“This was easily one of my favorite shows of the year… the ideas were strong, the perspective clear, and the work definitely impressive,” says critic and curator Hrag Vartanian, highlighting visual artist Angel Otero’s show Elegies at the Bronx Museum. Writing for his arts blog Hyperallergic, Vartanian included Elegies as one of the top New York City art shows of 2017.
On Sunday, February 4, Otero himself is leading IVY Members through the Bronx Museum for a special private tour of the show, an an exclusive opportunity to engage with both the artist and his work firsthand (RSVP here). We hope you will join us for an unmatched experience to interact with Otero and his art.
38-year-old rising star Angel Otero was born and raised in Puerto Rico, moving to Chicago at 24 and earning an MFA from the School at the Art Institute of Chicago. In order to give you an introduction to this emerging artist, IVY sat down with Otero to glean insights into the show, his process, and what inspires him.
How did you come to your process of creating oil skins?
As an art student in Chicago — at the moment in which I was exploring with the medium as much as possible — I came across the idea of using the dry oil paint that I had on top of my pallet. By cutting and collaging it over canvas, I was able to make the illusion of a more representational element, which most of the time depicted imagery from memories of back home and being with my grandmother.
What were you thinking about when you were creating the pieces in Elegies?
I don’t think I was thinking about anything in particular. I knew I wanted to make a new approach to my work, one that was more sculptural than painting.
What was the process in making one of the works in Elegies?
First, I make sketches of potential works that I can create using the oil skins that were already in the studio. From there, once I’ve decided on a sketch, the oil skins are cut to shape in larger formats to mirror the sketch and, finally, wired together.
I don’t have a particular intention, but I think if someone were to respond to something, I like the idea that my particular use of material still challenges my own dialogue with painting.
What was the most important thing you learned in art school?
At some point I realized that it’s important to recognize when you feel comfortable so that you can challenge yourself and discover how to evolve from what you’re doing.
What inspires you?
I’m constantly channeling my relationship to memory and how I can just translate that to my art.
What’s the hardest thing about being a visual artist?
The challenges that take place to make your ideas concrete and finding confidence that the translation is the right one.
How do you recharge your creativity?
By exploring, stepping out of my comfort zone, and reaching out both to things that I don’t know so well, and things that are interesting to me.
What advice would you have for young professionals who want to be more creative?
Don’t be scared of going further than your own expectations.
What gives you hope?
Please click here to RSVP to the IVY Art Tour at The Bronx Museum, featuring Angel Otero’s Elegies.