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Javier Padilla, artist, surfer, scientist: 'Santa Vida' at Fairfax Art League

Santa Vida opens March 15th at the Fairfax Art League.

Javier Padilla, 'Santa Vida' at Fairfax Art League
Javier Padilla
Javier Padilla, artist, surfer, scientist: 'Santa Vida' at Fairfax Art League
Javier Padilla

Artist and painter Javier Padilla is rich in mind, spirit, and passion, like artists are. He has his own unique characteristics. Asked to describe himself and his work in his own words, and here is what you get. It is honest and forthright, as it is insightful. First consider his words and then his work.

“Although I had some drawing courses in the past...my art is completely self taught...A friend artist told me once...please...don't take painting classes ever...you will get contaminated!

My actual favorite medium is acrylics and I also like the use of multimedia in my work. I will also bring some prints (block print).

My first official work as an artist was as a scientific illustrator in the university of Puerto Rico (1998 - 2000) while I was working on my Biology bachelor degree. I collaborated with other artists in the illustration of couple of biology books for Dr. Juan A. Rivero. During this time I was working on clay figures that I used to sell to 3 galleries in the west coast of Puerto Rico. I can say that art was my main job and I was making enough to pay my rent with the combination of both.

I used to go surfing every weekend and coming out of the beach I will pick up bamboo pieces from the shore...which I painted with some puerto rican landscapes and other subjects. During this period (2000 - 2004) I showed my art in (Galeria Yemaya and Galeria Callo Caribe) both Galleries were close to the sea and the environment was one full of art, poetry, drum sessions, and free life!

It was an old friend of mine NAESCHE, who told me to translate the paintings from the bamboos to a canvas and to give it a try. So I did, and started painting on a public square, for months....and one day....a Gallery owner driving by had to stop to see my paintings and invited me to do a surrealist exhibition in her gallery (Galerias Dilan). That was my first collective show where I invited two of my friends...including NAESCHE...to show their paintings with me...

Few months later (2005), I did my first "SOLO" show in the same university I did my bachelor in science...but I came back as an artist.

I moved to VA in 2006 where I had a period of non artistic production and decided to focus on my career as a scientist....I did few paintings but was missing the connection with those things that inspire a person as an artist...so the paintings I did...I feel they are kind of empty...they are just images.

In 2013, I was introduced to an artist in the Potomac art gallery (Jolanda Prinslo) and had the opportunity to show in a collective again. So I started painting like crazy just for that show. I'm happy to say that ~70% of the crowd went to the show to see my pieces...and that gave me some energy to take the brushes again...this time I feel there is a deep connection to the subject...I'm working on couple of series and all are linked somehow to my roots (Puerto Rico): the puerto rican migration, the workers, the saints, and the fisherman. Joined the Fairfax Art League in 2013 and opened a studio in Arlington VA (underground gallery crystal city).

I just joined a group of puerto rican contemporary artists (448 Contempo Gallery) in Long Island NY and started a collective in Fairfax with fellow artists Jessica Kallista and Jason Davis (The Bunnyman Bridge Collective).

2014 is going to be awesome and as you will see in my statement...my plan is to be noticed.

I hate those artist statements where people say that painting is their hobby or relaxation time....no! Art for me is something else...I can't explain it...but I have to do it...otherwise I feel that I'm wasting my time here on earth....

My life has been good....I have never had more than what I needed and I feel that I cant claim that I've had a rough life...everything is relative...and I know people that are really having a rough time in this world....and thats where my show name comes from.

Santa Vida - The name has a double meaning....while I think everything on the surface of this world is sacred and a miracle...we struggle through life because we have created so much B.S. that it is almost impossible to enjoy life the way it is supposed to be enjoyed. The image in the promo is a farmer...his sombrero almost look like a saint aura...he is the worker, the humble human being that is considered to have the lowest education level and the worst living condition...and yet...we depend 100% on him. Life is so complicated and fragile.... SANTA VIDA!

Javier Padilla

That could be the best description that I have ever read. It is from the heart and you can feel the beat.

He mentions that the Bunnyman Bridge Collective is coming soon too. That event will be covered here in this column. Javier is expanding attention to the Fairfax Art League.

March 15, 2014 Feature artist show at Village Gallery. The Fairfax Art League presents SANTA VIDA by Javier Padilla

Fairfax Art League
3950 University Drive
Fairfax Virginia, 22032