Rich Lopez (AKA rLoArt) hails from Northern NJ, and holds a BFA (studio) from William Paterson University.
He currently works as a painter/carpenter for a scenery construction company in New York.
I’m a “thirty-something.” I was born in the 80’s and a teen in the 90’s. Like many of my peers, I was an after-school/Saturday morning cartoon addict. It all seeped into my subconscious. Transformers, Voltron, Duck Tales, Batman (The Animated Series), even Disney’s FANTASIA, and the old Max Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 1940s (which I watched on VHS way back in the day) all got in there, creating a cocktail of Robots, Clouds, Angels, Aliens, and Skeletons...
My imagery is based around a few ideas. Most of which come from the real backbone of religion- The human heart. The soul. Love. The heart is always looking for a connection. Our souls are constantly searching for something, whether it be religion, a true love, a friend, or just a place to belong.
My earlier work dealt with robots and angels more than anything else. They represent so many things- imaginary friends, guardian angels, or fallen loved ones, hanging around to look in on us. Our imaginary friends never put us in jeopardy, and that's why they're harmless. I enjoy drawing/painting these characters, because they represents my childhood. Every kid seeks adventure, whether it be outside, or in his/her own mind. That's where these pieces take place—in the mind of a child becoming an adult, struggling to keep their view of the world fresh and unsullied.
Very recently, I began a series of Skeleton paintings and drawings. The skeleton work came about, not only due to my love of Johnny Cash and Rockabilly, but also because I started with body gestures, and instead of putting meat on those bones, I literally went the other way. Again, I’m touching on the themes of longing and loss, but also life after death. In my mind, the dead still want to dance, to interact, and just let us know that they remember life.
I enjoy working in vibrant colors. Red reds, deep blues, Teal, Sea foam, Canary Yellow, and Pink—These remind me of the homes in Old San Juan, and bring me back to my cultural roots. I love working on plywood as a physical medium, because it is just that—A very Physical medium. Wood has a natural weight, depth, and texture. I will sometimes embrace the grain, or go against it, sometimes quite literally... I love how plywood can take the abuse, the distress, and will absorb and reject paint as it sees fit.
I don’t just work with paint. I work with palm sanders, grinders, chisels, newspaper, construction paper, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I use what works. I’m more at home at a hardware store buying “oops” batches of house paint than I am in an art supply store. I love using what’s more accessible, and what gets me the results I want.
I suppose that’s what drew me into the realm of digital art. The iPad is instant gratification. I’ve been using the app, Art Studio, and working almost exactly the same way I would if I were working on a plywood piece. Sometimes I need to work out an idea, and working on the tablet allows me to execute that idea immediately. My digital work is now beginning to bring about a new methodology for me. I’m now working on new pieces heavily influenced by comic books, and newer, more adult-oriented cartoons. I’m excited by the new age of art, and this new way to express the “pop/heart cocktail” that is my mind.