I love art. I love the color, the texture, the statements and stories told by artists of all stripe. In fact, if you were to come to my home, you would see different types of art covering my walls. So, when I was at a wedding ceremony recently, I found that I was sitting next to a local artist, and I just had to know more.
Brandon Salgado is a man of many hats. He is a musician, a writer and an artist that is going to have a show of his pop art collection this coming Saturday.
“My art is very colorful stuff,” says Brandon. “A lot of faces you might recognize, a lot of cool stuff.”
His work is just that, colorful. It’s Popart in the spirit of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. Maybe more Lichtenstein.
But, why Popart? I may be wrong, and I often am, but it’s not something you see every day. Well, at least not in El Paso.
“I chose Popart because it wasn’t fine art,” says Brandon. “Popart, you still get the features of your subject, but it’s almost cartoon-like. I’ve always thought it to be interesting.”
Popart has a history that began in Britain, in the mid 50’s. It reached the American shores by the late 50’s and reached its critical peak in the 60’s. Popart is a movement that began as a revolt against the accepted approaches to art, culture and traditional views on just what art should be.
Richard Hamilton, a pop artist himself, listed what he thought as the characteristics of what pop art is in a letter he wrote to Peter and Alison Smithson in 1957 as:
“Pop art is: popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business.”
Brandon, I think, is trying to recapture some of this, both in his art and his chosen subjects. Each painting is someone famous: a singer, an actress.
His subjects, by nature, are, for the most part, have short-lived carriers. Their music is mass produced, aimed at a younger audience. Their videos, their shows are sexy and glamorous. In most cases, the career of a singer or actress is transient. All of this mentioned by Richard Hamilton.
These paintings, cartoonish as they may seem to some, capture a fleeting view of one who is famous, one who burns the candle at both ends, and then fades to a life of concert tours at free venues in hopes of retaining some of their past glory. (Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now)
“I tried to follow Warhol,” says Brandon. “I feel like we’ve gone away from the style, the nature of painting of Warhol.”
Brandon says that there are many different styles and schools of pop art, but it has moved away from its genesis. It’s become more commercial, in a way.
“I hope to capture the spirit,” says Brandon, “of Warhol. The way he painted his subjects.”
El Paso is home to artists of all kinds. We have musicians, writers, sculptors, and painters. We should make the time to support as many of them as we can.
i-co-nog-a-phy, Brandon’s show, is happening this Saturday, at Power at the Pass located at 1931 Myrtle Avenue. Doors open at 8 pm.
His art will be on offer, and there will be musical performances by up and coming local artists. I know I’ll be there, will you?