I stumbled across the work of Julio Alan Lepez on tumblr this past July and it was love at first sight. The painting above appeared on my dashboard and I quickly reblogged it (for obvious reasons), but the original post lacked information about the artist. I love the combination of realistic portraiture with writing and the scratched out parts. I wasn’t sure if it was mixed media or just paint, but I’d never seen paintings like this before. Months later I got a message on tumblr alerting me to the artist, from …. the artist himself! I was trilled to find his site and see more of his work and learn more about him. I reached out asking if I could feature him on my humble blog, and thankfully he agreed. Today I’m featuring five of my favorites, but these only represent a small snapshot of his work. Check out an extensive collection of his work on his site (here), and follow his blog (here).
In writing about his show Inventory in 2011, Chelsey Henderson writes,
“Julio Alan Lepez has been painting portraits since back when he was at Art College. It is well known by now that Lepez’ subjects are always his friends. He works from photographs he takes of them, asking them to pose according to the idea he wants to portray, and even though it is evident that he has many very willing friends, after a few years of following his work one starts to recognize them, to almost feel like part of the group, like walking up to one of them and saying “hey, how have you been, its been ages!”
Solution nr. 1
31 x 31 cms. | collage, oil on mdf | 2011
The titles Lepez gives to his works are very important. “If I don’t have a title, I don’t have a painting”, says Lepez. Often, the title comes before the painting. Other titles, such as “Retratos imposibles” (Impossible Portraits) or “Retratos psicologicos” (Psychological Portraits) are constantly re-used with different characters. “To me the title is a way of capturing the spectator’s attention, a way of intriguing him and drawing him closer to the work. The image captivates, but the title sets him thinking all the more. I go crazy if picture and title are not perfect together”, explains the artist.”
Impossible Portrait 10
90 x 60 cms | oil and collage on canvas | 2005
Impossible Portrait 17
70 x 100 cms | oil, collage and charcoal on canvas | 2006
180 x 180 cms. | | 2011
I cheated with the last one, a group shot for my final favorite! But don’t these paintings look amazing together? I hope you enjoy Lepez’s work as much as I do and if you’d like to see more, check out his site (here).
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