Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Santa Barbara Bendita Eres Tu Chango, 2015
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 48 in.
RAMOS: thank you for joining me
DIAZ: Of course
RAMOS: the figure in this piece is familiar
what is your connection with her?
DIAZ: I have always felt as if though the energy that is Santa Barbara/Chango has always watched and protected me.
There have been times through my years in which the energy has manifested inside me.
RAMOS: is this piece a gift to this energy?
or a way to analyze or discover something about this energy?
DIAZ: It is my way of paying homage and giving thanks to an energy that is part of my existence.
During the process I discovered a different dimension within me. One that embodies the energy and brings fourth the deepest understanding of my soul.
RAMOS: tell me more about that... how does the process of painting, and particularly painting this energy, or a representation of this energy, help you discover or have deeper understanding?
DIAZ: It's a physical sensation/feeling that enters my fingertips and travels through my body. It's a sensation of happiness, clarity, gratitude. One that reminds where the soul feels safe and comfortable. It was as if I was in a trance-like state during the process.
RAMOS: as if maybe this energy was itself grateful for your engagement
did you feel guided while working?
DIAZ: Definitely both. It was grateful and without a doubt guiding me. I initially started this piece over 10 years ago. I somehow lost track of time along with other things in my life. After reconnecting with what I had once began a few months back the urge was compelling and irresistible.
The energy was calling for me. I felt missed. I was saddened by the loss of connection I once shared with the energy. Completing this piece has brought my soul back home.
RAMOS: and the details in the painting, what do they represent?
DIAZ: They are representations of what the energy controls in the physical world which are lightening and thunder. There are also representations of a beating heart, my heart, after a recent diagnosis.
RAMOS: ok one at a time... first i notice a second figure, a face with his or her eyes closed..
is that the African version (Chango) of the same image.. which seems more like the catholic version (Santa Barbara)?
DIAZ: Yes, the image with closed eyes is Chango. Santa Barbara is the Catholic version. Both the same entity, just different representations.
RAMOS: so tell me something
do you think if people painted representations of God or Jesus Christ.. that they would have a similar experience?
DIAZ: I would like to think so but I think it depends on the individuals relationship with God/Jesus.
RAMOS: how did you develop a relationship with Santa Barbara?
DIAZ: When I was a child my father had an entire room dedicated to various Catholic saints including Santa Barbara. I would spend lots of time in that room and felt the deepest connection to her. As time passed I shared all my trials and tribulations with her, mine or not. I knew she was always listening.
She always spoke to me as well, especially through dreams.
RAMOS: does she still speak to you today?
RAMOS: how do you move on from this painting or subject? are there many layers to build upon or was this a one time experience?
i know at some point in the past you mentioned a bible series
DIAZ: I just do. It's complete. Yes, a religious/spiritual series. I have begun working on La Caridad Del Cobre/Ochun, my mother/guardian. I'm also in the process of completing a piece representing Matthew 10:16 from the bible and a Ganesha piece.
I am an extremely spiritual individual and feel connected to a variety of energies expanding a variety of religions and beliefs. Making them my subjects brings me a sense of happiness and calm which I hope to share with the world.
RAMOS: these energies... do we represent them as human-looking because they were once humans or because it is a way to identify with them?
DIAZ: It depends. Some were always Gods and therefore we represent them as human-looking to identify and some were once humans themselves who lived on this earth.
RAMOS: this implies a multi-layered system of dimensions that we humans don't get to see, not all of us anyway - would that be accurate?
DIAZ: Yes, exactly.
RAMOS: wouldn't it be interesting for you to paint that world or dimension? or the overlap of the two.
DIAZ: It would be. When receive a vision clear enough to paint I will.