It is always interesting to go into the studio space of a Street Artist to see how their big public practice translates to their “fine art” commercial work. Here we have new works from a figurative painter and portrait maker Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, who is preparing pieces for his upcoming “Fragments” series.
He says that the haunting and beckoning faces are painted upon textured surfaces that are at least 150 years old. How, exactly? “I have perfected a process that allows me to remove old interior wall paint surfaces from abandoned buildings to use as my canvases,” he says. The fragile cracked and flaking surfaces are stabilized and made whole so the new works can actually have an archival quality.
One gazes at these beauties and considers the axiom, “beauty is only skin deep”, meaning that a pleasing appearance is not a guide to character. Here, Rodriguez-Gerada appears to adding character with old skin.
You may think of them as architectural skin grafts newly preserved, or some form of urban exfoliation. Seeing the process at play, you may also be reminded of Italian preservationists “skinning” the first few centimeters of a façade to remove a BLU piece in Bologna – later hung in a museum.
“While most walls surfaces touched by a restoration technique have some kind of tangible historic importance – frescos or murals, for example,” he says.
“I am giving importance to these commonplace textures for the intangible memory that they possess and the passage of time that they portray.” These fragments of memory and time are now merged with new spirit, enabling them to travel further into the future.