Rancho Mirage Art Affaire Attracts International Field

Pre-show gallery creates buzz before the event



Brazilian artist Mario Cespedes stands between two of his mixed media paintings, including "El Dorado" (on the right), the mythical city of gold.

Marcia Gawecki photos

 

Mario Cespedes left Bolivia as a teenager to ink out a living in Sao Paolo, Brazil, selling his paintings on Sundays in the park.

Sometimes, the then 15 year old would sell a large painting for $100 to an American tourist, while other days he would go home empty-handed.

Today, he lives a world away in La Quinta, preparing for the 13th annual Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, Nov. 9-10, at Whitewater Park.

Cespedes, along with Mia Luzajic and Marley Wong, were selected to be part of a three-week artist-in-residence program at a temporary art gallery at The River in Rancho Mirage.

Breaking New Ground

This is the first year the Art Affaire has hosted an artist-in-residence.

“It’s worked out really well,” said Michael Schlange, an events specialist for the City of Rancho Mirage. “We wanted to generate excitement in the weeks leading up to the festival.”

William Shinsky, executive director of the Coachella Valley Art Center, was part of the selection process.

“We picked them on their quality of work, variety and their ability to participate,” Shinsky says.

The Art Affaire Gallery is open to the public from 3-8 p.m. daily. Anyone can walk in and see the artists at work.

Several artists told Shinsky that having a separate gallery space before the event was the best thing ever.

“It gives lesser-known artists like Mia the chance to showcase their work,” he says.

Mia Luzajic (pictured right) earned her masters in printmaking from the University of Belgrade, and has worked as a graphic designer of Serbian postage stamps. With her easel and large linotype-printing machine, there wasn’t much room in her Belgrade apartment to create.

She has exhibited internationally, including group shows in Turkey, Peru, Mexico and Germany.  She now lives in Rancho Mirage with her husband (also from Belgrade).

The three artists have taken a week each to demonstrate their work. Luzajic, who creates colorful Mediterranean-inspired landscapes, was first, and spent time drawing by the window.

Cespedes will be next, and plans to set up his easel in the middle of the room. At age 68, he’s beyond being shy about his work.

Reflections of the Rainforest

Cespedes has also exhibited internationally, including Brazil, France, Germany and NYC. The Amazon Rainforest inspires many of his mixed-media paintings, where he combines animals with native mythology.

He applies layers of translucent acrylic gels on canvases that have been pre-treated with texture. Some of the animals overshadow the humans. In “Celebration,” Cespedes tells the story about a boy who is tasked to find a new place for his tribe. Since the boy relies on the bird to help him, it is much larger on the canvas.

Besides depicting the beauty of the Rainforest, Cespedes also uses his paintings to battle “tricky politicians, pollution and deforestation.” Cespedes still maintains a studio in Manaus, a fishing village in the Brazilian Rainforest.

“There’s no TV there, so parents tell stories to their children,” Cespedes says. “Somehow these stories are transported into my paintings.”

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

 

VIDEO: Artist Mario Cespedes shows two of his latest creations.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Jane Lynch, The von Trapps, Ingudesman & Joo Lead Picks for McCallum's 2015-16 Season

Mitch Gershenfled’s successful track record in booking shows audiences love led him to establish “Mitch’s Picks” to showcase artists the public may not be familiar with appearing at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

Lilly Pulitzer for Target Home Collection to Hit Greater Palm Springs Stores

With the countdown underway to the Lilly for Target launch in the wee hours of April 19, it’s time to make your prioritized selections from the official Lookbook and create an action plan.

Soukie Modern Clutch Handbags Compliment Coachella Fest Scene

Soukie Modern, the company that launched a boutique line of imported vintage Moroccan rugs and home goods, has expanded its line to include one-of-a-kind handbags perfect for this year’s Coachella Music Festival scene.

Rosie Casals Promotes Junior Tennis Program With Palm Desert Tournament

Tennis legend Rosie Casals' company, Sportswoman, Inc., will host the inaugural Rosie Casals & Jackie Cooper Invitational on April 26 to honor the late Cooper and promote junior tennis.

Keith Sweat Brings Distinct Voice to Spotlight 29 Casino

From the New York Stock Exchange working as a commodities broker assistant to singing at clubs at night, Keith Sweat paid his dues, found his passion in music, and never looked back.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags