Abel Alejandre lives and works in Los Angeles. His latest project is a “Clown Trump Print,” the proceeds of which will be donated to the Bernie Sanders campaign. You can buy one here. Please keep reading for a selection of our favorite work (drawing, painting, and printmaking) from this artist along with a statement taken from his website.
My family and I immigrated to Los Angeles in 1975 from Apatzingan, Michoacan, Mexico. This experience – that of leaving one land for another, having to constantly redefine what it means to be a person, a man, a part of a community – is a central theme of my work. The ideas of love, desire, and identity are constants, consuming me and dictating both the form and the content of what I create.
Most of my work is graphite on paper, canvas or wood. Creating a new piece is a labor-intensive process that can take hundreds of pencils and or graphite leads, and up to hundreds hours to complete.
As a base for my drawings I apply multiple layers of gesso with thick bristles, to leave behind the relief of brush strokes. After every layer I gently sand down the surface, a process that leaves behind tiny grooves like those of corduroy fabric. This resulting layer creates a nuanced, interwoven texture that serves as a base for the steps to come.
I prefer to isolate my subjects on the surface, much like a string of islands adrift in a vast ocean. My subjects then receive several layers of flowing cross-hatching. Calculated lines that dance with the fluidity of wet paint create the illusion of depth, or realism.
My drawings are like a personal journal, cataloging past insecurities, insults, and painful memories. Each piece is like an oversized blanket that is, by turns, comforting but almost suffocating. But for those willing to dig deeper, my art serves as an optimistic roadmap that depicts the intimate, honest struggle against hatred and betrayal – a struggle that ultimately leads to salvation and redemption.