by Miguel Juarez
In June 2020 El Paso News celebrated Pride month by focusing on local LGBTQ artists. We published ten articles devoted to Pride last year. This year, we will continue to explore how creatives dealt with the pandemic and how they and their art making was affected? To gauge how artists fared during the pandemic, we came up with a list of questions which we posed to artists. Related to how artists have fared during the pandemic, on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, County Commissioner David Stout hosted an online meeting to gauge how artists were affected by the pandemic. In his invitation, Commissioner Stout stated: “I am organizing this meeting because I would like to connect with local artists to have a conversation about the pandemic’s impact on our art community and further discuss how funding through the American Rescue Plan might assist our arts community bounce back stronger than ever.” A second meeting is planned.
El Paso Artist Marcos Rey has stated that many people who see his work tell him that his images are spiritual. His subject matter of painting animals connotes the spiritual world. Animal imagery often embody spirit selves. A great example is Rey’s drawing is the “Owl,” as well as the “Sphinx-like” drawing below. The drawing the “Feline” against the warm orange hue offers a calming feel. The abstract painted torsos in his last painting sum up this past year of uncertainty and the gamut of emotions; from sadness to fear; from uncertainty to insecurity; and from loneliness to isolation. Hopefully, we are near the end of those cycles and we can interpret the torsos as a kind of transformation–how some of us are lucky enough to still be here and how the year has transformed our art and our lives for the better. Rey was on the front lines of the pandemic and he put in long hours as part of his work. He said he had difficulty creating art. In the past year, I can imagine what he managed to create brought him solace. One of his early works with four paintings (shown below) I would title “renewal” or as close as we can get to it? Perhaps a return to who we were before the past year?
El Paso News (EPN): How did you and your artwork manage during the Pandemic?
Marcos Rey (MR): During the pandemic I struggled a lot because I am a people person, always on the go, meeting with people always talking art and events then all of a sudden it all had to stop. That was hard for someone like me.
EPN: How were you and your art making were affected by the Pandemic?
MR: I became depressed and even though everyone thinks that artists at least had our painting skills to help us cope with the pandemic, it was just the opposite and many of us couldn’t be creative.
EPN: What do you want to communicate to others about your work?
MR: I like to paint what I feel and many tell me my art is somewhat spiritual, which I like. Many times people request specific artwork which makes it a little harder to paint because of the pressure to please them, therefore I prefer to just paint what I am feeling.
EPN: What do you want to tell potential art buyers and/or supporters about your work?
MR: Remember that art is not just art, it is a part of us. We work on our “babies” for a long time and we grow with our art pieces. Many times its hard to part with our art, you are not just taking an art piece, you are taking a piece of us.
EPN: Where can people see your art work online?
MR: I normally post my artwork on my Facebook page (firstname.lastname@example.org) and on my Instagram page (Instagram@mr.marcosrey). I also tend to post my photography on Instagram.
EPN: How can others support you and your art?
MR: You can support all local artists by attending Last Thursdays El Paso (facebook@lastthursdayselpaso / instagram@lastthursdaysep). We all work hard to make our city a better place to live.
EPN: How are you and your work celebrating Pride?
MR: To celebrate Pride I am hoping to be able to join a local Pride Art show and celebrate with friends.
To reach Marcos Rey you can contact him at:
Last Thursdays El Paso: https://www.facebook.com/LastThursdaysEP
We would like to thank Artist Marcos Rey for answering our questions and sending us samples of his work. If you would like your art profiled, please answer all the questions below. If possible include a short bio and up to five samples of your art to: email@example.com. We will publish your answers and include artistic commentary on your work in celebration of Pride Month.
Here are the questions:
How did you and your art manage during the Pandemic?
How were you and your art making were affected by the Pandemic?
What do you want to communicate to others about your work?
What do you want to tell potential art buyers and/or supporters about your work?
Where can people see your art online?
How can others support you and your art?
How are you and your work celebrating Pride?
If you are interested in attending the next creatives and American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding meeting with Commissioner David Stout, please contact Carlos Martinez at 915-546-2111 or email Carlos at: CarMartinez@epcounty.com
You can also join the American Rescue Plan and Funding for the Arts Facebook group page for updates at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3866107536839758.