Leo Espinosa
on painting
Visitations / JWT Mural
These are some images of a mural commissioned by J Walter Thompson and from the show Visitaciones (Visitations), my most recent collaboration with Jim Pluk. Both projects were created during my last trip to Colombia and although both involved time constrains and painting on large formats, the approach was very different for each; The first one was much more thought out and visually quite clear in my head before I started and the second one spontaneous and shaped by our two styles and way of working mixed together.

Top Photo: Alberto Morales


My friend Jim Plukart and I are having a small show this coming Saturday down in Bogotá, Colombia. All the artwork will be created during the day but we'll save our best energy to do some live painting during the opening. I've enjoyed collaborating with Jim in the past but it has always been sending files back and forth through e-mail and I can't wait to see what we can come up with playing with real paint and brushes.

Mi amigo Jim Plukart y yo tendremos una pequeña muestra este sábado en Bogotá. Todas las piezas serán creadas durante el día pero reservaremos la mejor energía para pintar durante la inauguración. Siempre he disfrutado las colaboraciones que hemos hecho vía e-mail con él pero me inquieta saber qué saldrá de un trabajo hecho con pintura y pinceles de verdad.  

Visitaciones / Espinosa + Plukart / Expo + Pintura en Vivo. Sábado Octubre 9 de 2010 / 7:30 p.m. Espacio 101- Calle 20 # 5- 18 (101) Bogotá, Colombia.
Back from Buenos Aires
Well, kind of. It happens every time I go back to South America, my body returns first and my heart takes a liiiittle longer... with really good reasons for that this time! The trip to Buenos Aires was just a fantastic experience filled with old friends, new friends, art, wine and the magic of discovering a city that breeds beauty and nostalgia.

My gallery show, Gitango, easily exceeded any expectations I had. I put some good hours preparing the artwork here in my studio and about a week setting up the show down there with the help of a terrific group of talented friends. There were long dinners and great conversations and laughs woven in between painting and building.

Here are a few pics of the pieces I created for the exhibit, mostly drawings and acrylic on paper, masonite, old fabric and canvas. Sorry for the titles in Spanish but they're a little tricky to translate.

Many thanks to Juli, Ramiro and DOMA collective, Orilo, Mariano, Julian and especially Matias, none of this would have been possible without your priceless help and kindness.
Pictured above, the making of 75 hand-crafted humming birds that are still "flying free" all over Gallery Turbo. (photo by Adriana Mosquera)
Amante flameante + Danza que no
Danza que no (detail)
Amante flameante (detail)
Si pudiesemos permanecer
Vendrá + Desde lo absoluto
Refugio + Llego,Parto + Estancia
Casiopea atemporal
Fosforesciento + Retrato de una vez
Persuación (this one's a funky mix of charcoal, acrylic, watercolors and film)
Entre más cerca (tryptic)
Fuimos todos (limited edition silkscreen)
Opening Sale! Think Argentinian Pesos :)
One of the walls inside Turbo. Between the humming birds, their shadows and the trees Matias helped me painting, I was able to create the mood I wanted. Actually, even more dramatic than I thought.
The fireflies looked quite real at night!
The translucent layered wings of the humming birds created a nice movement effect. It kind of looked like inside the gallery time had stopped.
Beautiful and talented Argentinas: Fenanda Cohen, Laura Varsky and Juliana Pedemonte.
Nate Williams was in the house! Glad you and Claudia made it, Nate :)
Silkscreen live was fun! People brought tees, jackets, boards and paper to get printed. Matias showed his chops!
Our very tough curator payed us a visit to the space to see if everything was in order. Ramiro, cutest baby south of the Equator!
At the beginning it wasn't so easy, but after a couple of hours climbing up and down the scaffolding I was in heaven!
See a whole set of the making of the show
Buenos Aires is full of great characters always willing to have a conversation. I spent some time with this eloquent gentleman who told me about his bicycle-knife-sharping-machine.
See a whole set of my photos of Buenos Aires
En el aire
I'll be heading down to Argentina in a couple of weeks for a solo show I'm having at Galería Turbo.

