Artist Spotlight: Hector de Gregorio
Hector De Gregorio's portraits started popping up in the Facebook feed and the Tumblr dashboard like missives from a new ecstatic church, but a church with all the big-time emotions of Catholicism and none of the finger-wagging restraints. So we sought out his work. We like no restraints.
Working in a layered and time-consuming series of mediums to create his portraits, the process of planning and the creating becomes a works of art in itself. Research, costume design, photography, painting, collage, and digital enhancement all create operatic works of ecstatic moments.
The London artist has exhibited widely, with shows in London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Miami, and Chicago.
We asked Hector de Gregorio to describe his work and process:
I always find it rather difficult to describe my own work because it combines a barrage of styles both technically and stylistically. Photography, painting, digital imaging, and craft are riddled together to produce images the are at once approachable and cryptic, alluring and unsettling, antique and contemporary.
The inspiration feeds from visual popular languages such as medieval market storytellers, tarot cards, illustration, cartoon strips, devotional art, or advertising — for they contain a synthesis of narrative and visual impact.
I like to create a visually simple and attractive composition to draw the viewer in at first glance and then introduce a character or narrative. The characters I present are embodiments of their own mythology, baring the attributes or immersed in a fragment of their own story. They are, so to speak, "mythological portraits" of the sitter, as the work is — sometimes literally — tailored to the person am working with. I also make the costumes for the image when required, for they are visualizations of aspects of the sitters themselves that get represented but NOT exposed.
I was raised in a family of tailors and often babysat in a nunnery. Being a custodian of the relics and "wardrobe" (antique handmade attire) for the saints' sculptures, I soon picked up a sense of awe and fetish towards theater, costume, and mythology. I immersed myself in an imaginary world, both real and fantastical.
This bewildering and exquisite combination of materially representing abstract expressions of the "soul" led me to explore the idea of mythological experience as a real thing, a way to represent figuratively abstract but felt-experienced concepts like impermanence, eternity, love's energy, the space behind a mask…
See more of his work on his Facebook page.
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