Meet Raelis Vasquez, a visual artist from New Jersey by way of Republica Dominicana. As a small child, he moved to New Jersey, lived there until the age of 20 and is currently residing in Chicago, Illinois pursuing a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A mutual friend shared some his work via Facebook and I was immediately impressed with the details and craftsmanship of his artwork. I decided to do a little research about Raelis Vasquez and learned he was from a neighborhood I lived in for some time during my adolescence and decided to connect with him to find out more. Check the out the Q&A with Raelis Vasquez below to get some insight and perspective from the lens of a talented young artist.
Are you currently enrolled in any art programs?
I’m getting a BFA in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
How have previous places you have lived influenced your art ? Whether it be cultural, geography, or energy of the locations.
I think that the fact that i was born in the Dominican Republic and raise there for part of my life has a tremendous impact on the work that i make and am interested in making. I am not sure how to explain how, but i am certain that it has strongly influenced my work.
Does your current location influence your art ? If so, how?
Where I am living today, which is Chicago, influences my work greatly because what i experience everyday and the people i encounter with impacts my being.
Describe yourself with a quote, what would it be?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Describe your definition of Art ?
I don’t have a definition for Art. However, I would say that an artist is a creator, whether it be a physical creation or a creation through thought.
What is your favorite medium to use and why?
Oil on canvas. It is significant to my style of artwork due to its slow drying time, which allows me the ability to blend and manipulate the paint in a way that i like.
Have you ever had you work displayed in a Gallery ? If so what feelings did it provoke?
Yes, Feelings of excitement and nervousness. My paintings best when in a gallery setting.
Can you share with us the feeling of seeing your work on display in a gallery verses being seen on a social media platform?
It is not comparable. In social media, everything looks the same where is it merely a documentation of the work, where in a gallery setting, the viewer is getting the work in the flesh.
What pushed your art to move into the current space it is currently?
Time and practice. I have developed a technique and ideas that could not be achieved without time allowing it to develop.
Are you trying to convey any specific messages with your art ?
The application of the visual communication and conventions of unity, history, and diversity of the narratives in my paintings creates a juxtaposition between the figures and the historical context. This forces ambiguity and perplexity within the voice of my work.
What kind of space do you find you work best in? Is there a time of day or specific location that feeds your spirit?
My paintings look best in a gallery setting, where my ceramics belong in homes of people.
When do you feel a piece is completed or is successful?
When I feel that is it at a point where me message is being delivered.
What was the earliest memory you have of you expressing yourself artistically?
Being in my room in NJ when i was 8 or 9 yrs old
Can you share some of the most important fluences you have in your life?
My mentors: John Singer Sargent, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Edward Hopper, Bryan Weitz, Caravaggio, Salvador Dali.
Are you ever completely satisfied with your work as an artist?
I have been completely satisfied with about 15% of my works.
Are there any subjects you will not work with and the reason why?
I am open to work with any subject if i feel that I have something to expose about it.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years from now ?
Showing throughout Chicago and New York. I will be engaging in lots of traveling during that time
How do you determine the value and go about setting a price on a piece of art before placing it for sale?
Many people charge based in time and materials, but i never do. I don’t like to put a price on my time. This doesn’t tell you how i price, but it tells you how i don’t.
What location would make the happiest to see your art displayed at and why that specific location?
I would like to see my work everywhere. I would like to see the impact of my work everywhere.