PAPER SCULPTURES

Isabella Recio special La Raza (“The Race”), Chicago, IL


Young Peruvian artist beats the obstacles of creating, transporting and storing granite

and bronze sculptures in the United States, molding them by using a technique that he invented

and with which, thanks to his Hispanic ingenuity, he managed to reduce its weight to a

minimum.


The difficult art of giving form and life to a rock and the metal with your hands he learned

from his grandfather in Lima, Perú, where he was born 35 years ago. At the same time as the

elderly master dedicated himself to the alchemist trade of artistic foundry in his shop, he taught

his grandson Oscar García to sculpt, first with clay and later with plaster and wood.

The elderly artist, who has already passed, José Luis Peña, made a living and was well

known for making, by order, statues of great persons, politicians, and a saint here and there, for

the government, the military and the church.

García remembers with pride, especially, the sculptures of some Peruvian presidents

that rest at the Salón de Los Pasos Perdidos (“Salon of the Lost Steps”) in Lima. After the death

of his grandfather, he would emulate his grandfather’s steps also creating sculptures for his

country.

Chiseling of his history

But before solidifying his love for the art, García went through what we all have to go

through. He confesses that he did not like to study very much, but he survived the 11 years of

schooling. His father would worry noticing that in his first years [García] liked to dream and

draw.

“My first sculptures were about Greek mythology, of Zeus and other gods. In school they

would have me create historical murals or some of nature,” and that is how he had the merits to

get through those years. Later, in 1991, he attends the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes of Lima

(“Superior School of Fine Arts”) for six years; at the same time, he continued making sculptures.

Feeling that the opportunities in his native country were diminishing, he jumped at the

adventure of working on a cruise ship between Peru and Miami for two years, where he started

working as a kitchen assistant and later at the bar.

“They were very hard times, but the experience was gratifying and a good learning

experience,” said García referring to the last four months in which he ended up as the on board

artist.

“In my free time I would draw my cruise mates…,” he added. He had the luck that, the

company aware of his talent, decided that having someone drawing portraits of the passengers

helped diminish the tediousness of the maritime journey.

A Latin in New York

His future began in 2003, during a vacation period away from the boat. An artist friend

told him about the Arts Students League of New York, from which the most prestigious artist of

North America have emerged. García sent his CV and portfolio of work and was accepted.

“In the second year they valued my experience and knowledge, for which I was hired to

create an artistic foundry within the school and to create a class for wax sculpting and to go

through the whole process to move onto bronze,” he said.

In the third year of studies he was accepted as a professor, which is what he currently

does full time. “I have managed to demonstrate my great level as a Latin American,” he tells La

Raza (“The Race”) in an interview which took place during a short visit to Chicago.

As he recounts that he has been working for a year to set up the foundry for the school

and that he prepares for expositions of his works in Stanford, Connecticut and in New York, he

takes his time to say that there he met a sculptor three years ago, whom he will soon marry.

Paper sculptures

His impulse to sculpt was confronted with difficulties since he arrived in the United

States because he did not have space to store. “In Perú I made granite or bronze sculptures

that could way two tons, and here it is impossible because it is very expensive,” García

explained.

“I began with small sculptures and I developed a technique with paper that was much

less expensive and easier to transport. I had to use my South American craftiness to create

things. I dedicated myself to figurative abstraction, some are 3 feet, others 80 centimeters to a

meter and they weigh some 200 to 400 grams,” adds the artist clearly satisfied.

“I don’t work with paper mache, but with a different form: I adhere small pieces or scraps

of paper with glue and I start shaping it. I have a series of 10 or 12 sculptures at the moment for

exposition,” he confirms with an indecipherable glow in his eyes.

He has used paper made with rice (Asian) in a work with a Japanese woman as a

model; he also created a head made out of newspaper. In an experimental way he submerged

paper in mate (a popular Argentine drink), “really strong, so that it would leave its tint…things of

the sort, simple, but that grasp a concept,” he says.

Now with this technique he makes sculptures of almost any size, very light, because

they are hollow and with a result that is calling the attention and selling in the expositions he has

had.

Commencing on July 17 and through September, there is an exhibition of his sculpture

at the Oslyn Gallery in New York. He came to Chicago to contact two galleries that showed

interest in his work and he will return in September as a guest of round table forum of Latin

American art, an event organized by the Peruvian Art Society of Chicago, which writers,

authors, film directors and sculptors will attend.

García, aside from showing part of his work, will speak about the innovations of his field

in the international environment. [copyright symbol] La Raza (“The Race”)

[PHOTOGRAPH OF A SCULPTURE]

[Photograph caption: One of the abstract works of Oscar García which we will soon see in

Chicago]

[Photograph: Courtesy of the Oslyn Gallery of New York]

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