Artist: Elmer Guevara
Exhibition: Immaterial
Media: Portrait paintings
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Instagram: 3lmski1

About the Artist: 

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting two amazing portrait artist, Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah, during my visit to the school’s gallery. Elmer and Robert’s artworks capture my attention the moment I walked into their gallery. Both Elmer and Robert have their own style of drawing. I first talked to Elmer Guevara who is the artist for the bigger portraits in the gallery. He is currently a Bachelor of Fine Art undergraduate student in his last semester at Long Beach. Elmer was born and raised in Los Angeles and is still currently living there. Elmer started drawing at a very young age, though he did not specify how young he was when he first started. Elmer knew he has a talent, thus leading him to pursue art.

Formal Analysis: 

Oh boy. Elmer work is…eye-catching. It’s the first time I have seen his style. Elmer main media is oil portrait paintings Elmer draws in sort of a fragmented style. Rather than draw what was in front of him, Elmer tends to draw what was AROUND him. Elmer’s portraits give off an abstract feeling because of everything blending so well together. Elmer’s artworks also give you a 3D feeling because you can literally observe everything around him. The street light, the buildings, the streets, everything around Elmer is shown through fragmentation.

Content Analysis: 

Elmer’s portraits are of homeless people he had met and interviewed. Each of Elmer work is named after the homeless person he interviewed such as “Lala” or “Greg”. Elmer paints their stories through his skill with fragmentation that could not be otherwise achieved through conventional mean. One specific example of this is one of his most eye-catching work, “Greg”. Elmer interviewed Greg and found out that he tend to fidget and move around quite a bit. To portrait Greg constant movement, Elmer drew Greg with multiple hands. With his skill, Elmer managed to make Greg “hands” blended so well together to create a whole image. When looking at “Greg”, it feels like you are looking at a tornado, multiple hands whirling around, constantly moving. It was quite surreal.

Synthesis/My Experience:

Elmer’s artworks really intrigue me. Not only is Elmer style unique, but the stories behind each piece is unique. It really amazed me how something so chaotic can be so…organizied. Elmer works just blend so well together that sometimes, I could not even tell that it is fragmentation from afar. To break out of the conventional mold of drawing portraits is extremely hard and Elmer managed to do just that so beautifully and skillfully. Not only that, but the story behind each of Elmer’s works are amazing. The homeless always has such interesting and intriguing stories to tell if you just stop and listen. I once talked to a homeless person, Raul,  outside of Subway. He told me stories about his life, his wife, and even told me he have a black belt in karate.


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