Wk 4-Artist Conversation-Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah

Artist: Elmer Guevara and Rober Nehemiah
Paints, Canvas, Tarp

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Robert Nehemiah, the artist of the pieces on cardboard and wood, previously studied to become a firefighter before he found his passion for art. He later dropped his career as a firefighter to become a full-time artist. Before transferring to CSULB, he studied at Rio Hando Junior College. This is his last semester here at CSULB; he will be graduating this spring. Robert explores the detachment from materialistic items in his art. Robert is also a huge Star Wars fan. Elmer on the other hand, was born with a passion and a drive to become an artist. He grew up doing graffiti art in Los Angeles and has a passion for street art. Elmer studied at East Los Angeles college before transferring to CSULB. 

Robert’s pieces are all paintings of people he knows, each of them inspiring him and helping him become the person and artist he is today. Each piece is painted on a non-typical surface such as cardboard or broken off pieces of wood. Each of these “canvases” were found in the streets of LA. Robert described the painting process as incredibly long because of the surfaces he is painting on aren’t primed. However, he chooses the surfaces he does to break away from expensive canvases. This is how Robert breaks away from materialism in his work. On the other hand, Elmer’s pieces each depict real people he has met in the streets of LA. Each person he meets he conducts an interview with them asking them their life stories. Elmer describes his work as a collage because he tries to incorporate the peoples movements and the movements around them into his work. 

Although different, both Robert’s and Elmer’s work evolve around breaking away from materialism. Robert shows this idea physically with his choices in canvases and Elmer shows it in his paintings. Robert chooses the canvases he does to show that nothing is forever. When painting on something like cardboard and wood that isn’t primed, the paint will eventually fade and or break down. His message is that you shouldn’t be caught up in materialistic items because nothing lasts forever. Elmer’s message in his art is similar to Robert’s. Being that his paintings are of people who live on the streets of LA, Elmer says that you don’t need fancy things to have a good life. He described all the people he met to have peace of mind and to be happy. 

This exhibition was amazing. The artwork showcased was nothing less than extraordinary in not only meaning, but artistic ability as well. Both Robert’s and Elmer’s paintings were incredibly realistic and life-like. In addition to the artwork displayed, there was a metal wire fence with a wind screen on it dividing the Immaterial exhibition from the exhibition on the other side of the Gatov gallery. This fence was also taken from the streets of Los Angeles. The atmosphere of the gallery truly felt like Los Angeles. I can resonate with Robert’s and Elmer’s message of Immaterial because I also think that as a society we should detach from materialistic items. 


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