From Ecuador to NYC with an un-ending devotion to Animals. Meet the man who is determined to make us take notice of their plight through his paintings.
You have drawn since childhood with a particular passion for animals – how does it feel to achieve such success with your natural talents?
It’s been very gratifying. I grew up drawing but since I’ve studied formally from my bachelors and masters programs it’s wonderful to have been able to achieve what I am doing right now. I’ve worked hard to develop my skill which helps me to project my love for animals and share it with others.
You have described your passion for animals as an obsession – what is it about animals particularly?
My fascination and love for animals has found itself into my paintings, not only because of researching them and seeing how they are but also because of this critical time in history that we have decimated their habitats and populations to enormous extents. Old master paintings were believed to immortalize an image, so in the same tradition I feel by painting these beautiful creatures I can bring awareness to and honor their presence and spirit.
You give your animals humanoid qualities that challenge the viewers to see the world from the animal’s standpoint – tell us more about this:
I want the viewer to be able to connect with the animal. I want them to understand how it is to lose your environment and your home, how it feels to be hunted and tortured, and to make the viewer understand that animals are conscious like humans.
Your themes include: “topics that concern issues of evolutionary change, environmental toxicity, and war.” How powerful is art as a force for real positive change?
I believe art can resonate on a subconscious level. In that sense, I think art has the power to make small changes in consciousness that could slowly lead to larger insights. Someone that follows what I do might just be attracted to my animals at rst, but by following my work I think that my messages might eventually get through to people.
You were born and raised in Quito, Ecuador but moved to New York as a young adult – how do both cultures compare?
In Ecuador, I feel the family bonds are much closer as opposed to New York where you have much more independent people and a lot of professionals. I was also surprised to find how fast-paced New York City is. In Ecuador, the rhythm of life is languid: most of the time people are very late to any occasion. There are so many different types of individuals in New York City versus Ecuador where there aren’t that many people from other cultures.
What are your thoughts about the Ecuadorian creative scene?
To be honest, I don’t know that much since I haven’t been there recently, but, from what I know, it looks like it’s improving. It seems like more galleries are opening and more artists are showing internationally.
You studied at The School of Visual Arts and hold a Masters Degree in fine art from the New York Academy – how did your studies evolve your skill set?
I think my studying in those programs helped me develop my technique extensively in drawing - especially figure drawing. I believe figure drawing was one of the most extensive skills that have really helped me to develop a language of the body, even as it relates to animals.
You exhibit regularly in New York, LA and other US cities – what countries would you like to bring your work to and why?
I would love to be able to bring my work to maybe some places like China or Japan. I think they have a growing art market but from what I understand there is also quite a traffic of exotic animals in those countries. Maybe by exhibiting there, I could bring more awareness about this problem.
What can we all do to help animals?
Loving them, respecting them and their homes, not killing them for sport and understanding that they are fellow spirits with feelings.
How can our international readers purchase your art?
The easiest way is to send a message through my website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about Jean Pierre Arboleda: www.jparboleda.com