All the pieces, mostly drawings, small paintings and a few three dimensional objects were inspired by a conversation I had with fellow Dragweroid Robert Saunders during a party, in which he described to me the gypsy burial ritual of burning the caravan of the person who dies (Rob, plays Gypsy Jazz and knows a lot about the subject).
That simple image of flames over the traces of one's existence sent me straight to the sketchbook and I did tons of doodles related to freedom and detachment: Freedom from pain, freedom from feeling stuck in the same place, freedom from loneliness, freedom from fear of tomorrow, freedom from the material and the unnecessary. To my surprise, all of them looked more like a celebration or a moment of meditation rather than tragedy or loss.
In an effort to tame the vector monsters that still makes me do things too tight, I'm allowing more improvisation here and there, getting messy with colors and shapes as I render the finals. Not easy though, but I'm happy with the results I'm getting.

Before I leave I'll post pictures of the process, sketches and a little more about the theme but for now this is the end of the midnight break, back to Piazzolla and work. I still have a lot to finish...
I'm in the midst of preparing a gallery show and wanted to share a little portion of one of the pieces that has me really excited. This little humming bird (colibrí in Spanish) is one of a swarm of more than a hundred that will be adding to the mood of the space. I cannot give away the whole idea simply because I'm not sure (yet) if the swarm will create the effect I'm looking for; I'll certainly post pictures of the results!

The show will take place at Gallery Turbo in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the month of May. Stay tuned for more details.
Good Wood
AND... a little too late to announce the Bidding for Good Wood exhibit it just took place in Philly this weekend but not to late to show this skateboard deck I painted for the event. The third on a series of shows, Bidding for Good Wood silent auction benefits the organization Stay True.

The artistic challenge for me was to convey the same kind of mood I've been achieving in my sketches (pencil plus digital) while working with acrylics and a limited pallet.
Many thanks to Andrew Davis for inviting me to participate :4)

Sorry all for the pics. Not the best quality, I know.

Natural Resources
Humans Are Yummy and Have Great Taste (In Hats) is my collaboration for Natural Resources, a traveling custom toy show that will kick off in Cleveland next month. This is the second time I've been invited to customize Mike Burnett's beautiful wooden toys and I'm really happy with the way it came out. I improvised a lot this time and allowed the figure to pretty much tell me what it wanted me to turn it into.
I made changes to the original Joe Schmoe platform I received (pictured on the upper right) by doing some basic wood cutting sans-power tools :)  A lot of sanding and playing with cut out paper to decide on the final expression made the process very quiet and almost zen like. ommm....

Thanks to Klim and Steve from Bigshot. You guys are doing some terrific toys lately!
Here's some more info about the show:

More than 40 artists have customized Mike Burnett's "Neighborwood" and brand-new  "Average Joe Schmoe" wooden DIY figures for a traveling exhibit that will open Friday, November 6th in the Shoparooni Annex Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. The exhibit will run from November 6th, 2009, until December 5th, 2009.
The artist list includes: Jeremiah Ketner, Chris Ryniak, Brian Morris, Ryan Bubnis, Johnny Yanok, Amanda Spayd, Leo Espinosa, Steak Mountain, Brian Flynn (Super 7), Martin Ontiveros, Le Merde, Chris Gliebe, Sean Mahan, Jason Limon, MAD, Hydro74, 64 Colors, Mark Nagata, Paul Escolar, Ken Keirns, Mr. Shane Jessup, and many more!!!

The opening reception will be held Friday, November 6th from 7 pm until 11 pm. Some artists will be in attendance.

dance me to the end of love
killing Mister Pixel UPDATED!

