Good art, I believe, should punch you in the face. Maybe it's just my masochistic tendencies, or affinity for the slightly offensive, but pretty landscapes and bowls of fruit just don't rev my engine.
Local artist Cymon Padilla seems to be of a similar mindset. His smash-mouth style comes off like a loud and rowdy upstairs neighbor who's just too attractive to hate. And in only his second solo show, he's bringing his visual barbs to S.P.Q.R. and being asked to hang with local luminary Phil Lear, who's exhibiting next door at the Modbo.
Padilla, a 32-year-old Colorado Springs native, has been toying with art his entire life. But it wasn't until six years ago, while working at a natural food grocer and attending Pikes Peak Community College, that he found his calling in art classes. Later, he became acquainted with Brett Andrus, co-founder of Modbo and S.P.Q.R., who, after seeing some of his work, invited Padilla to show.
For Remix, Padilla has created 14 new works. "My style is more 'realistic figurative,'" he explains. "I'm really interested in lots of color, so I bring just a lot of content into a piece and see how it plays together. It's really absurdist."
At first glance, his works look like conglomerations of the most random stuff his mind could conjure — a woman ironing a lake; wild animals hanging around a flooded General Palmer statue at Platte and Nevada — but there is a method to his madness. One painting, which he calls "Piss Charlie," is Charlie Brown in a jar of urine.
"It's an art history reference," he explains laughingly. "It's the most risqué one I've done. There was this photographer [Andres Serrano] who dipped a plastic crucifix in a jar of urine. In a secular age, I guess I was trying to find another [revered] symbol and put him in urine."
Overall his works have received positive responses, but "I've heard some people say that it's really disturbing, or something to that effect ... I think it's kind of funny, but at least it has an impact."