‘A Loss of Innocence’ is the solo exhibition by acclaimed Costa Rican artist, John Paul Fauves. Exploring hedonism and redemption, this show opens this week at the Guy Hepner gallery, NYC and is curated by the Tax Collection. John Paul is known to be a “neo-pop expressionist”, and in this exhibition he uses the icon of innocence, Disney’s Mickey and merges with the faces of flawed public figures such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. This is in the form of 13 paintings and also 350 masks, which are encouraged to be worn during the exhibition. Ultimately, John Paul wants us to question humanity as we mature, becoming increasingly desensitized as we grow further away from our childhood innocence. We sit down with the artist to learn about his new solo.
I remember drawing since I was really young; I still have the image of an apple tree I drew when I was 5. It was hanging on the fridge of the house – it made me feel proud. I kept drawing as I grew up, but it wasn’t until I was in High School that I was recommended to join the IB (International Bachelor) Advanced Art Program. Joaquin Rodriguez del Paso became my teacher, a renowned artist that was arriving from Parsons NYC who opened my artistic potential.
‘A Loss of Innocence’, what is this exhibition about?
It’s a solo show in Guy Hepner gallery NYC curated by Tax Collection. The main theme is the loss of innocence we all experience in our lifetime. Everybody is going to be using hand-made masks with the intention to separate the spectator from the external world. The main goal is to create an atmosphere where no one can judge or be judged, liberating fears we carry from this superficial society. This and the feelings you can get from each art piece, are just part of my search with the audience of our essence lost in the turbulence of society.
Innocence – you’ve based a whole show in it, what does this mean to you?
I think innocence is the essence of our soul and who we truly are before we start becoming this label of the egocentric world. It is what we were before the system and society got to us. I think that we never lose our innocence, we just don’t see it because of all the layers of existence we created. The idea is that through evolved choices, we redeem and go back to our natural state.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Daily actions govern my inspiration, I believe that our brain is like a radio antenna and that you have to tune into the right frequency, then the inspiration arrives from a higher power.
Which artists have impacted on your career?
Jean M. Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Willem de Kooning, Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
What’s your method of working?
I’m constantly searching for new ideas; I have learned that it’s in the simple daily stuff that much can be learned. Once I have an idea or vision of what I want to create, I usually sketch it first and bring to life what is in my head. Then I bring this to a big format on canvas and use acrylic paint, mostly with spray paint, Chinese ink and most recently resin. I love texture so I use a lot of paint and energy in expressing my strokes.
What’s next for you?
After this show, we will go to Belgium in June and we are negotiating a couple more destinations to close the innocence art tour. I’ll then be onto my next project.