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Source: Andres Chaparro

By: Mathew Schumer

On Thursday, Sept. 19, acclaimed artist Andres Chaparro made an appearance at the Gallery in the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Westside Campus as part of an ongoing exhibition. The self-curated gallery, entitled “American Subtitles,” features Chaparro’s own work alongside that of fellow artist Robert Charles Hudson, and will be available to view until Sunday, Oct. 6 with free admission for WCSU students.

The gallery showcased various pieces by the two artists in different media that examined diversity and discrimination in the United States. Addressing these themes, Chaparro said “‘American Subtitles’ is giving light to our experiences as Americans.”

Chaparro presented a gallery talk in which he outlined his life as an artist, his creative process, and discussed his pieces on display. Chaparro explained, after beginning the talk with an explanation of his work and inspiration, that most of his work stems from a deep appreciation of Jazz and the culture that surrounds it. 

He shared stories of his childhood, like hearing John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” on the radio for the first time and being introduced to art by the album covers of similar records. Citing specific artistic influences, Chaparro spoke of artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Herring, the latter of whom he talked about meeting while studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Impressionistic tendencies reminiscent of such artists present themselves in the artwork displayed at the gallery, much of which was worked on without premeditation, Chaparro explained. One such piece, which set the backdrop for the gallery talk, is a painting by Chaparro entitled “Liberty and Justice.” This piece, like much of the art that inspired Chaparro, was intended to serve as an album cover for close friend and collaborator Ralph Peterson. Peterson’s group, Aggregate Prime, performed in front of several pieces by Chaparro at WCSU’s Jazz Fest in 2017.

After the initial gallery talk, Chaparro opened the floor to discussion with the audience, giving helpful insight about artistic processes and the art industry to the art students and staff members in attendance. In closing, Chaparro extended his thanks to the Department of Art at WCSU, lauding their “great gallery and support system” for both established and aspiring artists.