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Using primarily acrylics, Oscar uniquely weaves the stark contrasts and emotions of colors with geometric shapes and lines.
While his style oscillates between the abstract and the real, the common thread within his work is that it always experiments with the weight of lines. Whether incorporating minimal dots, lines, or shapes, his pieces never cease to tell a story.
From the stages of human love to elements of the natural world, Oscar has created art that communicates a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and objects for the last 20 years.
The seeds of Oscar’s artistic nature and abilities can be traced back to his childhood growing up in the lush green mountains of El Salvador.
He fondly recalls how his mother, a resourceful woman with a talent for bringing beautiful handicrafts to life, never hesitated to find ways to pass on her creative gene to her children.
Some of his most cherished memories are of those during Christmastime, when Oscar would assist his mother in making small nativity scene sculptures out of clay and painted cardboard. As he recalls, “She always needed someone to help her…and I always liked to do it!”
Oscar quickly discovered that he not only enjoyed these activities--he was talented at them. Many times, his classmates insisted on having Oscar on their team for group art projects. It was clear he had a natural instinct for conceiving objects and possessed the creative eye of an artist.
As civil war waged in his home country, Oscar was forced to leave everything he knew behind to immigrate to the United States at age 16. Surrounded by a new language, customs, culture, and climate, he was faced with newfound challenges as he struggled to make a new life in a new country.
Although his English was limited, Oscar was soon able to express himself via the universal language of art. Inspired to continue exploring his creative side sparked by his mother, he spent his free time sculpting and learned to speak English by attending school and watching U.S. films and media.
As he became more integrated into his community, he eventually attended his first formal art class. The class provided him with an important lesson that would eventually influence his art today: the weight of lines.
He discovered that depending on the thickness and weight of a line, the dynamic and message of a piece could shift and transform. The impact of this concept is evident in many of his collections today.
However, it would take some time and shifts in his own story before he became a full-fledged artist.
During his early years in the States, Oscar worked various landscaping jobs in his local community. “After a few months of working landscapes, I had made the decision that this is what I would do the rest of my life,” he reflects.
Following his dream, in his mid-twenties Oscar attended school for architecture, landscape design, and drafting. This laid the foundation for him to create a successful construction company -MOE Masonry, Inc.- in collaboration with his brothers in 1996.
Facing various trials and tribulations, Oscar led the company growth to where it is today. With twenty employees, many happy clients, and impressive contributions to the wider Hamptons community, it has been a defining entrepreneurial experience.
Oscar’s curiosity and passion for creation didn’t stop there. Working in construction further laid the groundwork for him to explore his love for building things and working with a range of materials.
“As the years went by, my handicraft skills developed and my ability to make artistic works improved,” he shares. “I would make Aparejos, closed wooden boxes for the house, candles holders, and other useful items.”
It wasn’t until Oscar was thirty years old that he realized he wanted to transition into purely creating fine art. He found himself with more time to think about and experiment with art as he made changes and innovations in his construction business.
On the other hand, he was faced with personal challenges, such as a divorce from the love of his life. As he explains, his life was “turned upside down, like a sideway washing machine does to the clothes as they get cleaned.”
He began spending long hours in the basement, exploring his interest in and passion for painting. “I was finding that painting at night after long days of work, reduced the amount of pressure I was under… it became my escape.”
Starting with oils and eventually transitioning to acrylics, as he painted he would lose track of time and consciousness--leaving the real world for a more artistic dimension.
Themes, Style, and Influences
As Oscar developed a deeper connection to the art world, he began to notice a positive correlation with this emotions. As he shares, art is “like a therapy in the way of expressing my feelings, emotions, and thoughts.” This connection was key as he faced numerous personal challenges and hardships.
“I am thankful that I did not go any other direction than the arts and its forms of expression,” Oscar explains, “It has helped me release all bad things out of my body and mind. The road came to end. Life was all dark and gray, but thanks to paint I found myself coloring my own paths again.”
These challenges and lessons within Oscar’s life served as important sources of inspiration in his art. For example, his collection entitled Stages of Love represents the cycle of loving and letting go. Through the creation of the collection, Oscar desired to communicate that love never fully dies, and that everything that has happened in his life has made him a better human being.
Though seemingly disparate industries, Oscar has found a unique way to integrate his previous work in construction and landscape design with his fine art creations today.
For example, many of his early paintings reflect geometry and figures--shapes that he worked with on a daily basis in construction and masonry. Once he discovered the power of color, he was able to add in a new and powerful dimension to his work.
Currently, Oscar primarily utilizes acrylic paints because they provide him with great possibilities to communicate a wide array of emotions and themes. These themes typically arise naturally--and though they stem from inspiration and feelings, they are aided by colors and shapes.
Citing Matisse and Picasso as early influences, Oscar has also benefitted from the wisdom and guidance of fellow local Long Island artists such as Eric Fischl- American painter and sculpture, Paton Miller- American painter, Alex Vignoli- Brazilian fine arts photographer and Steven Manolis- American abstract painter.
Noted and respected artists themselves, these mentors recognized Oscar’s natural talent in bringing symbols, feelings, colors, shapes, and stories to life.
Artistic Milestones & Accomplishments
Over the course of his 12 years working as a professional fine artist, Oscar has achieved various benchmarks of success.
The most notable is his invitation and participation in a show titled “Letters and Colors” at the National Museum of Anthropology in El Salvador in 2015.
Featuring various writers and painters from the Salvadoran diaspora residing in other parts of the world- like his good friend Jorge Guzman. Oscar was humbled and honored to have his work featured in this important exhibition for his homeland’s creative art community.
Additionally, Oscar exhibits his work in his personal gallery and at shows in various venues and public spaces on Long Island. His work will be featured next at the “East End Collected” show at the Southampton Art Center, a prestigious venue in Southampton, NY. curated by Paton Miller.
With a goal to incorporate more sculpture work into his repertoire in 2019, Oscar has no intentions of slowing down.
With the realization that he is just one small particle in a vast ocean of humans, Oscar views art as one way to make a change in the world. His wish is for people to be able to stand in front of his work and connect with it-- whether it be today, 100 years, or even 1000 years from now.
For Oscar, art is everywhere. Let us look closer with greater attention -observe yourself a little more- you’ll see it.