Feria Pre-ambulo San Sebastián, Plaza Las Americas 2008

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After having been absent from this fair for a number of years I finally decided to try it out again after accepting their invitation to participate. I did not prepare with a ton of stuff as I normally would have done in the past. In the good old days I would have prepared a large presentation with six foot racks for hanging many paintings and taken numerous works of the 16”x 20” size and larger and elaborate decorations for the table. Following my instincts, which have always been my savior, I went minimal. One table, no racks and few large works.
I was somewhat surprised at the lack of bureaucracy at this event. Usually there is a ton of it with a lot of hair-splitting. It probably had something to do with the economy. I was not surprised that a large number of artist did not attend. This fair is always planned for right after 3 Kings, and before the San Sebastián fair in San Juan. Frankly speaking that is the worst possible time for such a fair. For one people are basically broke after the Christmas marathon of spending and are just beginning to make their first payments on their credit card purchases. For another it is one week before the really big fair in San Juan. This fair should really be scheduled for the Christmas season when people are in the buying mood and have money. The way it is it’s like we are being cast out there to pick over the bones of leftovers! A number of the artist usually send a helper to attend their table while they themselves continue to prepare for the Big Fair the following week. This proved to be the case with many of those who have their own galleries or large workshops.
The general mood was one of apprehension and nervous expectancy. A number of artisans have been forced to take on jobs to make ends meet and a few have even changes to other fields in the hopes of attracting the much needed client.
I did get to see a number of people I had not seen in a while. Many of the silk screen artist were there such as Jaime Cruz, Sixto Cotto and Roberto Matos, Oslvado de Jesus Cruz to name a few. There were beautiful examples of woodcut prints and one in particular by Omar Velazquez which dealt with the Police shooting of a civilian that took place this past year in Humacao. That was an incident that was captured on video and spread over the internet like wildfire. The Museo de la Universidad had purchased one of these prints for their collection. The print is a very bold and powerful statement of Police Brutality on the island. It is well worth keeping an eye on this young artist as he will most definitely be one of the great ones of the future. I am still hoping to obtain one of these prints.
Another woodcut artist of some renown was Ada Rosa Rivera Negron who also had some very powerful, moving pieces.
A young artist worth mentioning is Javier Alzérreca Frambes who works in oils and watercolors and has been involved in doing a series of paintings of ballet dancers. The works in themselves are splendid examples of oil paintings and he went one further by having the frames decorated with used ballet shoes from his wife, Francheska Castro Sitiriche who is a dancer and who I understand made the frames. I consider these to be pieces of museum quality which I hope will find their way there in the near future.
Also present was Lizette Lugo with her delightful silk screens and paintings.
As is my habit I never view these events as just events, rather I view them as an active participant in an historic event. These are the sort of things we read about in history books about artist from the past and wonder what it was like to have been there. Being the bohemian artist that I am I simply relish these moments.
I always attend these fairs with my wife Ely who is well known in the artisans circles for her delightful little paintings of Reinitas and bookmarks and has been attending these fairs for many years. We ended up with a very lively group in our section especially with the attendance of Toño, Roberto Matos’ helper. We had many laughs that will surely be future fond memories.

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I took my large painting of Mariana Bracetti for her debut and as has been the case with smaller versions it was well received by the public. Many people have come to expect my works of historical figures and they are slowly becoming a trademark of my presentations.
Since I have not been working with silk screen printing for some years I discovered from some of the artist that they have had to resort to purchasing materials in the states due to the scarcity of supplies here on the island. This situation is largely due to the fact that Poster Products, the distributor of silk screen materials finally closed down a while back.
While many artisans registered a number of sales it was not like the good old days. The timing of this fair as well as the continuing economic crisis that affects both the states and our island were evident. I got to speak with a retired government worker, a good friend of mine who told me that he had been warning people for some time now of the coming crisis and that oil would go to $100 a barrel. No one believed him, until now! His next analysis points to the outbreak of another war when oil hits $108 a barrel.
Well, so much for the economic situation. This coming Thursday is the start of the San Sebastián Fair in Old San Juan! This is the Great Event that all artist prepare for throughout the years. I will not be participating though I might take a swing around there to chat with some old friends and get involved in some Bohemianism! Ah yes, the life of an artist. I would not have had it any other way.
For those that are interested here are a few links for some of the artist:

Ada Rosa Rivera elstatus.com
Javier Alzérreca Frambes ncfh.org

Oslvado de Jesus Cruz jubileefineart.com

Roberto Matos puertoricanartsandcraft.com

Sixto Cotto     fosilarte.com

 Sixto Cotto    newpaltz.edu

Sixto Cotto     puertoricoartsandcraft.com

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3 Responses to “Feria Pre-ambulo San Sebastián, Plaza Las Americas 2008”

  1. JASON BRACETTI Says:

    i would like more info on mariana bracetti history please mail me with info.

    You can go to these links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Bracetti
    http://www.proyectosalonhogar.com/BiografiasPr/mariana_bracetti.htm
    Google Search

  2. Edith Bracetti Says:

    I would like to have Mariana Bracetti biography.My grandfather was Jose Miguel Bracetti and I think they were relative.

  3. Emeraude Says:

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be
    bookmarking and checking back often!

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