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La negra rubia: The erotic art of Gerardo Gómez Navarro

Alvin Starkman, MA, LL.B.


Gerardo Gómez Navarro artist living in prosperous, peaceful and delightfully simple around his mother and three sisters. One would not expect to encounter art ranging from the mildly erotic to pieces to try the sensibilities of the most generous to us. But yes, with paintings that express religious images and childlike happy scene, are quite another theme, carefully tucked away from view.

Women in the family Gómez Navarro weave cotton textiles in their back strap looms, while Gerardo was busy painting all manner of contorted body parts spewing the lifeblood of humanity. Today they all, including matriarch, merely laugh and joke in response to the writer it is pointed and embarrassing questions arguably, sloughing it all off. taboo topics are not considered, nor provokes shame. Perhaps the Eden-like environment is the key to harmony faces between different forms of creativity in a family. Gerardo, a young man, living in the real world of Catholic and rural Jalieza Santo Tomás, sharing of daily chores as well as workspace spins three sisters and their mother.

Santo Tomás Jalieza is a small town about a 35 minute drive from South Central Mexican city of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is tucked away in a series of valleys in the central states of the same name, surrounded by the Sierra mountains Madre del Sur range. The region is a popular destination for travelers seeking a cultural holiday - rich in pre-Hispanic ruins, wonderful Dominican church arrived in the 1500s, and museums and galleries. The area is also known for its gastronomic greatness, with arguably the best cuisine in all of Mexico - and of course its wide variety of unique craft village, including Santa Tomás Jalieza.

Residents of Santo Tomás is woven cotton textiles for generations, more recently especially for the tourist trade - tablecloths and bedspreads, table runners and placemats, napkins, purses, leather-trimmed belt, change purses, eyeglass cases, embroidered blouses, and more. In the case of family Gómez Navarro, industry skills cottage dates back only a few generations, because Gerry's parents will not move to the city until they are married. They were then made it a priority to learn alone, and with the help of relatives in the village, to teach their children.

By ranching and agriculture the inhabitants of Santo Tomás remain to a large extent self-sufficient, hoping if not sheep, goats or cows, and then decided to chickens - and of course living crops such as corn and beans, supplemented by the pumpkin. The vagaries of tourism in Oaxaca require of it.

Navarro grew up rejecting formal education, whether by design or things: "I never finish the public school. I do not think I was learning anything, and in fact spent about four years languishing in the first grade. Finally, when I was 14 I packed it in for good. "

But there is one teacher, Mistress Lupita, who became its impact on the future: "He was the only one, now I realize, seeing something in me that was different from others. He gave me and crayon drawing of a book, and left me to work. I asked her why she centered me out, and He has never offered an explanation. He just left me alone most of the time, to draw. "

Navarro after school is likely his father's goats, while occasionally doing a bit of leatherwork, and regularly writing down her thoughts, although making little verses. Government twice The instructors sent to the village, start to teach about working with animal skins, and then to show people how to combine textiles and leather work the purses and belts. Gerardo became expert in making leather belts decorated with narrow strips of cotton cloth produced by his sisters and mother to their looms.

But once again, he rejected the convention: "I like doing that kind of work. I always felt under pressure and as I was not really creating anything. I had no freedom. For someone to say, 'I need a belt 20 as it within two weeks,' just reinforced that I had to do something else and remove myself from the lifestyle of those around me. "

While Navarro enjoyed the freedom of tending the number of people - his father even bought him two cows when he was 21 - he became very ill, and hospitals. When he finally recovered he found that he did not to tend to animals. resistance his body never returned to their former level of functioning, and so he lacked the strength and courage needed for herding.

In January, 1994, he left for California, intent on starting a new life: "I wanted to leave behind everything from my past, so I though burned all of my little writings from the afternoon out on the field. "He returned in May, has seen the lives of Los Angeles even worse, people are always and rushing around seems to be under an excessive amount of pressure.

Within three months of Navarro's return, his life is in fact has changed, more.

Over the years these women - mothers and daughters Mariana Margarita, Ines and Crispina - developed a reputation for fashioning Cotton cloth of very high quality, by and large setting it apart from most others in town. Crispina in particular found a niche for themselves, fine thread woven into the most intricate designs. His fame spread to such an extent that she began to receive praise from aficionados even ship out of Mexico. She's been in the company of four Mexican presidents, most recently visiting former President Vicente Fox to his ranch.

The family has become accustomed hosting dignitaries and their modest, yet spacious and immaculately kept homestead. Artist frequently would come to their house to buy handicrafts, and chat and just spend some time with family. And that would not be so drawn to the family, who live within one of the most welcoming environment imaginable.

Acclaimed Oaxacan painter Juan Alcázar and his wife Justina Fuentes, a talented painter in her own right, is like a pair. Of course I know nothing of Maestro Navarro Alcázar at the time, except that he was a man from the city that appreciated quality textiles. One day in early August, 1994, a visitor of German extraction, Helmut Kohl, was come through the mire of Crispina's artistry. Navarro fine leatherwork he noted, and suggested that he would consider taking an art class with a friend, Juan Alcázar. Of course it is the same Juan Alcázar including Navarro is close to some 15 years, not knowing that the Alcázar is an up-and-coming master of contemporary Mexican art. Navarro during the day is to meet with Alcázar Oaxaca, on the 15th of the month she started being mentored by Alcázar and Fuentes

Over the next four-and-a-half years, day in and day out, 9-6, Navarro will visit the Alcázar / Fuentes workshop, Taller de Gráfica Popular Oaxaqueña, working initially in pencil, then ink, watercolors and in latter. While others are getting groups of course and if not learning to be artists, Gerry is off to a corner, his back to them, working away independently.

