Loud, untamed lines, scribbled over a complex but seemingly dull backdrop could easily describe an Erik R. Sosa (news) piece. Beyond the "art-see fart-see" lingo comes the true message of his paintings and maybe, whether he knows it not, himself. An artist in a world of many artists struggles to stand out, make their mark. Erik was rewarded that chance last year when he was honored with Vox/Out’s Emerging Voices of Style+Design Award (full story) and since put himself on the frontline of the Chicago’s art scene. Jan 12th marks another moment in Mr. Sosa’s buzzing career, for one night only he’ll be showcasing his new Art-See Fart-See collection (event details). Recently Erik opened up to me on his new show and what’s next.JB:
What inspired this specific collection of work?ES:
At first, I thought I wanted to concentrate on silhouettes with optical illusions as the background. However, I found myself getting lost in the simplicity of colors and/or lines. Ultimately, The Art-See Fart-See Show collection has become more about the way colors and lines can make a visually stimulating composition. Towards the end of the process, I found myself focusing more on lines to create images and characters that convey a story.JB:
What are some of the people that are influential to you?ES:
I think it is unfair for me to say one person is more influential than another. I am influenced by all types of people all the time. Some influences are very noticeable, while other are subtle and sometimes go unrecognized. People are multi-layered and the influences in our lives, which ultimately shape our being, come in many ways, shapes and forms.
Specifically, when it comes to art, I honestly believe I am influenced by those I don't know. That is why I create such images. The ideology of the unknown is what drives me. Who is out there? What are they like? And, what are they going through? I think this is the direction that I am heading towards.JB:
What were your feelings on winning the Vox Out Award last year?ES:
Remember when Halle Barry won an Oscar, kind of like that but more Mexican and Gay. I have been painting for only four years, so to have won an award and be recognized at such an early stage in my career was a huge surprise. There is so much creative talent in this world, I feel really lucky and honored to be recognized.JB:
To find a moment in time is really difficult. However, I am most proud when a painting is raffled and/or auctioned off at charitable events. To know that my works is helping to raise funds to keep art and healthcare programs running is really humbling. Having been in the field of Development for over 7 years, I think it is our human duty to give back, specifically to those in need.JB:
What’s something besides your art you hold dear to?ES:
My insanity. At times I feel like I am too much for people. This is hard to convey in words, but I am beginning to understand that I am not the norm. I pull ideas and thoughts from left field, without correlation. Some people can go with the flow, others can’t. Maybe it’s ADHD. Maybe it’s because I’m, as other people may say, self absorbed. Maybe it’s because I pretend I don’t care, when I really do and I just want to be accepted.
All I know is that it is who I am, and until I die, will I only look back and think about what I could have done differently.JB:
As they say "art imitates life" in some abstract way is your art influenced by true stories?ES:
Not really. Not true stories that I observe. I create more of longing and aesthetics. Maybe if art imitates life, it mimics my desire to be liked or accepted.JB:
Do you hope to offer anything to the gay community?ES:
The gay community is my home, so I will always be here for anything that is needed. I create to inspire, as I believe inspiration leads to creation. If more people were to create, this world would be a livelier and happier place. Unfortunately, money drives and people work more than they create, so people are suppressed of _expression. My goal is to show that being gay, is freedom of
expression and being. I want to bring dignity and respect to the gay community.JB:
What’s next for you?ES:
Aside form the show on the 12th, I have a couple of things up my sleeve. First, I am co-hosting GGVII House of Art on Feb. 9th, which benefits the Gay Games. Second, I am co-chairing Art Against AIDS on Feb. 16th for Heartland Alliance. Interview by: Justin Boltz
Justin Boltz takes a us through the glamorous world of fashion and style with a unique voice that always proves to be provacative. As a contributor for both Gay Chicago Magazine and ChicagoPride.com, nothing's ever off limits with this youngster columnist.Photo by: Frank Failing, Male Image Photography
Well known in Chicago’s gay community for his passion of photography, Frank Failing has spent years observing and photographing the scenes and faces of gay Chicago, capturing the candid moments of an individual in his own unique perspective.