Disney’s subtle innuendos aren’t so subtle anymore. Artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros challenges the conventions of household Disney character’s in his latest exhibition at Le Luz De Jesus Gallery, Profanity Pop. The artist takes mainstream childhood imagery and inserts contemporary themes such as plastic surgery, gay marriage and drug use. The show definitely challenges the way the media and pop culture are presented to and how they influence the masses. It’s just nice to step away a bit and see Cinderella being a bad, bad girl. We got a chance to ask José more about his work + life:
LA CANVAS MAGAZINE: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
JOS´E RODOLFO LOAIZA ONTIVEROS: I am an artist from Mexico. I paint topical scenarios that incorporate beloved characters as a form of social criticism.
LAC: What are the main musings behind ‘Profanity Pop’?
JRLO: Profanity Pop is a celebration of creative freedom in our time that incorporates Mythology, Religion and the representation of power as manifested in the great works from antiquity. With Profanity Pop, I pay tribute to specific historical works that have inspired not only myself, but many generations. These universal themes are once again narrated by beloved animated characters, but in the guise of the divine and with all the fragility of martyrs. Away from the paradise of happy endings, the pastel sprinkled drama takes on a vulnerability that juxtaposes subversively with situations never similarly interpreted.
LAC: It is apparent that your work is Disney-centric. What fascinates you about this type of imagery?
JRLO: I grew up watching cartoons, and animation was my introduction to the visual arts. As is often the case with early influences, the characters appeared in formal projects much later. In 2007 I began a project that would become the focus of my work to date, where these characters and our ‘Social Disenchantment’ were the protagonists. There is an aesthetic that is both appealing and appalling about unrealistically happy endings. They can be inspiring, but also insipid. Dichotomy is fundamentally interesting.
LAC: There is also an LGBT theme in your work. How does that aspect relate to the Disney theme?
JRLO: We are no longer in the Dark Ages. I think art should be frank, not hypocritical, and I present subject matter that is considered inappropriate by some people in an effort to get them to see things in a different perspective. The things that we never talked about have become quite topical, and this generation mustn’t be afraid to confront bigotry and misunderstanding square-on. If we are to believe in happy endings, we must believe in happy endings for everyone, not just a single group, whether the majority or not.
LAC: What’s it like being part of the art scene here in LA?
JRLO: I’m not an L.A. artist. I live in Mexico, but I love visiting Los Angeles, and I always make a special trip to Disneyland when I’m here.
Check out “Profanity Pop” at La Luz de Jesus Gallery — ongoing until August 31st, 2014