About Sixteen Puerto Rican Portraits
Who Am I?
I am a Puerto Rican working artist based in Richmond, California. I have been working full-time as an artist since 2016, selling my paintings, showing and teaching. Before that I supported my painting with other jobs. I grew up and went to college in Puerto Rico, where I studied fine arts. After completing a BFA I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I studied education. But a few years ago, with the support of my wife Sarah, I decided to support myself entirely through art.
I paint in other genres too, but the portraits of Latino immigrants I began painting in 2008 are my best-known work. I’ve always been very interested in painting "regular" people, and in making paintings that portray the resilience and diversity of those who would not be able to commission a formal portrait.
What's The Project About?
I am raising funding to paint sixteen portraits of Puerto Ricans living in the island of Puerto Rico over the course of a six week stay. I feel that more than ever, visibility is important for Puerto Ricans. The fate of our island is being decided by a Fiscal Control Board. This, is the real disaster that preceded hurricane Maria by a couple of years. While there are many economic recovery efforts under way, Puerto Ricans everywhere exist largely outside of the public's consciousness.
The island portraits are half of a show that includes portraits of Puerto Ricans living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area portraits will be completed in my Richmond studio or at people's homes. What will I do after that? I will be showing the portraits at Sánchez Contemporary in Oakland, in July 2019. I do not plan to sell all the paintings because I would like them to travel together and be a catalyst for the discussion of Puerto Rican issues.
How Will You Accomplish This?
I don’t work from photos. My models are live, but I work fast. I believe paintings made with someone posing are fresher and more alive than the portraits I have painted from photos, and I can do a portrait in three or four hours (just look at my video!). My hope is to complete at least 16 portraits measuring 36 x 36 in (91 x 91 cm).
I will be traveling to Puerto Rico this December and stay with friends and relatives. I have contacted them ahead of time and asked them to find sitters that can pose at their home or outdoors. I will travel through the island with my gear until I complete my goal, and I have given myself a deadline of January 13, 2019. I will document my work through frequent updates I will post in a blog that I will share with all donors.
How Much Am I Raising and For What?
Completion of this project will cost approximately $12,000 per my calculations. I am seeking $7500 to pay for transportation, some supplies, payment for the sitters, and the cost of shipping the paintings back to the Bay Area. Anything raised over that will be used to buy floating frames for the show ($60 each). Any other money will be donated to a Puerto Rican non-profit. Please review a detailed project budget in the FAQs section below.
Why Should I Support Your Project?
Your contribution would increase the visibility of a Puerto Ricans everywhere and support the worthy project of a working artist. If you support this project, you will have access to the blog where I will post frequent updates of this project, and you will receive prints or original, small paintings, some done in Puerto Rico. Please check my Rewards page to find out more and thanks for reading!
If you experience any issues while trying to contribute, please email me at email@example.com and I will help you.
Risks and challenges
December and January are good months in Puerto Rico weather-wise, but there's always the possibility I could get sick while there, in which case I will be able to extend my trip. Donors will first learn of any delays on my blog and will also receive individual notification along with a new expected date of completion.
I grew up in the island but things have changed since I left. I plan to limit my activities to what's reasonable and safe, in order to minimize the chances of an accident or theft. If any of these things happen and I cannot meet my obligations, you will receive a timely notification, and I will reimburse my donors before June 1, 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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