Interview with Oscar Magallanes, Ryman Arts 1993
How has your work evolved since Ryman Arts?
It has changed so much that people do not recognize my earlier work. I have managed to develop a very distinctive style that has allowed me to blend my training in fine art, years of graphic design and strong sense of culture, history and social issues into what I feel are beautiful images.
What is your artistic process?
I start with my subject matter. At this moment I am working with iconic images that are so commonplace that they have seeped into the subconscious realm of visual vocabulary. I have taken this one step further to give relevance to what I see going on in society. I paint images of “paleteros” and other street vendors. I bring them off the streets and put them in front of you, begging the question “Did this person take your job?” I think we have bigger problems that need to be dealt with instead of trying to scapegoat the hardest workers in our society who also happen to be the poorest and least able to defend themselves. My technique is basic stenciling. I start with a sketch, then scan it, clean it up and set it up as a color separation. I then print the color separations onto sticker paper. Next, I hand cut the stencils and apply them to a piece of ¼” thick wood that has been cut down to the size of an old frame. The last step is painting: I use brush, airbrush and aerosol, which gives the look of having been silk screened.
Why did you become an active alumni member?
It’s my love of the program – for all it did for me. I was a hard kid; in all honesty, I didn’t think I would make it to twenty. But Ryman was there for me during this transitional time and helped me get through by showing me that I was capable of a lot more than I ever thought possible.
What is your vision for the Ryman Arts Alumni group?
I envision Ryman Arts as a strong family that trains a student to be an aspiring artist who becomes a successful artist who then mentors a new Ryman student. I also want to see casual meetings where we can talk shop and share current projects. I want to see mentor relationships develop. I think these are things we can all benefit from.