Artist: Elmer Guevara
Media: Oil on Canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist:
While walking into the art gallery, I was amazing by the amount of detail and skill in each one of the portraits. Each portrait seemed to tell their own story and the amount of detail depicted in the portraits was truly impressive. I then walked outside and talked to Elmer Guevara, one of the individuals who drew the portraits. Elmer Guevara drew the bigger/oil on canvas portraits, while Robert Nehemiah drew the smaller oil on unprimed wood/metal/cardboard/tarp. Elmer Guevara is a BFA undergraduate painting student that is currently in his last semester at CSULB. He grew up in Los Angeles and is still currently living there. While growing up, Elmer loved to draw and started with graffiti. He always knew he had a talent and therefore, wanted to go to school for painting. Mr. Guevara works more with fragmentation and uses a direct style of art. Mr. Guevara gets his inspiration from his city, because he grew up there and loves everything about the environment. Each one of the drawings illustrated above is a new homeless individual that Mr. Guevara interviewed and with their permission, he was able to draw them. Mr. Guevara indicated that with each drawing, the individual in the picture tells their own story in a way. He also expressed how he did not draw these individuals so that he can take them to a art gallery and profit from them financially, but rather did it for the experience. Some things Mr. Guevara loves doing is traveling and listening to music, as well as thinking of new things to draw. Mr. Guevara had five drawings at the art gallery, three of which illustrated above, and said that it took him about eight months to draw all five portraits.
While looking at Mr. Guevara’s work, it seems very abstract and complex. His art illustrates the environment he is in and what he is seeing at the moment in time. He uses many different colors and makes the portrait seem realistic and factual. What’s great about Mr. Guevara’s work is that many of the colors he uses were blended well together and when you look at it, seems like you are actually there. What is astonishing about Mr. Guevara’s art is that it seems like he can do it all. There are many shapes, colors, and line structures conducted in each one of his portraits. In his art, he mainly uses oil paintings, which is creative and one can tell that Mr. Guevara is extremely talented.
Each one of the pictures above illustrates how that individual is feeling and the colors he uses, depicts how the people seem to be doing. For example, the first picture is showing a homeless elderly lady named “Lala” and she seems to be sleepy and gives the impression of helplessness in a way. In my opinion, the colors then illustrate someone to be down or upset. The second picture is of an individual name “Greg” and he seems to have a more lively personality, therefore resulting in a lighter color surrounding, since it’s expressing positively. Another thing that I found interesting was the portrait about “Greg” and how he used his personality in a way to add on to the portrait. While talking about Greg, Mr. Guevara indicated that he seemed to me moving around a lot and could never stand still. That being said, he then added an extra arm to give the impression that Greg is always active and seems to be doing a lot of things at once. Lastly, the portrait of “Carlos”, the third picture to the right, seems to have a neutral feel to it. Unlike Lala, which seemed to give off a negative vibe and Greg, who seemed to give off a vibrant and positive vibe, Carlos just seems like an ordinary male living his life.
Synthesis/My Experience: There are many things that we take for granted in society and therefore, we usually ignore it. In downtown Los Angeles, there is a problem with unemployment which results in many individuals being homeless and looking for someone to give them a voice. In my opinion, Mr. Guevara gave them that voice and shows how each one of those individuals are dealing with the struggles in their lives. For Greg, he seems to still be lively and push through even though there are many reasons why he should be down about his lifestyle. For Carlos, he seems curious about what the future holds for him, but not ready to give up. For Lala, she seems to depict helplessness and looking for an opportunity. This resignates with me because many times I feel like giving up and think that the obstacle is to large to overcome. I realized that with that mentality, one will not accomplish anything but rather create more obstacles for themselves. I appreciate Mr. Guevara’s art because it shows all the different types of personalities with individuals living similar lifestyles. At the same time, it is important to keep your head up with it comes to problems in life such as academics or finding a job because if you lose hope and your positivity, it is then hard to overcome those obstacles.