Artist Chaz Guest: ‘I’m battling having my culture be so misrepresented’ | Art

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Artist Chaz Guest: ‘I’m battling having my culture be so misrepresented’ | Art

“WI feel joy when I draw a picture. I feel what life should be like. I feel free. I am chasing the meaning of being human. These are the words that African-American artist Chaz Guest spoke to me from his studio in Los Angeles the night before his new solo exhibition in his hometown. The guest’s recent work clearly shows joy. His paintings shine with a beautiful, extra-worldly combination of color and bright emotions, despite the rough reality of war and the deep complexity of the black experience. From now until July 30th, guests are exhibiting these works at the Night Gallery in Los Angeles. This is his first solo exhibition at the venue.

Guests became more prominent, but the gallery priced his paintings over $ 100,000 and collectors included Obama, but the climb was long. The guest first sold the cartoons he portrayed as his boy in the 1970s, and for the rest of his life he wanted to keep his work alive and avoid his talented employment. After graduating from college with a degree in graphic design in 1985, guests went to New York City and went to Paris in 1986. There, a chance encounter with Christian Lacroix changed the course of his career. “I loved going to Paris, so I got a one-way ticket. It was supposed to be on the cover of a magazine, which sent me to Christian Lacroix. I painted for him. And he told me, “I think you should be a painter.” I transformed into a journey to make painting my life. “

Guest paintings are usually meditative and moody portraits of blacks. The subject of the guest is the sensation of all, present on the canvas with deep dignity and emotional depth, whose attitude means peaceful power, contemplation, and compressed emotions. For guests, it’s all about giving the historical archetypes of African Americans greater personality and selfishness. “All I have to do is draw about it, and hopefully these people I recall will get enough respect to be seen and heard as humans. Not as a enslaved person. “

Chaz Guest-Decision, 2021 Photo: Artist and Night Gallery Los Angeles Courtesy

Guest influences are diverse and unique. The opportunity to visit Balthus’s studio early in his career had an immeasurable impact, and he also admits that fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez’s work was found to be a “life-changing experience.” .. Surrealism, including Giorgio de Chirico, is important to guests, and jazz music has played a major role in his artistic formation. “Musicians like Coltrain, Monk, Miles were like conducting music, so they helped me shape my way of painting. How they composed their compositions. I learned a lot from the stack. “

In part, the guest’s style draws its particular form from his love of Japanese culture, a connection that dates back to his boyhood when he was surprised by the dedication of Japanese gymnasts. increase. A confirmed pro-Japanese family, he fell in love with cultural symmetry and accuracy and visited the country many times. “I’m amazed at Japanese aesthetics,” he said. “Wood, that calligraphy. I bought stretchers all over the world, but when I bought the stretchers from Japan, I didn’t want to nail them. They were so perfect!”

In particular, the guest found his medium in Japanese ink painting. He first discovered this ink in 1997. This is one of the amazing coincidences that defined his life as an artist. Asked to paint on stage while playing jazz, he jumped in without much planning for his actions and was struck by the energy of the moment he fell in love with the media. “I was so nervous that I was painting on stage with a jazz musician. I had to let go of myself, just listen to the music and witness the waves and torrents coming towards me. I didn’t. Every time I paint, I’m trying to get back to that moment in 1997. “

The work at the Night Gallery exhibition continues his work on Buffalo Soldier. Formed in 1866, the Buffalo Soldier was the first all-black regiment in the United States Army and is known to have been dispatched to fight Native Americans in the late 19th century. For guests, portraying these warriors is a way to regain the black identity to the many negative depictions that are still ubiquitous throughout society. “I’m fighting to make my culture too misrepresented. I’m doing my best to get back to the feeling that Paul Robeson and Shirley Chisholm were grateful for.”

Chaz Guest-The Lineage, 2021
Chaz Guest-The Lineage, 2021 Photo: Courtesy of Los Angeles artists and night gallery

At work at the Night Gallery, the guest deals with an individual who fought in World War II and takes his relationship with a black soldier in the 20th century. For the guest, his father is one of those soldiers, and the money the guest’s father received through the GI Building has a very personal connection as it helped the guest to be educated and empowered. .. “I’m one of those kids. I’d like to tell you what happened at that time. At least in my satisfying way, they weren’t really told.”

The guest’s memorable depictions of battle tend to be made with cinematic wide canvas, the chaotic action-filled scenes he draws, contributing to that spectacular sensation. They are dominated by horses that plunge into movement, and their riders have a supernatural look of calm and determination. Trees sketched with curved and undulating lines give the painting a surreal moment. The warriors in the background are involved in their own mysterious struggle. They are notable tableaus, powerful and overwhelming in the way of great art.

Ultimately, the guest’s job is to respect his ancestors and act properly according to his cultural heritage. His paintings are as powerful as being humble in the face of the work he has assigned to him. “It’s energy that reminds me. I make these individuals start talking. They scream.” We want respect. We are people and we are proud. I didn’t have the opportunity to tell who we are. “To help tell the story so that we can gain some respect. “

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