Saturday, 4/24/10: Diane Rios

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Stenciling is well-known among graffiti and street artists, but isn’t seen a lot in fine art. Diane Rios’ piece stood out today with her multi-layered stenciling technique. Taught to her by Long Beach artist Victor Gastelum, stenciling is Diane’s favorite medium. She was originally inspired by elegant political posters she saw when she was a student in France, but has been living in and inspired by Oregon for years.

Animals, nature and the beauty of architecture stir Diane as a person and artist. She makes the animals in her work relatable to humans, in hopes that humans can identify and respond to animals as an individual, perhaps even learn from them. The serene appearance of her work easily communicates her goals.

Today was the first time Diane had stenciled on canvas. She said she liked the texture it added to the piece and was excited to try it again. On the canvas were three beautifully rendered horses consisting of three main colors and seven layers of paint. Diane’s process was to draw an original sketch and make as many photocopies of the drawing that she planned on having layers, with a few extras in case of mistakes. Non-archival paper was used for the photocopies – “The stencils stay nice for years as long as you lay them flat and don’t put anything on them while they’re wet,” Diane says. She then cuts through the paper where she wants the paint to come through and sprays each layer on top of the other from the base up, waiting for the previous layer to dry before she puts the next one on. Diane likes to add texture by splattering some of the paint across the canvas. In this case, it was a silver paint on a grey horse, which lit up the piece in the light. The way she puts the paint on her canvas is light and careful, with almost no overspray.

Aside from stencils, Diane enjoys drawings, watercolors and monotypes. Right now she is working on a children’s book about a hound dog that wants to be a photographer. Although working at Powell’s takes up a lot of her time, Diane would love to start illustrating magazines and children’s books more often in the future.

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