Inkerviews features the work of tattoo artists and collectors, as well as fine artists, in a series of interviews. With an exciting lineup already in place and endless more to come, I hope you will check back often to read about these incredible people and enjoy their visually stunning talents.
I was lucky enough to meet Raul Pizarro many years ago online and we hit it off immediately. He was so kind and intelligent and even through emails, made me laugh and smile with his wit and enchanting demeanor. Imagine my delight when I spied his amazing paintings and artwork and realized that not only was Raul an impressive person, but he was an incredible artist as well.
Raul really encompasses what it means to live life to the fullest. His artwork is so powerful and thought-provoking. He paints with a passion that you can feel when you view his pieces. In person, he is every bit as charming and delightful as you would imagine such a creative man would be.
Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of three, Raul has never let it stop him. He immersed himself in art at an early age and created a world of beauty and joy. Though his muscles are weakened by MD, Raul is absolutely one of the strongest people I have ever met. His positive attitude is infectious and one that nearly anyone could stand to take lessons from when viewing life and the best way to live a fulfilling one.
I am proud to call Raul a friend and treasure all that he has brought to my life. His art inspires me, his kindness warms my heart, his cleverness and wit makes me smile, and his keen perception of the world motivates me.
I hope you enjoy taking a stroll through the World of Raul Pizarro. Once you do, you will never be the same.
**Be sure to watch this moving video by Sergio Bastidas about Raul and you will see exactly what I mean.
I know that art has always been very important in your life, even as a young boy. Can you tell us how you were introduced to art and why it resonated with you so deeply?
Art was my first English translator. My parents moved back to the states when I was about two. Growing up they insisted on Spanish being the primary language spoken at home, which was great in helping the Pizarro kids learn Spanish fluently, however, starting school with only Spanish speaking skills wasn't so easy.
I can remember sitting in preschool staring at the teachers mouth wondering what all of the weird words coming out of her mouth meant. There were flash cards with colors and numbers, which although very pretty in form and hue, their educational factor was completely lost on me. My teacher saw this right away and pulled me aside, gave me some crayons and paper and so began my escapism, via the great ship that is Art, where I was the only kid aboard. That ship temporarily anchored once I learned enough English.
I escaped back into art once I was pushed back onto it by the other kids, who reminded me that I was different because I ran weird, couldn't kick the ball hard enough and because I wanted to draw girls with three legs.
Art in a sense has been my mental hermit cave, a place where I can be alone to create the world that I've experienced. Art never categorized, judged or pressured me.
When you were small, did you envision yourself growing up and becoming an artist for a living?
Growing up, I wanted to be a soap opera star or a pop star. I wanted back up dancers, big hair and sequins everywhere. The acquisition of magical powers was also on my list of wants.
I didn't envision myself living as an artist until I was in my late teens. Once I graduated, I tried working in an office, only to realize I couldn't stand answering phones, pretending to like rude people, faking laughter when presented with really lame jokes, and I definitely didn't like the idea of having people steal my lunch from the fridge.
I continued college for a few more years but only took one art class, thinking I would love it since I painted all the time at home. The professor was awful. He picked on his students and cried once while he was critiquing my work, saying I was much too emotional in my work. Going as far as throwing one of my paintings out of the classroom into the bushes.
At first I was saddened that my work made my teacher cry and slightly crazy until I realized that art isn't bad when it causes a reaction. Needless to say, that was my first and last art class, however I wasn't done with art. It started garnishing attention in the following years from collectors and galleries.
When you sit down to create, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I'm inspired by a everything from social situations to dreams, and many times questions that I've harbored for years. The classification of what is normal and deformed, along with the ideas of what our values should be.
I love how diverse your work is. There are many different genres that you are so accomplished within. What is your favorite type of piece to paint?
I love working with all of them, but like a parent, each piece is loved for different reasons. Some pieces are physically fulfilling in their ability to release tension and astringent religious cargo I no longer care to lug around. Other pieces are loved because they become something new; sometimes greater than what I'd initially planned. Being free to be free in being both created and creator is the greatest gift art has given me.
Is any of your work auto-biographical or based on people that you know?
A few of my pieces are autobiographical. I'm not one to be bullied by others or my past and my work has been my way of punching back. Paintings like Real Toys Wear Lipstick, Concrete Baptism and Lilith have been pages I've taken out of my secret journal. Each an issue that was resolved and no longer feared, eventually transforming itself from a trauma into a strength.
You are one of the most kind, thoughtful, amazing and inspirational people I have ever met. It's no wonder that everyone who knows you adores you. How do you maintain such a positive attitude and passion for life?
I'm tempted to credit coffee, but the truth of the matter is I'm genuinely a happy person. I'm fine with the body I have - emaciated, weaker by the day as it may be… it is very much my body. I'm happy to have the life I have where I'm currently still able to paint and move my arms to reach for brushes, canvases, and caffeine.
All of these things have changed and will continue to change. As I see it, I can either sit and feel sorry for myself or I can create, live, fornicate, overeat and laugh. I choose the latter.
What shows did you participate in this year and do you have any upcoming shows?
I have participated in a lot of shows this year. Many group shows, a few solo shows, and even some festivals here and there. There is a show this weekend in Whittier. There will be many, many more next year if all goes well. They are each posted in the events section on my webpage.
A reminder to those who do visit one of the shows I happen to be at, an instant pass into my awesome pal circle can be achieved by bringing booze or cupcakes.
Where can one purchase your paintings?
They can be purchased through the various galleries they're exhibited at or simply by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to visit www.RaulPizarro.com to see more of his amazing work and check his calendar to catch an upcoming gallery show.
Last updated on December 14, 2009 by Jinxi Boo