Week 4: Conversation with an Artist -Robert Nehemiah and Elmer Guevara

Robert’s IG: wookieewarrior

Elmer’s IG: 3LMSKI1

This gallery was shared between two people: Robert Nehemiah and Elmer Guevara. Robert’s style was to use irregular canvases, such as pieces of old wood, torn pieces of what looked to be hay sacks, and even cardboard boxes. He painted realistic portraits of people whom were important to him. Elmer’s style was fragmentation on standard canvases. He interviews homeless people in the LA area and then takes a photo of them and attempts to capture them in a painting. They are both seniors here at CSU Long Beach and will graduate this spring with their BFA in drawing and painting.

Robert was inspired from important people in his life. The portraits were of his mother, grandmother, mentor, and finally a self portrait of himself. They are all relatively realistic looking photos, but do not include the precision that a photo would, which adds a qunique element to the pieces. It was really interesting because one of the photos of the man with the glasses and long hair on the wood canvas looks very similar to someone that I play Ultimate Frisbee with on the team here at CSULB. Elmer was inspired at a young age from growing up in LA. He always saw that people would pay no attention to homeless people, so he decided to take an interest in them. His pieces tried to incorporate the motion of life; he talked about how one man would always fidget and move while Elmer was interviewing him, so Elmer drew multiple limbs to try to express that to the reader.

I feel that Elmer’s pieces were try to get across a sort of social message to the audience, that these homeless people are people too who have a whole life of stories. Their lives are just as complex and rich as our own and that we should be helping them out instead of just ignoring them and treating them as inanimate objects. I know I myself have been guilty of that all my life, so looking at it from the flip side is definitely somewhat foreign to me. But looking at the pieces and hearing Elmer talk sort of rang that chord with me. I’m not sure if that was his intention with the pieces, or that he finds this sort of work really interesting, but that is how it came off.

In regards to simply the art and the aesthetic value, I felt a stronger connection with Robert’s portraits; however, looking deeper into the meaning and the context of the work, I felt a stronger connection with Elmer’s work. I feel that Elmer presenting his work on formal canvases would have aligned more with the style that Robert was trying to have, and Robert’s irregular canvases would have aligned more with the style that Elmer was trying to have. I found it sort of interesting that they kind of used the opposite style canvas that you’d imagine they would use; however, the other person was using the style of canvas that would “more appropriately” align with their work.


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