Sweet Souls Remembered
Sweet Souls Remembered
Dia de Los Muertos inspired work by sugar skull artist Rob-O and fine artist Francisco Franco.
Exibition Dates: February 22, 2016 - March 17, 2016
Rob-O Artist Statement
Art, in all its mediums, has always been a part of Rob’s life since he was a child. His favorite memory goes back to when his Grammie would take all of the grandkids to the mountains to explore some nature as well as a chance to explore their creativity by giving them a drawing pad, a charcoal pencil, and the freedom to create their own art. Drawing, painting, and sculpting was just something they did as a family and those experiences will always be cherished. Now, how in the world did he ever think about getting into sugar art?
Rob’s life changed forever when his mom passed away. Celebrating his mom's life played a huge role in his grieving and healing process. Now, the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration is an annual tradition for friends and family to come together to honor, remember and celebrate their loved one's who are no longer with them. The tradition of making sugar skulls to place on the alter exposed him to this tremendous medium that really allowed for his artistic ability to magnify in a way that he had never seen.
The art of sugar skulls has become a passion for him. This passion has now opened the opportunity to preserve the Mexican culture as well as to enrich and educate the community about the beauty of sugar skulls and its role in celebrating and memorializing loved ones that have passed. It has taken a lifetime of trials and tribulations, faith, courage and family to now have the ability to provide an outlet for emotional healing, as well as inspiring all artists, young and not so young by visualizing, creating, and sharing unique one-of-a-kind sugar skulls.
In Loving Memory of Mom
Francisco Franco is an artist and accomplished muralist, whose work adorns many public and private spaces across Northern California. Francisco’s conceptual approach to painting began as a student at the University of California at Berkeley where he graduated with honors with a degree in Art Practice and a minor in Philosophy. He then took his studies to New York where he graduated Cum Laude with a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art. There he also received a fellowship to Oxford University where he studied anatomy at the Ruskin School of Drawing by dissecting cadavers under renowned artist Sarah Simblet.
While in New York, he witnessed the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. He watched in horror from a few blocks away as the victims chose to jump from the buildings to avoid being burned alive. The impact of the experience shook him to the core and left him with a deep and terrible sense of his own mortality. This created in him what philosopher call an ‘existential crisis’; a moment where an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose or value. This took a toll on his life both physically and psychologically. It wasn’t until Francisco turned to his ancestral heritage and oil painting Day of the Dead inspired artwork that he began to heal from this psychological trauma. It was the Dia de los Muertos tradition that allowed the healing process to begin, and in turn his work began to help heal others.
The work is inspired by but not limited to the genre, the work is much closer to Memento Mori art, a symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, presented here with a humorous twist. The works are hand-painted acts of catharsis; an elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression, thus easing our death-related anxieties through expression and humor. The work is a purification that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension. Francisco's paintings are an interesting blend of conceptual ideas and artistic skill. His unique perspective and signature style employs pop imagery, irony and humor. This along with a deep understanding of anatomy, light, and form, allow him to present his concepts in a full spectrum of color and light that evokes a sense of heightened realism and unease. This is achieved by his use of stark light on dark human themes. Francisco's strong form- sense, painterly style, as well as his use of intense color, come together to create a sense of physical reality within the viewer, specifically designed to leave an indelible mark on the mind, a visual message resonating profound meaning and deep truth: Making ALL OF US AWARE of the inevitability of life’s final process, yet color and humor pervade, thus taking the sting away from death through the playful pleasure of the joke, the malicious joy of laughing at death's expense, as well as the pleasure of taming Death through fraternization.