This interview was conducted with Roger Chavez via e-mail. I met Roger in an art class he was subbing and we struck up a conversation after the class.
Deslumbrar: How did you become interested in art? Is this something you’ve always done?
Roger Chavez: My interest in being creative came at an early age through drawing, painting, or building in wood or other materials. It was an activity that always generated a joy, a challenge and a learning experience. Having this creative dialogue at an early age, it was not difficult to decide and pursue it as a career later in life and where painting became my focus.
Deslumbrar: Does your ethnic background influence your art?
Roger Chavez: I don’t necessarily think of my ethnicity as directly influencing my work or in other words I don’t consciously think about my ethnicity as a topic for my work. If there is something in my work that alludes to my ethnicity, it is concealed.
Deslumbrar: What projects are you working on now? How has your art evolved?
Roger Chavez: Recently, I have a grant from the Franz and Virginia Bader Foundation to research a group of small landscape paintings primarily executed on paper. The group of paintings are part of a bigger collection called the Thaw Collection. Owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan library In New York City, I make visits to draw from the paintings and research the object files. Studying works of art from collections has always been my way to challenge my own painting and to continue to learn all the complexities of painting.
Studying these landscape paintings and making landscape paintings as well, I’m looking to develop an experience set apart from that of my current approach to painting. For many years I’ve worked with the self-portrait and the still-life, two subjects which are readily accessible and still. Confronting the changing landscape as subject breaks me away from everything I know, altering, adding to my approach in painting.
Deslumbrar: How does teaching art fit into your artistic career/practice?
Roger Chavez: Teaching has always been a positive experience. It tends to give back in how there is regeneration in energy to create as I experience the students learning and developing their ideas, concepts and abilities. This said however, teaching has always been second to my studio work in that it is the core of my learning and where I draw experience and knowledge from to teach.
Deslumbrar: Where can people see your art?
Deslumbrar: Thank you for taking the time to share about your art!