Cultural Contemporary Art: Celebrating Latin Artists
This is part one of our three-part series highlighting Latin artists from all around the world coinciding with the celebration of Latinx Heritage Month 2021. Discover artists that push boundaries, defy expectations, and celebrate culture.
“My great strength is knowing who I am and where I come from…” Oscar De La Renta
Contemporary art is described at its simplest as “the art of today.” This broad description fully encompasses the characteristics of Contemporary art: a wide variety of work influenced by the artists creating, the world in which they live in, and their experiences. In part one of this series we take a look at contemporary Latin artists strongly inspired by their heritage and culture.
Jorge R. Gutierrez
Born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana, Jorge R. Gutierrez is an award winning animator, director, writer and artist that is strongly inspired by Mexican pop and folk culture. His work combines modern pop culture with an homage to his Mexican heritage: bold, vibrant colors, a plethora of patterns and textures and an overall street art/mural feel. Gutierrez’ work in his words is “very much inspired by Latin American and Mexican folk art. This is art which is not very expensive, it’s the kind of art that you buy in the market when you buy a watermelon; A little sculpture you take home for the kids to play with, which has a lot of imperfections that, to me, make it really charming.” His goal as an artist and filmmaker is to showcase his culture with positive representation. Follow his latest projects on instagram.
Oscar Ortiz is a New York born Puerto Rican artist that currently lives in North Carolina. The pure joy of creating and making others happy through his paintings and drawings is what satisfies him the most. Ortiz’s paintings are executed in different mediums such as oil, alkyd, casein, acrylics, colored pencils, inks and mixed media. He is sought after and celebrated throughout the world for his Puerto Rican influences and bright but controlled Caribbean colors. “Happy”, “exciting”, “peaceful” and “energetic” are common adjectives expressed by his collectors when describing his artwork. Whether at home or abroad he drinks fresh brewed black coffee in the afternoon as his favorite method of staying rooted with his Puerto Rican upbringing.
Cristina Rodriguez’s South American heritage remains a powerful influence on her work. It is reflected in her confident use of bright oil colors. It is also evident in her skill at condensing complex reality into her own symbolic language, and perhaps even in her robust adherence to figurative, narrative painting. Rodriguez writes, “Although I have been painting professionally abroad since 1986 and travelled extensively all over the world, the main source of my inspiration comes from the land I was born in. I choose to give magic instead of horror. I choose to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I choose to give harmony and peace instead of ugliness and sadness. I choose to give something positive and enlightening to my fellow human beings and I choose to give it through my paintings.” Explore Cristina’s work on her website.
Luis Fitch is an internationally renowned Hispanic designer. Born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Luis moved to the United States in 1985. His work remixes Mexican cultural themes with street art sensibilities, and can be seen in a variety of venues. Fitch says, “One day you will see my work in a gallery, the next in a pop-up restaurant, and the next day on the corner of the house, and you get a box of tacos and it will be right there. I’m excited about the intersection of all the things. [I’m] not just doing artwork for collectors to go to their houses.” His work is primarily centered around the iconography of Dia de la Muertos, or Day of the Dead. His use of skeletons symbolize people at their core, separated from the color of their skin. Learn more about his work by visiting his website.