If you’re visiting Marvista Park this weekend, you might notice something a little different about the restroom building – there is some color and figures popping out of the wall!
The Normandy Park Arts Commission, in conjunction with the Parks Commission and Public Works, have sponsored Artist Xavier Lopez Jr. to get our very first piece of Public Art!
“I am extremely proud to be able to bring color and life to the community, and hope that this is just the first of many public art pieces that we start seeing around town,” Amber Raven told The Normandy Park Blog.
Amber recently had the chance to talk with Xavier about his life as an artist, his influences, and where he is going with the piece at Marvista:
A.R.: When did you first realize that art spoke to you?
X.L.: “When I was a small kid, I remember watching my father move paint around a canvas and even moreso, I remember my dad painting these huge images–religious scenes, images of Mexican workers, roosters on walls as people looked on. I remember always looking up–as he stood atop a ladder and he looked like a conductor. In fact, he was more of a conduit than a conductor.”
A.R.: Your dad’s influence as an artist is pretty strong, do you have other experiences that shaped your artwork?
X.L.: Taking images from his mind and placing them on whatever surface he found before him. Its an image that sticks with you. An image that can generate a fate that continues throughout a persons life. I hate and rebel against the idea that I could be so simple–that my life’s obsessions could be generated from such specific events–but I imagine that it is like chaos theory–the butterfly wings–little moments that fan out and generate superbig waves of possibility. Imagine it. Small, forgettable moments that come together to create a person. The good and the bad.
A.R.: Your perception… your influences… your experiences, everything has come together to form this kind of art mutant! I can see glimpses of my own childhood in your work, similar influences.
X.R.: I think that artists take this experience of the universe and remake it in their image. We do act as a conduit for our experiences–all of them and make something new out them.
A.R.: What was your moment of clarity, when you embraced art as your muse? Or as I like to call it, your Xanadu moment?
X.L.: When I was an undergraduate at the University of Nevada-Reno, I was taking a few art classes, but my focus was on Poli-Sci. You see, my parents always wanted a lawyer in the family and so I was plugging away taking all of those classes and getting into all sorts of trouble, because my heart just wasn’t in it. Then one day, the woman who would one day become my wife for thirteen years–took me aside and said to me, “You have a decision to make. This pre-law, it isn’t making you happy. You need to decide whether you are going to be an artist or a lawyer.” After about a day of turmoil, the answer was obvious and I have never looked back, since then. After that, I went to grad school at UCDavis, have shown artwork in New York, San Francisco, Bordeaux, London and here in good old Seattle.
A.R.: Tell me about your muals!
X.L.: Murals are special for me–there’s something about painting that big, something that is truly freeing, exhilerating–but no, I do sculpture, painting, murals, writing and performance art. I have never believed in the purity of materials–but rather the purity of ideas.
A.R.: How about your mural that you have planned for Normandy Park?
X.L.: Something colorful–yes, that is for sure! But also something very accessible, innocent and which celebrates life! I have been looking at the work of Richard Scarry and I will be doing a kind of homage to his work! I did a preliminary sketch for the mural and it will expand on that–but at present the final piece exists only in my mind!
A.R.: Do you ever stop going?!!? It seems like you are always working on something awesome!
X.L.: Do, I ever stop going? Heck no! This is what I love–this is my reason for being on this planet, everything else could be falling apart, but this, this keeps me going! I try to have several projects going at any time–this year I will have a book, this mural, be in several magazines–including Studio Visit Magazine–we are working with the Seattle Magazine to bring you the next Xavier and Ryan Henry Ward collaboration, I have several performance art pieces that I am working on, live painting and of course several shows throught the West.
A.R.: I’m a firm believer that cool things happen because people champion them. You are a champion of the arts and I am proud to be working with you on this project.
X.L.: Yes, I really feel very lucky to have met you and I hope that this is just the beginning of many, many projects and adventures between the two of us and also with Normandy Park!
You can read more about Xavier Lopez Jr at his webpage at http://www.xavierlopezjr.blogspot.com/
If you are interested in seeing Xavier paint in person, he is scheduled to be at Marvista this Saturday through Monday, and will be happy to chat with you about his work!