Recently, I was invited to participate in a Career Day event hosted by Northern Virginia Family Services. The event brought together professionals from various fields; a videographer, a reporter, an event promoter, a financial analyst, a policeman and myself – a contemporary artist. The event was hosted to inform youth, at risk of becoming involved in gang activities, of career opportunities. I took with me a selection of paintings, which were placed around the room. I gave a brief history of my artistic life, and talked about key points of my creative process and techniques. Later I had a chance to meet with the students and answer their questions. I’m hoping that the participants were able to get something from my words, and my paintings, and that I might have influenced them to make a turn for the better.

I grew up in a small town where electricity was a luxury. In pitch-dark nights, my mom took me outside to contemplate the stars, and I would make fanciful configurations with the constellations. She has told me that she knew then that I was an artist; that she was aware of my sense of wonder and curiosity at nature and the universe. My view in the morning was equally inspiring. I woke to un-obstructed panoramic views of glorious sun rises, with their ever changing warm color compositions. The morning and the evening both guided me to the path of creativity, and made me appreciative of the transformative powers of the elements. To this day, nature is a springboard for my imagination. The morphing of the clouds in a semi-clear blue sky, and the scribbles left on the beach by thousand of tiny snails after a receding tide, are inspirations for the inexhaustible nature that I reference in my work.

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Drawing has been a critical part of my artistic development. During my elementary school years, I drew not just for the simple pleasure of it, but for my teachers. My teachers would request my assistance in executing all kinds of drawings on black boards. There were many times when my lessons were interrupted by a teacher walking into the classroom, asking for my assistance in another room. Drawing then was about depicting what I saw; now my work is solely about expression. I aim for non-objectivity as much as possible, hoping that my state of mind will surface in the work. I enable this transparency by working with scribbles – indistinct markings that generate a collective energy, motion, and image. Sometimes figures find their way into the final product. I’m not sure if the scribbles are gravitating to or away from figures, or a literal representation. My drawings are warm ups for my paintings. I am likely to carry some of the gestures on into my paintings.

Texture is an overriding trait in most of my paintings. I get a lot of satisfaction at not being able to tell for certain the surface of a painting. I use all kinds of paints mixed with spices and coffee grounds to achieve a somewhat gritty and sandy texture. In the past, I’ve used cinnamon, ginger, turmeric – which have distinctive scents. I enjoy that the outcome of those works are a gift for the sense of sight, and also a gift to the sense of smell.

Currently I spend much of my time working in my studio in Columbia Heights, in Northwest, Washington, DC. I’m working with inks, dyes, acrylics and oils on a variety of surfaces. My desire is to communicate with the viewer my deep and profound appreciation of the exuberance of the human experience. I believe that the emergence of expression is a central element of my humanity. My artistic process is an essential part of my emergence as a human; I hope that my work inspires the emergence of others. It is satisfying for me as an artist to engage with that intent as I create. Works can be seen at my studio by appointment and at my web site.

Growing up in El Salvador, attending Art School at Bucknell University, and living in the United States for thirty years, are integral factors that have contributed to my artistic development and my ability to communicate. I have shown at Moore College of Art and Design, The Drawing Center and Columbia University. More recently, I participated in Artomatic 2009 and contributed paintings for Art Without Frontiers, a show held at The Mexican Cultural Institute. To view some of my works go to www.cascoart.com, or contact me at chamba321@aol.com

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Salvador, I have been around the world many times, and is just in few occasions that I stop to write a comment about something. but your work is fantastic. I was not able to resist the temptation to give you my comment- it feels that I am in another dimension so close to the Universe. Probably God is waiting for you to draw for him a new Universe or a new Galaxy. My deepest respect to such a great artist, for your vast experience and your discipline.-

  2. Outstanding work, you are an amazing artist Salvador- your article is great and your work inspired me to continue with my true profession to become some day a great artist as you are…- Great Article

  3. Thanks, Salvador, for your contributions to art and to the community. Your article, as well as the art itself, convey your amazing spirit.

  4. Salvador,
    Your work is amazing and your story is inspiring! Thanks for all you do for the Latino community. You are truely an example of success. Saludos

  5. Salvador,
    On behalf of the youth and staff of NVFS’ IPE program mil gracias and THANK YOU so much for your willingness to share not only your beautiful art, but also your time and your story, at our “Youth Career Day”. The youth who particapted let us know that they learned a lot from you, and were also very inspired to pursue thier goals after talking with you – thanks to you they were able to see their own dreams as possible to accomplish. You are truly an inspiration in many ways, and we appreciate you for giving your time to make a difference in our community!

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