Simply put, if you are an art collector, Welder Ramior Vasquez is an artist to watch. Take this to mean “buy now.” His work is largely self-taught, although he has taken drawing classes throughout his life. The Boston University graduate studied psychology, but he haunted the galleries of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum while studying. Born in Guatemala, raised and educated in New England, he moved Out West five years ago and has enjoyed being part of the gay and hispanic communities here in the Rose City.
But, there’s more...
“For three years now I have earned my income from my artwork,” he said at Local Lounge as he was wrapping up installing his show.
About a dozen pieces show two sides of his art: there is a certain lyrical rawness in his line drawings. Yet, there is a highly refined, painterly quality in his finished work. He is at once developing and succesfully mastering his craft. The surface of the painting seems composed of many diaphonous layers. Much like the way pottery is glazed.
“It’s a technique I was trying,” he said: “experimenting painting with acrylic on paper.”
The show features figures, mostly nudes, landscapes inspired by visits to Rooster Rock, and cityscapes. Of the show, he said,
“Figures and Landscapes" further explores my love of this state, and the beautiful people in it. Included in this show are new large scale drawings, smaller paintings, and other previously unseen works on paper.”
Vasquez told PQ he generally knows what the finished work will be like. Painting is very organic and Vasquez is not unwilling to change his initial vision in terms of scaling based on needs and materials.
“I work from my photos, most of the time,” he said. “But, I know what I want before I finish the drawing or the painting. What I end up with--is pretty much exactly what I imagined it would be.”
In “Portlandia in Spring,” the Steel Bridge looms as industry in the background. Think Edward Hopper. In the foreground there is a screen. It’s composed of budding trees. Perhaps this implies the viewer is just stumbling upon the tranquil scene. There is, almost lost among the delicate, leggy branches, a lone bird. Quite a contrast. The background is so much a looming bridge, but the flowery screen and the bird takes on something so detailed it seems to come from Northern Renaissance Old Masters. The great bridge, the flora, then a “Audoban Warbler.”
“Elk” can be anywhere in Europe, even an Italian piazza. But, it’s just downtown. The image is lush and green. Yet, the color of stone is warm, sunbaked. It’s noon in a Portland park. In summer. Locals know the feeling of our bright, verdant days. They are savored moments.
“I really love John Singer Seargent,” Vasquez said, and he saw many in Boston. “His use of color and shadow.”
The cityscape, parkscape rather, is rendered as if in pause. There’s a little Edward Hopper in this tranquil scene. While there was a bridge in the “Portlandia in Spring piece,” in this one there is in the mid-level of the canvas a car. Stopped in front of a red light. It seems as if Vasqueuz, as the artist, the stopped driver of the black car, the viewer, and even the statue of the elk have paused to admire the lovely afternoon.\
A large male nude, his back to the viewer called “Fernando” is rendered beautifully in pencil. Another finished painting depicts two men kissing, the sunset behind them as they prepare to leave Rooster Rock. This peice is already sold, and will make its home in San Francisco. He is already being collected by local art lovers.
“I have a few collectors who have bought three pieces from me, and I have gotten commissions from buyers as well,” said Vasquez as we looked at his work. “I’m a working artist.”
There are other wonderful pieces up for display and sale at his show at Local Lounge. The artwork will hang at least until the end of the month. Please visit Welder Ramiro Vasquez’ or Local Lounge’s Facebook to learn more. Or, just head there for Happy Hour and admire his work.