By Julie Pendray
IDYLLWILD, Calif. — If ever there was a lesson in multiple vantage points or realities, it’s Rigo Rivas’s paintings. What appears to be a woman dreaming, with her arm thrown back over her long tresses becomes a man working with a pitchfork in a field of wheat. Just when you think you have the picture of “The Dream” figured out, it becomes an entirely different scene before your eyes. Then as you walk away, a third reality appears on the canvas.
Where do his ideas come from?
Rivas is exhibiting at a new gallery space at Idyllwild’s recently renovated Sky Island Natural Food Store until June 1.
This week, Rivas, a Hemet resident, talked to me about his work.
“I find myself always motivated to bring out new ideas constantly circling in my head,” he told me. “Finishing a new piece excites me.”
“Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Picasso have inspired me,” he confirmed. “Dali and Picasso especially share a cultural connection with me as their works depict the festivals, architecture and scenery I am quite familiar with since I was young in El Salvador. They motivated me to tell my own stories through my art of the strong Spanish culture in Central America.”
He said he generally tries not to classify his work by any one discipline.
“I would rather allow the viewer to create their own assessment and evaluate how the piece affects them. However, if I had to say, I think I scratch the boundaries of surrealism, romantics, and even cubism; a little bit of several principles, but never solely one.”
Rivas said he doesn’t have a set theme in mind when he starts a painting.
“Through composition I try to convey the emotion and feeling that is wrapped around the subject in my memories. One thing that is especially intended is when someone views the painting, they are led around the composition so they are able to examine the details throughout.”
He said his passion for art started early in life when his brother was an artist and included him in his projects.
“My family is artistic, just not at a professional level,” Rivas said. “I do know that artistic ability ran through my mom to my brother and myself.”
He took his first art classes in high school in El Salvador. A few years later, he moved to Los Angeles and took community college courses in life drawing, illustration and design, as well as working as a sign painter. He moved his family to Hemet in 1989.
“Having come a long way from the place I grew up I feel compelled to make the memories of my early life live again and share it with people who would have otherwise never been aware of the sights and colors of small town life in El Salvador,” Rivas said.
A viewer can’t help but wonder about symbolism, given Dali’s influence.
Rivas said, “I am conscious of symbolism and metaphor in my pieces during creation. In ‘Hatching Eggs’ I wanted to depict a visual metaphor of growing out of adolescence into adulthood. However, the general image for the design came to me first before I saw fit to assign a theme to it. The symbols I use in my pieces such as birds, eggs, and hands may not be universally appreciated since they are my personal interpretations of subjects or themes.”
Rivas exhibits monthly at the Latino Art Museum in Pomona.
Landry just got two pieces juried into the Fallbrook Spring Art Show, which will be April 1-24. She built her career in San Diego as an airbrush painter for the aerospace industry, government, architects and celebrities. Landry is a multi-faceted artist, having worked in oils and acrylics, doing plein air pieces, abstracts and mixed media.
The spring show at Sky Island Natural Foods is in the recently expanded Meadow Greens Cafe area.
Sky Island Organics also has acquired the former Gary’s Deli footage next door, which will become the manufacturing and processing kitchen for the company.
Sky Island Natural Foods and its vegetarian Meadow Greens Cafe are at 54423 Village Center Drive in the Strawberry Creek Plaza, across from the Idyllwild Post Office.