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2023 Roqué Marcelo Art Retrospective
Part 1: Ink and Stippling
Since August is my birthday month, it is a good time to reflect on my creative output over the years. Today’s issue is the first of a four-part sequence that will include the following:
Part 1: Ink and Stippling
Part 2: Photography
Part 3: Songs and Music
Part 4: Films
In each of these parts, I will showcase a handful of my favorite works and provide anecdotes into the machinations that brought them to life.
Please enjoy Part 1.
Ink and Stippling
For several years, I was enamored of black ink and all the possibilities this medium offered. The gradations of shadows and light and the fine lines and curves one could create with it pretty much melted my face.
Speaking of faces, I drew a few in black ink in a surrealistic style that featured intense eyes and tears that floated and flowed in gushing waves and wispy tendrils.
I cannot explain why I drew these in the manner that I did, but I can admit that I had a few sorrows that I struggled against at the time. There is a small series of this style of drawing that meandered across different creative projects. One was part of a large mixed media (and kaleidoscopic) exhibit I mounted at the LGBT center in Charlotte, NC, and another was the cover of my first album of music Seahorses.
Here is another one in a similar style, though perhaps a bit more mournful and fiery. She held court in my living room when I lived in my first apartment on my own back in Charlotte, NC, many moons ago.
The faces evolved when I discovered the fun and fullness of stippling. The use of hundreds of dots to create an image challenged my patience and creativity. I enjoyed it, nonetheless. This piece, entitled He Speaks In Colors, eventually emerged.
Then of course, I could not get enough of it. Here are two early abstract flower pieces I made with this technique.
This one was infused with color.
A more recent otherworldly flower, completed two years ago, was created for a short film I made.
I view most of my work as experimental. This piece used the stippling technique to create my own version of cubism in the form of a heart (perhaps I took this style too literally?):
I also had this idea to create a series of horse portraits. I have only done one of them so far, but maybe more will come someday.
Lastly, I have delved into a few abstractions, clinging willfully to my whimsical tendencies. I do not know where I was going with this one, but I enjoyed the ride.
What compels anyone to make art? Is it a compulsion? An obsession? A sequence of desires shaped into some kind of body and form? Is the answer so simple or more complicated than we care to admit?
I make art because I love and enjoy it. It satiates a need within me that I cannot explain. Sure, I can spend my days not creating anything—hang out with friends, clean my house, climb a tree, take lots of naps—but all of it, everything, winds up becoming an art form or a craft inevitably. Cultivating a friendship, creating a beautiful and comfy home, learning how to strengthen and stretch my body through tree climbing, or optimizing the best conditions for a luxurious nap all become artistic pursuits.
Art is inescapable within the realms where I take refuge, find solace, and accumulate joy.
I started drawing because I could not help myself. It was a way to see the world through my own eyes and to gain some grasp of what I was feeling and who I wanted to be. It is an active limb within a body of art that is the entirety of my life, and all the limbs dance together to their own rhythm.
There is more ink and stippling to come. This active limb is eager for the movement.
Last weekend, my partner and I flew to Sarasota, Florida to visit family. It was a whirlwind trip intended to spend quality time connecting and exploring. I was lucky to spend a couple of hours by myself downtown. The summer heat was too stifling to be outside for very long, and I wound up going to one of my favorite places in the city. It is an old bookstore on Main Street that is flanked on all sides by clubs and restaurants that cater to drunken tourists and loud, hungry patrons. As a holdover from a distant time when the city was a quieter collection of sleepy bungalows along the water, Parker’s Book Bazaar is an institution that houses over 70,000 books and was originally founded in another location down the street back in 1975. I try to go there whenever I am in town.
My go-to section is its sizable collection of art books. I am always on the hunt for a talented visual artist that I have never heard of and whose work thrills me. I found a book showcasing a selection of fantastic pencil sketches by Michael Leonard, and I rejoiced at having discovered it. This was a lovely artist date.
All Photos and Art by Roqué Marcelo
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