Hello everyone. This week’s artist conversation was with La Rosa.
Artist: La Rosa
Exhibition: La Rosa
Media: Spray Paints, Photographs, Acrylics
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi Gallery
Elijah Yee displayed his artwork in the Dutzi Gallery during this week’s Artist Interview. Fortunately enough for me, he happens to be my roommate. I have had the joy of watching young La Rosa blossom into a fully-fledged sparrow (his spirit animal, peep his emblem) throughout our college journey. He is a third year art major, but he just recently changed his major to align with a B.A. in Studio Art. He used to be a fashion merchandise major, but decided it was not his true passion. Eli (I fondly call him Elijah just like his mother does), makes his wonderful art pieces that were up for display in the Dutzi Gallery on my living room coffee table and futon. Aside from art, he also enjoys getting tattoos, making coffee, and being a radical man-hipster-person. He has begun getting more exposure through art galleries. This week he is displaying his art at CSULB as well as interviewing for the Daily 49er.
La Rosa’s artwork consists of many things. Stepping into his gallery for the first time, one thing is for sure. There are no clean lines in sight. I do not wish to call him a sloppy artist, but I believe that his style of spray painting and other mediums allow a more personal feel than traditional artwork does. One of the walls of his exhibit contained photos. These photos were not all on the standard photo size, batch printed at Costco or Kinko’s. The photos all have something different about them. For example, the photo paper ranges in size and shape. There are some Polaroid and film pictures mixed into the bunch as well. Looking at the content of the pictures, you can see that each picture is not clear cut. Some things are out of focus, or overexposed which make one look deeper into the picture. To add to the experience, he has smeared, speckled, and splattered paint onto each picture, obscuring details that could take away focus from a certain area. His other pieces have obvious spray painting with fuzzy edged stencil work. The prominent colors in his artwork are warm and inviting. His work also contains painted glossy white picture frames and three dimensional features.
La Rosa aims to portray a “street” style of art, as he calls it. He is heavily influenced by romance. Although this is not very concise language, I imagine that he wants the art to draw emotions from the viewers. This was evident by the throngs of tear bearing individuals inside of his gallery. Although La Rosa claims that the art is inspired by romance, I can also sense a dose of unrest and angst in his pieces. Be it splattered paint, smashed and burned cassettes, and torn canvas, I attribute a portion of this style to the moment he started art. It all starts with a break up. I will not go into the details here, but I think that combining angry connotations of tearing, burning, and smashing with the personal feel that his spray paint “street art” provokes, ultimately culminate into a unique feeling that one can only associate with a break up gone bad. To add to my theory, his art also contains three dimensional detail. Some smears have texture. Other things like a smashed cassette add more feeling to the paintings.
Synthesis/ My Experience
I personally would not paint like Eli, Elijah, La Rosa, etc. However, he makes his unique style work well for him. I believe that the glossy white frames with spray paint on them should be left alone, they are beautiful frames. But his style gives him an aspect that lets him stand out. I have always enjoyed creating art pieces. However, I do not have the “street” touch that Elijah possesses. I am used to drawings being set onto a piece of canvas or paper, a more traditional style. It is very eye opening to see an artist like La Rosa have a fresh prospective on art and not fear what others will think of his additions to the practice. Because I have Elijah as a roommate, I have always had a tainted prospective of his art. I see his process, and cannot see the finished piece with the same eyes that I would have had if it was my first time viewing his art. However, I still think that his artwork is pushing boundaries because he is constantly showing it off and getting complimented on it. Congratulations Eli!