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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Art's Good When You Like It

A tsunami inspired this painting
A few months have passed since the time I received this invitation from one of my cousins to attend an auction.
A cybernetic one, designed to benefit the Salvadoran chapter of the Red Cross (Cruz Roja Salvadoreña) with 95% of the proceeds destined to support their relief operations.
On sale to the highest bidder (base price for the auction $10 000 USD) was a set of three paints: “A Tear for Haiti,” “Chile, February 2010,” and “Japan, March 2011.
You can see the three paints at this website
The painter is her husband, Joaquín Orellana, which makes him my in-law.
You don’t have to be named Sherlock to figure out why the names.

An earthquake, this other one
Just in case, though, Joaquín explains there.
The inspiration for each work came to him, he says, in the days following the tragedy affecting each country:
The massive earthquake that back in January, 2010 leveled the capital city of one of the most impoverished nations in the world (hence, A Tear for Haiti);
the seismic event that a few weeks after that catastrophe impacted Chile (a nation not strange to earthquakes, as we all know);
and the tsunami of about one year ago that in its wake raised anew the fears of nuclear disaster for the whole world.

I don't know how the auction ended or if in fact did come to any conclusion.
Should the bidding still be open I would certainly encourage anyone to do so. You would not only be supporting a worthy cause, but also acquiring really good art. From my point of view, that is.
I know, because I have seen Joaquín’s works.
As I said from the beginning, he’s my in-law.

That alone of course doesn’t make for a painting to be “good”.
 What I mean by that is the following: I’ve known Joaquín’s artistic endeavours since back in the early 1970s, when he and my cousin where still engaged. Not that I am an art critic or can even paint a lick. But as with happens with any other activity or form of expression that you cannot do anything else but admire, in the end you give thumbs-up to something because of a simple fact: You like it.
Let others debate about techniques and find meanings behind something. Neither technique nor meaning will make it good art for you, if you don't like it.  
Joaquín’s website is actually a sort of cybernetic exhibit for his artwork. It includes photos of some of his other paintings.  
Just one other thing, before finishing this post: you’ll find in the website a list of categories for the paintings. Abstract. Conceptual. Figurative. Nude. And so on.
At a point, I guess, somebody may have suggested to Joaquín that works should be grouped under something. And he obviously agreed.
There is however, this anecdote he’s posted on the website, more specifically related to the painting he has titled The Fisherman (El Pescador).  
 “Painted in blue,” he begins narrating.  
“A friend asked me: Why in blue?”  
Before he could give him a reply, Joaquín adds, the friend listed some interpretations of his own, as his inquiring mind wanted to know whether having the paint made in blue  signaled a new trend or was it a reflection of emotions Joaquín was trying to splash on the canvas.  
It’s blue, Joaquín says he told this anonymous friend, because it was “the only colour I had at the time.” Which kinda makes my point, I think: There may not be a trend. There may not be an emotion behind it. But I like it.