JuanCarlos rLora is an American painter and sculptor who has exhibited nationally. Almost all of his works communicate surreal narratives as well as philosophical and scientific theories. It is rLora’s core belief that the impossible is, in fact, possible and that love can truly save us all. Working in series and installations, he uses mixed techniques and mediums to tell a story. We sat down with JuanCarlos to talk about his current projects, inspiration, and the start of his artistic career.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I think I became an artist even before I became aware of myself as a person – I’ll explain better. My mother was an avid collector of everything that has a connection with Art, be it Paintings, Sculptures, Books, or even furniture. So I was immersed in art from a very young age.
As a child, I was a little hurricane (still am) thus my mother would try and protect her art collection from being ruined and destroyed by me! I wouldn’t stop, actually, I still cannot stop. This is reflected in my art. It develops very rapidly and is a reflection of the way my mind works as a hyperactive person. When I create, I hunker down and truly finish the projects that I begin, like a series or an installation. But instead of resting afterward, I just move on and start the next one. It is similar to going with an eraser to a chalkboard and wipe it clean and just begin the next plan. I don’t sleep much, and when I am awake, I am at work.
So to answer the question, I was plugged into art school since the age of 7 or 8, before my brain could even develop as a person.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
My artistic influences are Cadido Bido (R.I.P.) a Dominican artists and Traditional Master in arts with whom I learned my basics at Escuela de Artes Plasticas Candido Bido.
In my adolescence, I was mentored by Aquilez Azar (R.I.P.) a contemporary Turkish artist – a master – with whom I learned how best to ignore my basics, and search my brain instead to find what it actually was trying to convey. I was also covering the extensive history of art, learning about things that aren’t taught in school, like focusing on the little details of art’s history.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
Since I am hyperactive, I prefer to work alone. I tend to submerge my brain in what I am doing and have a private dialogue with the art as it’s being created.
If someone is creating alongside and we are both working on the same piece, from experience I tend to either manipulate the overall aspect of the piece or just simply throw off things the other artist has added to the artwork. I sometimes even got angry, accusing them of ruining the piece.
However, we have to continue to evolve as people and try to better ourselves. To confront that sort of behavior, my manager and I created a program called #BeeOfChange (pre-pandemic) where we would take a large canvas to an event. I would begin the piece with the outline of a bee, speak about the perils we face in a world without this creature so important for pollination and the growth of planetary vegetation and the creation of oxygen in the atmosphere, and speak about it being an endangered species and then release control and let anyone who wanted to collaborate on the piece work on it.
We would only ask the person to make a donation towards the #ArtToSaveLive Animal Rescue Mission. (ArtToSaveLives is something my manager and I have been passionate about for more than 10 years now, where we use more than half of the proceeds from my art sales to fund our animal rescue mission.)
It so helped me to learn a lot, it was great fun. I know now that I have grown enough as a person to collaborate, however, I would still prefer to do my imaginary travels alone, so I can speak to the piece in our own language.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
I often work simultaneously on multiple projects. When something comes up or I get inspired, I sketch the idea into my agenda so I can revisit this series or installation at a later date. Since I don’t pause there are overlapping projects and I’ve seen that my workload and structure can get confusing for people.
Ok, I will share with you the very series I was working on right now before I paused to talk to you… (wink)
In 2003 I began contemplating the idea of having a stick figure character as part of my collection, so I sketched a little girl and called her “Audrey”. I liked the way she looked so she stayed right here in the agenda, awaiting her turn to come onto the canvas.
For the past 15 years, I’ve created several parallel narratives that touch on the idea that humanity needs to discover love in order to evolve and become better beings for the sake of the Earth. So as you can imagine the message touched on many serious topics, after having completed the one and a half decade long story “Flor,” I now felt like trying a more philosophical approach with a more naïve and vibrant visual aesthetic. Happier tones than before. The protagonist now is Audrey and she will show us how to build worlds from her imagination! It’s very exciting for me 🙂
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I’d be dead…
Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?
Yes, absolutely! As a spectator, my favorite form of art to enjoy is photography and I particularly enjoy the work of Michael Utz. I love his abstractions in monochrome, with the #AbstractPhotoreality concept I became obsessed with architecture so his pieces are really cool. I also love the melancholic vibe and powerful imagery of Derric Santini‘s work.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
I would say this:
Every person is responsible to forge their own path. You want it? Then get up and go get it, get up, get up, get up and go get it!!! … And remember that Love is the energy of the universe, use it to show your message and tell your story.JuanCarlos rLora