Myth, Memory, and Magic
A solo exhibition featuring new works by Raphael Delgado.
Exhibition Dates: April 23, 2018 - May 17, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 26, 6 pm - 8 pm
In my art, I aim to be honest with myself. I try to make works that are free of any external references, and that are pure exercises in creativity. As I approach the canvas, I free my mind and let intuition take over. It is a therapeutic endeavor to create images with no real motive and with the purpose of exploring my own emotions, interests, and state of mind. When my hand starts moving and I start drawing, sometimes I am almost surprised at what I see. I sometimes lose track of time. Before I start working, I close my eyes and go to a place; a place in my mind where there is a long white hallway, with thousands of colorful yet blurry images. When the images are too blurry, there is too much on my mind, so it is not quite time to create. Sometimes I close my eyes for a few seconds, and an image is crystal clear, and I just get to work. I imagine there is an infinite number of images in my brain to paint, and I need to zero in on just one, so it takes focus not to be overwhelmed. I often dream of this place, and as I stroll through my mental gallery, I’ll walk up close to individual pieces and memorize them. I study the lines and forms, and in my dream, I think, “So, I painted this.” Sometimes I dream that there are other artists in this space stealing from my databank, and I have to escort them out. It’s selfish, I know, but this place in my mind has become a reliable and very valuable source of inspiration and I need to protect it. It’s an ever-changing gallery in my brain filled with inspiration, and only until recently I realized that there is a common theme.
I have always been fascinated by ancient art. As a young artist, I would spend hours looking through books of Egyptian, Greek, Mayan, African, and Roman art. I would stare at the images and be jealous that they did it first. I wanted to absorb the timelessness, the sense of imagination, the stories, the sense of color and all of the ways earlier artists expressed themselves and their culture. I loved the ancient gods and goddesses’ faces in profiles, and their dramatic body postures paired with cryptic writing. I was intrigued by powerful and magical beings in African art and Mayan art with headdresses and beautiful adornments. I would love the solemn Roman busts in a three-quarter view, staring at me, judging me, knowing I would never be able to carve marble so fine. I would literally stare at the images as a child for hours, not knowing I was searing these images into my brain permanently. These images flooded my imagination and created my early esthetic, but now they have mutated and morphed into something else. My mind is filled with images of mixed mythological beings of indeterminate origin. The imaginary figures that I instinctively draw seem to be stuck somewhere between art history and the future. These images that I retrieve from my internal hard drive are visions and memories that I’ve conjured from all my art interests melted into one. They are the visual archives of my art education, sense of beauty, things that interest me, things that scare me and images are things I don’t even fully understand. People often say, “All that is imagined can become reality”, and I truly believe that. Because one painting at time, I try to completely clear my mind, focus hard, and paint one of these pieces that hang on the walls in my imagination.