PEOPLE OF COLOR series
RAD in Kindergarten
Originally from Los Angeles, RAD is an artist and educator based in Harlem, New York. He’s been teaching art to children since he graduated with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in Art Education from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
RAD creates paintings, collages, murals, printmaking, digital and mixed-media pieces which aims to stay true to the spirit and vitality of one’s youth. It’s an ethos that is exemplified in his character Forever Young, a walking LEGO minifigure wearing a blue suit and briefcase enjoying a popsicle.
ARTIST STATEMENT (In his own words)
Teaching art to young students affected me and my art work. I started to see the world through their eyes. I naively hoped that racism, sexism, homophobia and climate change would end in their lifetimes. That obviously didn’t happen.
I soon started to use child-related imagery in my own art, like toys, as a way to speak to these issues. My work explores the challenges inherent in hoping for a better future.
ABOUT 'TOYLAND WARS' SERIES
Children make up stories while playing with toys to try to make sense of their world. In this story, toys live peacefully in a place called Toyland.
The series is based on the inserurrection of the capital of the United States of America on January 6, 2021. In this "what if" narrative, what if the toy green army sides with the insurectionists, attacking the town in a series of battles, each one gaining closer to their goal of securing city hall. The rest of the toys in Toyland, who normally keep to themselves in their own neighborhoods, for example, dolls, action figures, building toys, board games and stuffies live isolated from each other, must decide to band together and fight their common enemy.
Paintings and drawings feature battle scenes in moments of solidarity and desperation.
ABOUT 'RADDINGTON FALLS'
Having immigrated from Cuba, RAD's mother would watch daytime soap operas to learn English. The characters, plots and world building had an impression on RAD at an early age. He eventually developed the idea of fictitious town of Raddington Falls where his cast of LEGO minifigures would live and carry out an ever changing narrative. The town seems ideal on the outside, yet there is more under the surface. It is a story yet to be told.