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Rafael Melendez
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant



ARTIST STATEMENT: I am a lifelong visual artist and have primarily worked in drawing and painting with forays into collage and the art zine. Figures that are often multi-limbed and feminine, alien and human emerge in much of my work. I draw and paint the language of New York’s artworld, its queer culture makers, everyday gossip and strife in an effort to combine my chosen craft and rigorous studio practice, with my humor and worldview. While I am proudly Latino, born in California’s Central Valley and raised in Texas, my work focuses not on my ethnic or cultural history but instead on the critical and sensual eye I have developed in the past fifteen years spent as a New Yorker. For many years, I did not show work or pursue a traditional art career even as my East Village living room served as both my studio and storage. I was intent on making art, seeing as much art as I could and living as an artist on my own terms. I did not seek funding or residencies, instead I worked a grueling if lucrative job as a high-end bartender, paying for art supplies and books myself. A health and financial crisis and a whirlwind romance-now-marriage resulted in my refocusing on bringing my work into the world. To sum up my artistic statement and worldview, I would have to state this about my art:
It's not traditional.
It's not commercial.
It's informed by my rich experience.
I'm fully committed to it.
I have been all my life.
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  • Vesey
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    22 x 14 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It is intended as a study for a future monumental wall drawing in the style of Sol LeWitt.

  • Grande Odalisque
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    20 x 16 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It is intended as a study for a future monumental wall drawing in the style of Sol LeWitt.

  • Madame Reiset
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    20 x 16 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It is intended as a study for a future monumental wall drawing in the style of Sol LeWitt.

  • The Snake Charmer
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    20 x 16 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It is intended as a study for a future monumental wall drawing in the style of Sol LeWitt.

  • Door Knocker
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    13.75 x 11 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It is intended as a study for a future monumental wall drawing in the style of Sol LeWitt.

  • Dystopians
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a couple cohabiting a shared existence in a dystopian society. Made while visiting London.

  • Dystopians II
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils and graphite on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a family cohabiting a shared existence in a dystopian society. Made while visiting Lond

  • Dystopians III
    2016
    Graphite on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized graphite drawing. It's an abstract depiction of a community cohabiting a shared existence in a dystopian society. Made while visiting London.

  • Dystopians IV
    2016
    Graphite on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with graphite on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a neighbors cohabiting a shared existence in a dystopian society. Made while visiting London.

  • Spider Belly III
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a stylized spider belly. Made while visiting London.

  • Spider Belly II
    2016
    Color Pencil on paper
    11.75 x 8.25 inches
    This is a medium sized drawing made with color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a stylized spider belly. Made while visiting London.

  • Plug
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    10 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a plug.

  • Mount
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    10 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of something heavy sitting (mounted) on a parking meter.

  • Secret Garden
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    10 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a secret garden.

  • Big Lips
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    10 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a pink flamingo with his "lips" stuck to the ground.

  • Hemipene Squamata
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    5 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a male snake and it's hemipenis.

  • Empty Vessel
    2016
    Color Pencil and graphite on paper
    8.5 x 11 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with graphite and color pencils on paper. It's an abstract depiction of a spent Rock fan after a concert.

  • Oppisites
    2016
    Color Pencil, pen, acrylic paint on inkjet drawing
    11 x 8.5 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with color pencils, pen and acrylic paint on inkjet drawing. It's an abstract drawing of how I saw the world days after the 2016 election.

  • Dancing in Lines
    2016
    Color Pencil, pen, acrylic paint on inkjet drawing
    11 x 8.5 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with color pencils, pen and acrylic paint on inkjet drawing. It's an abstract drawing of how I saw the world days after the 2016 election.

  • Eye
    2016
    Ink pen on paper
    10 x 7 inches
    This is a small sized drawing made with ink pen on paper. It's an abstract drawing a stylized "eye" resting on the floor facing down.
 








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