The What Is Drawing? Project: Featuring Gabriel Villa

What is Drawing?

To complement The What is Painting? Project and further the overall dialogue Neoteric Art introduces The What Is Drawing? Project. The guidelines are the same: I thought it would be intriguing to ask artists this simple yet complex question. This query comes with no ground rules—it’s up to each individual artist to find their own approach and direction.

This project will be an ongoing exploration … let’s see where it takes us.

What Is Drawing?
Featuring Gabriel Villa

The Subject Matter
Provocative subject matter, going back to my formative years has consistently been part of my artistic process. Family, neighborhood, social class and cultural divides pretty much set the tone for the look and content of my studio practice. I grew up in El Paso, TX and on weekends traveled to Ciudad Juarez with family to visit my grandmother on my father’s side and also visit my Uncle on my mother’s side. This geographical, mental and cultural travels contributed to my artistic sensibility and would later contribute to my artistic identity.

I arrived in Chicago in the late 1990’s where observations of my own neighborhood had a profound visual and conceptual impact on the evolution of my work. By 2004 the city of Chicago firmly planted itself as a kind of provocative muse found just outside my artist’s window. Subjects such as Public Housing, Urban surveillance cameras, the marginalized, gang culture, family, and religion all begin to morph and weave it into broader ideas.

The Process
I am drawn to the simplicity and the life style drawing can potentially develop within a person’s life. I am an advocate of the celebration of drawing. Simply stated, I enjoy the transmission that occurs within a person’s psyche when the creative process occurs. I am interested in drawing not only for the sake of communication, but also more importantly for its revelatory properties. I am drawn to works of art that reveal something of a person that otherwise would be mute.

The Why?
My drawings are animated by a powerful ambiguity: on the one hand their identities seem linked to a structure that insists that we are all determined by our environment, and also independent of it. My goal is for my work to reflect and be a part of the discourse on social inequities that exist in our complex society. My work continually questions what determines human value and how this notion connects to the overall monetary and hierarchical value.

Gabriel Villa

Gabriel Villa, Loupe, acrylic, china marker, conte and gesso on paper, Triptych – 32 x 20 inches each, 2016

Gabriel Villa is a Chicago-based professional artist. Villa received his MFA from the University of Delaware and a BFA from Corpus Christi State University-Texas A& M and is attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, MN. Gabriel Villa was born and raised in the El Paso, Texas/ Ciudad Juarez border region and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he is an active member of the arts community. Villa’s teaching practices include Visiting Artist at American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Professor of foundation Painting and Drawing at Triton College, River Grove, IL, Visiting Artist at Stateville Prison, Crest Hill IL, with the Prison Neighborhood & Prison Arts Project and most recently, Foundation Drawing at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL. Villa served from 2005-2011 as Director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art and also served as Co-Curator for the Chicago Kraft Foods Gallery from 2006-2011 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Villa has had numerous national exhibitions and has received numerous awards.

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