2017-07-13 / Arts & Entertainment News

Partners with Picasso: An artist’s perspective

GUEST COMMENTARY
BY JOHN “DEDO” CRISTINA


CRISTINA CRISTINA When I heard about the upcoming Fine Arts Festival’s mural competition, I knew I had to be a part of it. They were honoring Pablo Picasso — one of my favorite artists — so I decided to create some paintings for the accompanying exhibit.

There was no need to be scholarly. The need was to feel, in my mind, his art and to create a painting in his style. The problem was that Picasso did not have just one style. I needed to channel my inner Picasso and choose what felt most like my current incarnation.

I still love his erotic line drawings. What exactly was happening was open to interpretation, but I was sure I didn’t want my mother to see them. Was that female genitalia or was that a lazy eye floating in an amoeba?

There isn’t a lot written about arts in newspapers these days. But maybe that’s our fault as artists. People don’t know about what we’re doing until we’re ready to show it; maybe we need to write about the process. Perhaps that way people can appreciate the art right here in their community. In that vein, consider this an effort to communicate what this artist is doing and why — even though, as a writer, I make a good artist.


Above “The Red Bathing Suit,” loosely based on “Figures By The Sea” and a Rudi Gernreich fashion design. 
COURTESY PHOTOS Above “The Red Bathing Suit,” loosely based on “Figures By The Sea” and a Rudi Gernreich fashion design. COURTESY PHOTOS Picasso’s cubist and Dadaist stuff was created with specific intent. Philosophy and art would come together to enlighten the world. Art would be more than pretty pictures. Some paintings had staccato variations of color that were gentle and slow moving, while others were hard-lined and bold, technically known as off-the-wall art.

Trying to emulate Picasso by creating different views of the same subject confused me. Why paint a woman who looks like the queen in a deck of cards? I remember going to the Tampa Museum of Art to see Picasso’s Weeping Women exhibit with my teenage son. He wept the entire time we were there. He still doesn’t appreciate two-faced women.


Left: “Female Dancers,” based on Picasso whispering in my ear that he wished he could paint more like Matisse or Leger. Evidently he had a good sense of humor. Left: “Female Dancers,” based on Picasso whispering in my ear that he wished he could paint more like Matisse or Leger. Evidently he had a good sense of humor. I saw Quernica at the MOMA in New York City in 1969. It was spectacular both in size and content. I stared at it for hours. The only media in my life that showed more about the horrors of war was the 6 o’clock news. I considered that to be the best anti-war poster ever — even better than the popular one with the yellow flowers.

In my research, I found there was way too much information on Google to learn about Picasso’s art stylings, and I could not locate any tweets on the subject. So I just clicked on the first three pages of images on Internet Explorer. I concluded (after an exhaustive 15 minutes of viewing) that Mr. Picasso condensed the use of lines, color and shapes. He worked spontaneously and quickly, had no regard for the study of anatomy and perfection was never his goal. Picasso really liked women, even though their limbs as rendered by him looked a lot like sausage, and some of them had noses sharp enough to slice those sausages.

Now I was ready to set for work. The incense was lit … the Fugs were playing on Pandora … I meditated on sausages, cheese and women … I prayed to the art gods and began. With an economy of thoughts and colors, I crafted my newest masterpieces. They were complete before bedtime, and I saw that they were good. I knew instinctively that the most important part of these paintings was my signature.

And if you look at them hard enough, you may even see a woman or two. I enjoyed old Pablo’s visit, and I hope he will come to my studio more often. I’ll keep the light on for him. ¦

Fine Arts Festival 2017:
Inspired by Picasso

>> When: Participating artists must submit an
agreement by Monday, July 31 (available
at www.visualartcenter.org). Receiving is 9
a.m. to noon Friday, Oct. 27. Event is Oct.
29 to Dec. 1.
>> Where: Visual Arts Center, Goff Gallery, 210
Maud St., Punta Gorda
>> Information: Participating artists may
submit a maximum of two pieces in the
style of Pablo Picasso.
>> Information: Visit www.visualartcenter.org … roll over “News & Events” … scroll
down to “VAC Events” … then click on “Fall
Arts Festival.”

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