, but they
 are not always told by me. I enjoy hearing what other people feel when viewing my work. I'm fascinated with hearing about memories and stories. There's been instances where I've created a narrative for a piece I felt was appropriate, and ended up changing it because a viewer shared such a touching story about how it reminded them of a dear family member.

AW: What is something you hope resonates with every viewer who comes out to see your  exhibition?


AR: Comfort, respect, history, understanding, identification, culture...I want the viewer to feel like they are stepping into the lives of these people and are welcomed by them and their spirits.

AW: What has been your greatest achievement so far as an independent artist?
ARI would have to say honoring the lives of my subjects, celebrating my Latin culture through its struggles and perseverance, and being acknowledged by the elders and my peers for doing it with sincerity, respect, and love.

AW: As artists, we all experience the evolution of our work; what do you see yourself doing next?


AR: I see myself using subtle color in my work, much larger scale, and getting more complex with the 3 dimensional pieces. I've been collecting research and my plan is to start a series for 2011 that will specifically focus on Afro-Latino culture. This series is very important and personal one to me. There will be a high level of potential to educate Latinos and non-Latinos of our African roots within the Caribbean and the Latin Americas. It will target religion, social and economic issues, and many more critical topics that need to be addressed.

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