Frank Vega, is an Ecuadorian-born artist currently living in Chicago. He received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Vega's artwork deals with topics concerning identity and his different cultural background. The various paintings and sculptures Vega creates allows for a new look into ourselves and people we encounter every day.
Why settle with one reality when you can have multiple? This question led me to interrogate my work, which explores the relationship between humankind and its connection to the physical world, physiology, and culture to form identity. In the present day, many artists explore the genre of portrait representation to understand better ourselves often breaking tradition. The exploration of art making has adopted new ways of making and thinking about what we want to communicate, presenting new techniques, mediums, and theories.
My mission focuses on how people can experience the world through different views. This way, we will better understand the historical, social, and cultural context of our time.
When I paint, I start with structural marks that ground the composition’s overall look. These marks stay away from natural human appearances to let the paint and process reveal new characteristics. The introduction of playful marks against disjoined odd ones brings equilibrium and diversity that showcases chaos, while simultaneously unraveling hope. For me, the combination of dissimilar marks represents our different bodies and how they exist within the environment. The search for new representations of what is uncommonly familiar comes from my own experience of moving to a new country having to interact with people from distinct cultures, appearances, and social status.
My work often represents children, young adults, and adults sharing the same space, to depict their different confidence and experience levels. These figures also reflect a stage where they are more aware of their bodies and their surroundings. This new figuration of characters presents a reflection of a model for living in this modern world though leaning and sharing their differences.
Though my paintings and sculptures, you can also see topics of race and class by putting figures into spaces where they did not exist before. I use classical paintings or sculptures to base my composition, but it differs since these portraits present people of color and sometimes including their traditional clothing. This approach is done to challenge and complicates the tradition of portraiture to bring issues of race, power, and politics to the fourth front. Some of the gestures bring questions about art institutions and their inclusion of people of color in their exhibitions. As an artist of color, I feel this is a unique approach because we don’t often find ourselves in these spaces.