Artist Al Preciado on art effecting social change

04 Jun, 2018

This past weekend, we visited SubZERO Festival in downtown San Jose, California where we visited the art-filled booth of talented and prolific local artist, Al Preciado. He showed us around the bustling closed off street that was lined with artwork by other South Bay artists. When Dig In Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Cindy Maram caught up with Al, he highlighted a few new pieces that he is very proud of. One piece is of NFL star Colin Kaepernick. The artist admires the football player for his honorable, non-violent stance against racism in the NFL and society at large. Preciado uses art to speak out and channel his voice and beliefs, something he believes can effect social change. He also showed off his recent Japanese Friendship Garden landscape painting that is greatly influenced by Monet and is highly impressionistic and expressionistic conveying a sense of peace and calm. Al’s upcoming shows include a Fuse show called Originals and Reproductions at the Citadel Gallery in July, as well as the Retrospective and Recollection show at age 63 also at the Citadel Gallery, December 15, 2018. Check out the video below to learn more about his upcoming exhibit:

Dig In Magazine: What were you up to at SubZERO Festival in downtown San Jose?

Al Preciado: I was showing my sculptures and art at my booth, as well as doing live sculpture. I was also live painting and inviting the public to paint with me.

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

DIM: You have a couple new pieces that you’re very proud of—can you tell me a little bit about these two pieces? What is the significance of the painting with football player Colin Kaepernick? What are you wanting to convey from this piece?

Al Preciado with Colin Kaepernick painting at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado with Colin Kaepernick painting at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA
Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

AL: The Colin Kaepernick piece is important to me because the former QB for the 49ers was taking a very principled and honorable stand by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem as it was played to protest in a non-violent way the Social inequality and the police brutality to poor and people of color. He has lost millions in income because the NFL owners being very much afraid of Trump black balled him from the league. This [points to] Corporate Racism and points out the sickness of our Society when people get angry at Colin for a graceful and peaceful protest.

Al Preciado with Landscape painting at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado with Landscape painting at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA
Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

The landscape is very important to me, because it is a landscape painting from the Japanese Friendship Garden and this place since childhood with its cool shadows. Koi fish and beautiful greenery has always given me a sense of peacefulness. My painting is influenced by Monet and Van Gogh because of their very free brushstrokes, which are impressionistic and expressionist to me and greatly influences my working manne rand–in fact I will be doing a copy of Van Gogh for an upcoming Fuse show at the Citadel called Originals and Reproductions at the Citadel Gallery in July.

DIM: How do you feel art can effect social change and make a statement? Do you feel artists can make an impact on the world through art? How do you believe you can make a difference?

AP: I believe art can make a difference sometimes, but I also think artists as human beings can make a difference backing certain causes and helping foster a better understanding on a chaotic world. Although my Kap, Bleeding Stripes, Sobbing Stars will not change anyone’s mind on both sides of the National Anthem issue. I believe it is important for artists to speak up, speak and not be spoken for in their art or their humanistic beliefs.

DIM: You also have some new, amazing pieces with images that appear to be torn out from magazines or advertisements, how did you come up with this idea and what effect are you trying to achieve?

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA
Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

AL: My torn out magazine pieces combined with painting are mixed media collage designed to take advantage of the realism of the photo and combining it in an energetic process with the loose brushstrokes to create an alternative reality.

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA
Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

DIM: Who are your artistic influences and what in life inspires your work?

The artists that inspire me greatly are Picasso, Goya, Giacometti, Van Gogh, Frances Bacon, Michelangelo Jeff Koons, Kiki Smith, The big three of the Mexican Mural movement of the early 2oth century (Orozco, Siqueiros and Rivera), as well as many current artists such as Jaclyn Alderete, Erika Gomez Henoa, Andre Hart, Michael Foley, Vanesa O’halon, Dave Beckett and Catherine Lenten.

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Al Preciado artwork at SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

DIM: You’re extremely active in the South Bay art community, where have you shown your work recently and what’s next for you?

AL: What’s happening now is I am preparing paintings and sculptures for the FUSE Original and Reproduction exhibit at the Citadel Gallery in which I pay homage to the great artists as mentioned above and maybe some fellow artists as I experiment with different styles. Beyond that I am going to do a lot of landscape, model painting and drawing. [I’m also planning] on seeing my grand nephew Jack and visiting family. As a final note, I’m preparing for my Retrospective and Recollection at 63 also at the Citadel Gallery, December 15, 2018.

About the author

Cindy Maram

Cindy Maram is Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Dig In Magazine. She is an accredited film journalist for Cannes Film Festival in the South of France, Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and CAAMFest, as well as fashion & style photographer/blogger for London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, professional sports photographer/writer and art critic. She is a writer, vlogger & social media community manager possessing a B.A from UC Davis and a M.A. in Mass Communications + Popular Culture Studies emphasis in Film/Marketing/Writing from Cal State Fullerton.

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