This is the beginning of "The Poet", a piece I'm working on with the whole idea of going back to basics and embracing limitations: no computer involved and a two color pallet to start with, but also with the biggest limitation of all, using a new technique while learning printmaking. It is a very interesting collaboration we are doing with some local artists and illustrators, including Rob Dunlavey, Richard Goldberg, Suzy Pilgrim Waters, Alan Witschonke, Raul Gonzalez, Annie Silverman and Julia Talcot, who is kindly playing the role of teacher and host at her studio.
For a lot of artist this is piece of cake, but for a person who has become so dependent on the computer, it feels very strange and a little intimidating to think about working without pixels, magic blurs and commandZ; At the same time dusting off my brushes, inking drawings and carving on wood while listening to Tom Waits singing Chocolate Jesus feels really, really good :4)
I'll be posting new images of the process and hopefully you'll see the group's final result in a couple of months.
Peace Out, kids.
I just added a new pic of something that was generated from this morning's exchange of ideas with Zina. I think I just ran into a happy accident and I was able to duplicate the lapel/mountain/balloon effect inside his beard. He became kind of transluscent... Agggghhhh, I'm itching to ink the plates!!!!
Plukart+Espinosa Take2
One more experiment done with Plukart. This time I started it and he finished it up. Collaborations this loose and fast are turning into a great way to keep the pencil and the brain sharp. Draw!
Recollect-Dead Print
2008 Studio Espinosa

The Dead dreams of you / The Dead sings to you / The Dead rocks you /
The Dead is in love with your heart

La Muerte te sueña / La Muerte te canta / la Muerte te arrulla /
La Muerte está enamorada de tu corazón

This is a print I just finished for the Recollect-Dead Custom Vans show, to go along with the sneakers.I wish I could come up to Detroit for the opening party. Hey, Mr Kilpatrick, if you are going please take a lot of pictures!

Sketchel Series 2, Now Open!

The second series of the one-of-a-kind Sketchel bags is now open.
Scroll down here to find, (or perhaps buy) my bag :*)
Many thanks to Jeremyville for the invitation to participate.

Obama T-Shirt Take 2

Last night we had a big fundraising event at the New England Gallery of Latin American Arts to support Barack Obama. I donated a tee shirt design but I'm also going to do some volunteer work too because there's NO WAY we're going to miss this opportunity! Next week we'll be knocking door to door in New Hampshire just to be sure people are registered and voting for the right candidate.
Latinos for Obama, baby!

Raul Gonzalez and Leo Espinosa say "SI" to change!
Actually, that particular face expression means "SI, SI, SI, SI!" south of the border :+)

People from the Obama campaign were there to support the event
(and to enjoy the sangria and the empanadas)

Pencils from Limbo
Dos damas capitalinas / Two ladies from the Capital (sold)
 It has taken me a few days to post about the opening of Limbo (my first solo show) because besides some serious sleep I needed to catch up with, I had to devote some time to reflect and process the whole experience. One of the most satisfying things I created for the show was a series of color pencils that were placed in a very small room adjacent to the main gallery. Since they had a different feel and texture from the rest of the pieces, I was very curious to hear people's feedback and what I heard was quite inspiring, thoughtful and supportive. Here's the whole series of drawings and a new gallery with some pics of the Making of, The Opening and The Afterparty of Limbo.
Las cosas que me traen de vuelta / The things that bring me back (sold)
A veces / Sometimes
Imposible de cambiar / Impossible to change (sold)
Subsueo / Subdream (sold)
Distancia / Distance
El Super
Unas cuantas palabras / A few words
Meu leozinho / My litte lion
Save the Date

Hola kids! I'm having my first solo show in September here in Boston and I really hope many of you can make it, if not to the opening on September 12th, at least to the exhibit, which will be up until November 30th. I've received confirmation that the great Hanoch Piven will be coming from Barcelona and I'm thrilled!
I'm also very happy that  The New England Gallery of Latin Arts is located in the heart of East Boston (the barrio latino of Beantown) because that creates perfect synergy with the content and meaning of the show.
I hope to see you there.

About LIMBO:

Through a variety of mediums, including prints, paintings and sculpture, I am considering the concept of Limbo as a state of mind affected by social and geographical events.  These works focus on change and all that it encompasses: new directions, waiting, feelings of being uprooted and in limbo between two worlds, the passage of time, and a sequence of coincidences that I experienced and am still experiencing.  As an immigrant from Latin America who has lived in a different society and culture for many years now, I have come to accept this state of mind as a new country; one without a physical form but a psychological, more complex one; one that provides identity.  Limbo is a place that is not really a place; it is an intermediate idea that is at once temporary and permanent, a transitional and imaginary moment.

Leo Espinosa
Recent Articles

Sketchattack! (68)

Sketch-o-rama (74)

Euro Moto&Scooters (12)
Otis + Rae