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Lyle Carbajal Lyle Carbajal

::: bio/statement
::: naive paintings
::: artist interview


"The depictions of extreme emotive states delineate my paintings from those of a child. Both the innocent associations of youth and the horror of maturation are bluntly juxtaposed, and seek not so much to find unity in the passage of life, but to expose its division."
Lyle Carbajal


American Expressionist Naive Artist American Expressionist Naive Artist


naive artist


Lyle Carbajal Artist Interview - December 2005



+1 ::: Why are you an artist Lyle?

Why am I an artist…actually, that's something I am always asking myself. But seriously, I really don't believe I had much say in the matter. There was a time when I actually tried kidding myself into pursuing other things but ultimately, it is what I do best.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?

Just the other day I was rummaging through my parent's storage and came across all those old yellowing gems on lined paper I created as a kid. I don't think a whole lot has changed actually…I am always trying to get back to where it all came from.
If one looks closely at my pictures and understands paint, they will find how passionate I am about letting paint simply be paint. I see pictures every day that miss this simple point. You can be the greatest of trained artist but if at any time you find yourself afraid of screwing something up, it will come across. Never be afraid of completely destroying what you love.

Color has always been easy. There are times when I don't even look at what I'm reaching for until it is on the picture. Thank god that works because Line, which is the most important part of any painting, is what I've worked feverishly on for years.

Then of course there's all that stuff that finds it way into my head when I am working: Mexican masks, Haitian flags, randomness, urbanism, functional graphics, architectural renderings, Latin American walls, religion, tribal art and comics.

+3 ::: Is there any symbolic meaning or messages in your paintings, or are they mostly about paint and creating a painting?

You'll find my work to exist in categories of which some are technique driven and others strictly emblematic. There are times when I simply take a line for a walk and try not too hard to envision an ending. It's this process that not only entices, but visually excites me so much that I'm always thinking up new ways of letting myself go. Of course along the way I am always incorporating what's familiar and what I have collected over years of travel and curiosity.

Some of my work, mostly over the past two years, has taken a deeper and more somber sensibility that while incorporating the above focuses on religion and ideas associated with worship, sainthood, crucifixion and demonology. How different religion and cultures choose to represent ideas visually also interests me tremendously and is probably why I am fairly well traveled. Then there is the curious interest in the way average people draw things and envision ideas. I'll often ask someone randomly to draw me something that might end up in one of my own pictures.

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you, and how?

The Brut and Cobra groups of past and present, the naïve artists of Latin America, graphic designers and illustrators, religious painters and of course children everywhere.

+5 ::: What other interests do you have (besides painting)?

I'm very passionate about the legal process in this country and enjoy reading and listening to Supreme Court decisions and public policy. Business and economics is up there as well and what is going on in the world around me. I am interested in different cultures and how they differ from my own. The acquisition of perspective, I believe to be, above all else, the most important of goals. I am passionate about philanthropy and human behavior, cell biology and parapsychology, higher education and health. And I absolutely love my Xbox!

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

I've found that if your supposed to have a bad day in the studio, you simply will and as your confidence wanes, your ability tends to go with it. We all have our demons, which show themselves as glimpses of schizophrenia, depression or mediocrity and I'm certainly not an exception. One thing I do when it simply doesn't work is tell myself "it is all just under-painting waiting for the good stuff". Since I do prep my pictures quite a bit and I layer sometimes up to four or five times, I can afford an off day. Other things include changing my perspective from say the easel to the floor or from painting extremely close to adding a bit of distance, and then of course there is upside-down painting, which is nice.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

I think this is the toughest part of being an artist. To truly hold steadfast to your individual vision and maintain a level of proficiency in your work habits by repeatedly working and refining your skill all while incorporating strong business competency. The business of art as artists everywhere can be, well- a bit uninspiring. Often the interests of the market clash with the painter's integrity and vision. I think that artists today need to have a keen understanding of business and the law to help him along in what can be a rough business. Not only has it taken me a while to reach this level of understanding but also many hours of dedication through trial and error. With all of this said, I do feel that the business side of art is really just like any other business-the fundamentals are all there: marketing; accounting, labor, inventory and sales. If you take the time to understand this side of art, it should go a long way in helping you succeed.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

All my experience and decisions during the past 10 years have been invaluable in determining my present success. I'm fortunate to have spent time living in this country's most fascinating cities meeting wonderful people that have helped shape and mold my personal vision of the world and art. During the next ten years I want to do more traveling that include central America and Africa and spend time living in Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Mexico City. I've recently began curating art exhibits and am close to opening a new gallery and art space in Salt Lake City. This will be a great opportunity and a huge challenge, which will keep me busy for some time.

+9 ::: Could you talk about your latest series of paintings and what you are trying to achieve with them?

My latest series of works are alternative refinements to my "scar" series, which began two years ago. I've been working more and more with oil, fabric and pencil which is helping me achieve a more somber sensibility while retaining the rawness of earlier paintings. I recently sold everything I had on display during an open studio in Salt Lake City, which I believe is an indication that I am doing something right.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

The biggest piece of advice I would give someone just starting out is to study business and the business of art as closely as possible. Realize that owning shit simply ends up owning you. And the best path to a good place is the elimination of un-necessaries. Study the Masters feverishly and understand the pain and tribulations they went through to achieve perfection. Understand how to correctly price your work and appreciate the intricacies of supply and demand. Work hard at achieving professionalism. Always use the best of materials. Try to only get professionally involved with people who understand and share your vision. Spend as much time exploring the world and its cultures, while living in as many places as possible before you die. All these things should go a long way in helping the visual artist along his path, as they've helped me enormously along mine.

 



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