This week, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet two artists, Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah! Elmer is from South Los Angeles and Robert is from Pico Rivera. They are both in their last semester of school as painting and drawing BFA students and are in the hopes of attending a graduate school to obtain their masters. We learned more about them such as their favorite pastimes which are to listen to music and travel and how they got inspired to pursue art. They both realized their knack for art when they began drawing since they were little because they have always liked to be creative and express themselves. Elmer’s pieces are inspired by his surroundings and environment in South Los Angeles While Robert’s pieces are inspired by the people that are most important to him in his life.
I genuinely enjoyed Elmer’s and Robert’s gallery because I could really see where their inspiration stemmed from. Elmer’s pieces were the large rectangular pieces that featured a person and the background was mainly of street signs and what you would typically see in downtown Los Angeles. I resonated with these pieces because I live near Downtown Los Angeles and this is what I normally see, people on the streets. I can see the paint streaks in his work so I can safely assume that he uses paint and a canvas to make his pieces. As for Robert, he told us that he uses materials that don’t last a long time such as a of cardboard or a really thin sheet of metal that he bleaches. He uses unprimed surfaces so the pieces aren’t meant to last long and will start falling apart.
Elmer’s inspiration for his painting stems from the city of Los Angeles, what he sees there, and what happens there. He began noticing his surroundings and taking interest in them. His paintings are based off of homeless people he interviews. First, he takes a picture of them then he makes collages, then he paints them so he could tell the story if how they are. He mentioned that in one of the paintings, the Greg painting, he incorporated more than 2 arms because the person he was interviewing wouldn’t stop moving. the backgrounds of each portrait represents the city of Los Angeles. Robert’s paintings are the small irregular ones. They are on different types of materials that are unprimed. On each pieces, he painted his mentor, grandmother, mother, a close friend, and himself. He says his favorite piece was the cardboard piece of his grandmother. Something important he said was “It’s about the inspiration not about where it ends up.”
What resonated with me the most about the gallery and the pieces was the DTLA pieces because it’s something i’ve witnessed before and can empathize with when I see them. I also saw a fence with a pink panther painted on there with graffiti which was from Elmer because he grew up painting with graffiti – it’s something that is not unfamiliar because I’ve seen a lot of graffiti painted on walls and highways, but i found the pink panther very unique. I really enjoyed all the pieces because they incorporated a lot of detailed into their work. it’s extremely cool to see someone paint a self portrait of themselves like Robert did. I also learned that all the work that they made took a total of 8 months to complete and they were still painting the day before the show.