"Do not even look at art books until you've been painting for ten years," Alcázar counseled, no matter, because Navarro has not cracked a book before, and never had any intention of doing so. In fact today, Navarro maintains, He never looked at an art book, or read about the theory or technique, and it mechanically to the art of Chagall and Picasso - aside from the fact that Some of her patrons have likened his work as Grand Masters.

Navarro has never taken an art class, and though he credits Alcázar and Fuentes in the development of his work and his success, they did not really "teach" everyday meaning of the term: "the I'm not able to tolerate a classroom environment, and in fact has never studied or worked in a group. I think it probably dates back to my years in the field. My father always warned me against interaction with others tending to their own herds, for fear that I would be distracted. Of course I guidance received from John and Justina, but no, there are no lessons. "

Navarro had his first exhibition in 1995, after Kohl was advised that he wanted to show her work at a gallery in Ajijic. Gerardo has no idea what to expect. When she accompanied Kohl sa framer the day before the inauguration the exhibition, he was taken aback at how different his job then look. But Kohl kept her grounded: "If you sell a piece you are lucky, with two sales to consider yourself a master, and not expect to sell three. "He learned that a gold star next it meant a piece was sold. By 6:00 the first night of the show, 15 of the 16 pieces of gold stars.

None of the early works offered for sale is sex, even from the beginning Navarro is creating art with sexual content. He always feared exhibiting such pieces, even in his own workshop: "I still keep sex separate from the rest part of my job, in a separate plastic sleeve, face down. I will not show it unless people ask to see it, and besides, sometimes kids come to our house, so I have to be careful. Even my larger works on the floor facing inward. "He the points outlined in a large piece hidden behind another.

Narvarro is more erotic art painting in recent years. But not he has just decided "I'm going to do sex from now on." In fact he did not start out on a particular idea when he starts working, sex or mainstream. The brush takes him just where it wants to go: "My mind seems to flow like a river, and so I just follow it, and if it keeps flowing after I finished a piece, and then a sequence of pieces out. "

More Navarro's piece of prose or poetry include related images represented. Sometimes the words that came to him when he begins a piece, thereby inspiring content, and other times she writes what comes about once a job is completed. He acknowledges shameful: "I know that because I'm not educated, there will always be mistakes in spelling and grammar. "Such works remind the Mexican votive painting style, or ex - voto tradition.

In Navarrós lighthearted La negra rubia (2006), the message is clearly conveyed without the use of prose: 's teary upset a girlfriend and His girlfriend of declining quail in his realization that he is not a natural blonde. double entender The title alone is enough poetic verse, familiar imagery The work serves to eliminate the need for more explicit eroticism.

In 1996, Fuentes Navarro said it was time to try working the oils. He gave her a canvas and frame, and told him to buy a few tubes of paint. Then she sold her first oil, he went out and spent 1,000 pesos as many tubes as the paint money could buy. Everyone laughed, never having heard of anyone spending at all their money so much paint. But he was filled with excitement and ambition, so much so that over the next four months he has made 18 paintings, exhibiting them for the first time in 1997. These oils are in the midst of the sex in his workshop, the floor, facing the wall.

"You just do not know what people's reaction is, or how receptive they are to that kind of art. A while ago a woman from one city to buy my eroticas, a siren having oral sex with a mortal. He took it home and his wife will not let her hang it in their home. So they came back together, and change for a painting of a couple making love, with a crucifix on the wall above them, and an angel passing over, cover Jesus' eyes. "

  1. Someone came up to me and said 'you the devil. " My answer is simple: at night we all lie down and spread our feet, so what's wrong with that kind of drawing in my art. "

For his oils and watercolors Navarro works in the most brilliant of colors. And in his ink drawings she uses sepia tones. Curiously, it was more of her pieces done in shades of blacks and Browns where he appears to release and enable the bizarre sexual metaphors to win.

"I'm not interested in exhibiting my work abroad, "Navarro immediately suggests, then explains his reasoning:" People come from far away to see me, not just my art. So what happens if I here? It is not fair to those who wonder what I am, if they come by or contact me make sure that I'll be around, and I am nothing. "

The sisters echo the similar opinion. They only traveled outside exhibition in the country in two occasions. And when it comes to fiestas and other family obligations or Oaxaca Santo Tomás, generally a family member will stay home all the time. Being available for those who appreciate their artistry is a priority.

Most Gerardo Navarro's erotic speaking in his personal philosophy about monogamy and marriage. He is not a long-term relationship since the beginning of his career as a painter some 15 years ago. He sees marriage as a compromise he was ready to make. "Marriage is like a grave," he maintains, then continues: "It kills love. In the world I know, people are not around all that much. They're off to the U.S. under the guise of income for their families, including women and children left at home to fend for themselves. What women do? "Silence ensues, leading one to imagine what actually transpires behind closed doors Jalieza Santo Tomás. Gerardo Gómez Navarro and then back to painting one of his favorite themes - the apple in the Book of Genesis, with Eve firmly in control.

About the Author

Alvin Starkman received his Masters in Social Anthropology in 1978. After teaching for a few years he attended Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, thereafter embarking upon a career as a litigator until 2004. Alvin now resides in Oaxaca, where he writes, leads small group tours to the villages, markets, ruins and other sites, is a consultant to film production companies, and operates Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast. ( ) .


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