Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's new Buenos Aires?

(The line is from this Evita song; you'll see why in a minute... sorta). And thus, I've decided to take the next step with my artwork.

For years and years, after I graduated from the University of Washington School of Art in beautiful Seattle, I painted. Because I was mostly living in Europe at the time (Spain and Scotland, with a long stint in between in Lebanon and postgraduate school in Monterey), my artwork focused on what was around me and I painted.

When I returned to the US for good in 1992, I also abandoned painting and returned to my love for drawing. A couple of thousand drawings later, I am ready to take my drawing to the next level.

In my heart, I am a storyteller. I like to use my drawing to push ideas, historical points, narrative, agendas, questions and even fantasies. My series of "Written on the Body" drawings, such as the one below (that's the piece selected by Mera Rubell for last year's WPA auction at the Katzen Museum), I told stories by figuratively decorating the bodies of people with writing anchored in current events, literature, history, etc.

Age of Obama - Nobel Peace Prize

"Age of Obama - Nobel Peace Prize" Charcoal on Paper. 16x12 inches.

I going to expand on that storytelling driving force and here's how I'm going to do it: I'm going to marry drawing with video imagery.
First there will be baby steps. The initial idea is simple. I am going to do a drawing much like this one below, of the psychopath Che Guevara, sanctified of his sins by an adoring public who has little idea who the man really was.

Che Guevara as San Ernesto by F. Lennox Campello, 2010

San Ernesto Guevara de la Serna Lynch, known to most of the world as 'Ché' and to many Cubans as 'El Chacal de La Cabaña'
F. Lennox Campello. Charcoal and Conte on paper. 15 x 10 inches.

In his chest there will be heart much like the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Catholic imagery and tradition. There will be a cutout within this heart, a window into the heart if you will, and visible there, through the hole in his heart, will be a video, playing in a continuous loop showing newsreel video of Guevara reciting a poem, then the video ends with the public firing squad execution of one of the many Cubans that El Chacal de la Cabaña had killed in 1959.

A simple story about an immensely complex man, told in a video drawing.

Muchas gracias to my good friend Tim Tate, video sculptor extraordinaire for giving me the encouragement (and technical acumen) to proceed in this direction.

PS - If you don't get the Buenos Aires banner: Che was Argentinean, not Cuban. Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna Lynch was born on May 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. An Argentine blue blood, Che was the son of Celia de la Serna, member of one of Argentina's high society families. His mother's lineage was of undiluted, pure Spaniard blood, and one of her ancestors was a Spanish viceroy of colonial South America for the crown of Spain. His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch was the descendant of both Spanish and Irish nobility, and his parents Roberto Guevara Castro and Ana Lynch had been born in California, where their families had migrated from Argentina during the California Gold Rush. Yes, Che had American grandparents.