Today we’d like to introduce you to Luis Romero.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My dad was an amateur painter and on weekends when I was growing up there was often the smell of oils around the house when he was working on his landscapes and still lives. We also had great art encyclopedias, books on Mexican art, and how to draw the human figure books. My mom’s magazines included housekeeping tips and the latest fashion but also made the point of including brief articles on contemporary art. Jose Luis Cuevas, Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Tunga, I’m pretty sure Lygia Clark, and of course Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono, among many others I saw there for the first time. That’s how art entered my life when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. And making art, drawing in particular, was always part of my life. It wasn’t until years after completing my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Literature, and Film, and trying different ways of being an adult, that I began taking art classes on my own, all because of a casual comment made by my best friend’s mom. Turns out that art was a mask that fit very well and eventually I came to the School of the Art Institute to study and meet other people that made art. It was a beautiful to recognize this odd, slanted part of myself in other people.
Please tell us about your art.
I work mostly on paper, cardboard, and canvas. I use paper and cardboard because they are very easy to manipulate and useful in constructing objects. I’m interested in finding ways of assembling objects and inventing new games using the elements of painting and drawing. Above all I’m looking for a sense of discovery and wonderment. It’s a way of saying, “look, this can be done!” Most of the time the objects I assemble have a unifying principle that allows them to grow in space like an organism. The surfaces tend to be layered so that images have a front and a back, as well as an interior. These days I am using systems of marks like a camouflage to create a sort of visual uncertainty. Although anyone can see that the objects have been manipulated by hand they still create an optical effect. I love the notion that something blatantly tactile can create an immaterial effect. That’s why I say that some of my works are like a kind of handmade op-art. I also like to say that the marks exist in our space and elsewhere.
We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
When I finish in the studio I feel the need to make sure that the world hasn’t left while I was away. I turn the TV on, connect on social media, head out for a walk, try to surround myself with people. I guess I’d say, go where other artists go, be it online or in real time, and make the point of listening to others. I like reading artist biographies, or “artist in their own words” kind of books on occasion. It can be very comforting to know other people have been here before.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
If you like my work tell to people about it, share it online, and spread the word. That’s the easiest and the best way to show support. I have a show coming up at Adams Ollman Gallery in Portland this November. My Instagram feed (@total_romero) shows what’s going on in my studio and is updated pretty regularly. My website (romeroluis.com) documents my career in depth. And of course, you can always schedule an appointment to visit my studio in Rogers Park, Chicago’s attic.
- Website: romeroluis.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @total_romero
- Twitter: @totalromero
William Bengston, Luis Romero