Armando Sebastian

Marco Saucedo, derecha, señala un detalle en la pintura "Boys in the Garden" de Armando Sebastian durante el show de arte "Maricon" en el Oak Cliff Cultural Center, el viernes 4 de mayo de 2018. Foto: Brandon Wade / especial para Al Día.


By Jenny Manrique 


The androgynous figure combs her long black hair that surrounds her entire torso. The sentences written around the hair says how much he loves himself in all his forms. Armando Sebastian was inspired by Frida Kahlo's 'Self Portrait with Short Hair', which the renowned Mexican artist painted shortly after divorcing her infidel husband, the artist Diego Rivera. Kahlo is dressed in a man's shirt, shoes and a large suit and at the top of the painting there are lyrics of a Mexican folk song that says "Look, if I wanted you it was because of your hair, Now that you're bald, I do not like you". "I never let my hair grow until two years ago. I always cut everything, "says Sebastian, originally from Monterrey and resides in Dallas since 2004." I thought about making a painting where I would represent myself and do the opposite of Frida: quote that I like my long hair and that I love myself very much. It is a small tribute to Frida and me, "adds the artist whom, in addition to Kahlo, has been inspired by works by Remedios Varo, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dalí. His pieces are an unusual mixture of religious images, bright colors rooted in Mexican folk art, Japanese manga and 18th century art. He says he paints biographical moments and memories of his childhood and adolescence and that he is also inspired by icons of the literature and music. His works have also been exhibited in Dallas, Los Angeles and Tyler, Texas. In July he will be in New York. "The word Maricón is very strong for me because its meaning growing in Mexico is totally opposed to what we want to do here today, which is to bring awareness to the community and celebrate who we are" added Sebastian


Por Jenny Manrique


La figura andrógina peina su larga cabellera negra que rodea todo su torso. Las frases escritas alrededor del pelo dicen cuánto se quiere en todas sus formas. Armando Sebastian se inspiró en el ‘Autorretrato con pelo corto’ de Frida Kahlo, que la renombrada artista mexicana pintó poco después de divorciarse de su infiel esposo, el artista Diego Rivera. Kahlo está vestida con una camisa de hombre, zapatos y un traje de gran tamaño y en la parte superior de la pintura hay letras de una canción folklórica mexicana que dice “Mira que si te quise fue por tu pelo, Ahora que estás pelona, ya no te quiero”.

“Yo nunca dejé mi cabello crecer hasta hace dos años. Siempre me lo cortaba todo”, cuenta Sebastian, originario de Monterrey y residente de Dallas desde el 2004. “Pensé en hacer un cuadro donde yo me represente y hacer lo opuesto a Frida: decir que me gusta mi cabello largo y que ahora me quiero más. Es un pequeño homenaje a Frida y a mí”, añade el artista quien además de Kahlo se ha inspirado en obras Remedios Varo, Marc Chagall y Salvador Dalí.

Sus piezas son una mezcla inusual de imágenes religiosas, colores brillantes arraigados en el arte folklórico mexicano, manga japonés y arte del siglo 18. Dice que le pinta a momentos biográficos y recuerdos de su infancia y adolescencia y que se inspira también en íconos de la literatura y la música. Sus obras también han sido expuestas en Los Angeles y Tyler, Texas. En julio estará en Nueva York.

“La palabra Maricón es muy fuerte para mí porque su significado creciendo en México es totalmente opuesto a lo que hoy queremos hacer aquí, que es brindar conciencia a la comunidad y celebrar quienes somos” agregó Sebastian.

Boys in the Garden  oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

By Marina Shterenberg


In his new series "The Garden of good and Evil " Armando Sebastian brings together the depth of the intimate and the vastness of the divine.  With the use of allegory he is able to communicate complex ideas with means that are comprehensible and striking to the viewer.  Rooted in autobiographical details, Sebastian takes us into the atmosphere of human pain and vulnerability reminiscent of the ex-voto paintings.  The seemingly naive quality in his technique introduces the language of abstraction and we are able to connect the movement of the stars to the beating of a bleeding heart. 


Perhaps the works can most closely identify with the genre of magical realism.  Sebastian’s child-like fascination with the folds of cloth, texture of insect wings, wallpaper stains, or color of bird feathers in an enigmatic way lead us to explore questions of identity and gender.


One consistent element in Sebastian’s work is the gaze - confrontational wide open eyes, commanding our full presence with which to enter each painting’s  carefully constructed world.  As if reflecting in a mirror our own innocence and mystery, the eyes invite us to feel desire, uncertainty, tenderness, grace. While each detail is rendered with great devotion, the world that we find ourselves in is more similar to the incongruent world of the surrealists.  Ribbons become highways to heavens, slender bodies growing out of land masses, rooms transformed into tropical gardens, rips in a backdrop opening into gallaxies. 


There is a quietness about the paintings, they contain everything that was said and left unsaid at the same time.   In this boundless space, the feminine and the masculine meet in their naked humbleness.  This is a world of innocence before the ‘word’ was created, a coexistence of multiple truths.


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