Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Franck de Las Mercedes

Marilyn Monroe
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 in.
collection of IMAGINARY-MUSEUM, Japan
-Fair use-

"My work is a personal exploration of my psyche and the emotions that emerge in the present, triggered by memory or current experiences. Observing my feelings and body sensations without questioning them or intellectualizing them, allows me to release the strength of those emotions onto the surface." (Franck de Las Mercedes)

Franck de Las Mercedes (1972-), born in Nicaragua and raised in New York City, a self-taught artist, is highly recognized for his multi-faceted artistic output in recent years.

At the age of twelve, he and his family fled their home in Nicaragua. The country had just emerged from a civil war and was in the midst of the rising Contra conflict of the early 1980s. Forced to leave relatives behind, they relocated to the Washington Heights neighborhood in upper Manhattan to start a new life.

With a self-obtained education, straight from the aisles of the New York City Public Library, he divides his works into different categories: abstract, figurative, portraits, and particular series, such as his ongoing project The Priority Boxes. With this last project in particular, which begun in 2006, he has garnered much attention from the media and public, as it directs attention to issues such as peace, justice, love, and the possibility of effecting change on a community.

His approach blends raw, expressionistic compositions, non-traditional handling of materials, and bursting colors that recall Nicaragua’s vibrancy and tropical exuberance. His art combines expressionism, photography and collage to illustrate the aftermath of emotionally charged experiences and depictions of how he sees the world around him.

Franck and his work have been featured on numerous national and international television and radio shows. He's also been featured in prestigious publications including, Selecciones (Reader's Digest), Art Business News, Hispanic Magazine, SoulPancake, Museum VIEWS, American Style and The Artist's magazine. In 2012, his portrait of Francisco de Quevedo was acquired by Fundacion Francisco de Quevedo for their permanent collection in Ciudad Real, Spain. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo shows and group shows around the world.

In 2006, he initiated The Priority Boxes Art Project a peace initiative that has evolved into a movement now embraced by popular culture, mainstream media outlets, schools and art educators across America. From his small studio near the Hudson River, he ships abstractly painted, seemingly empty boxes with a label that reads: ≪Fragile, handle with care: Contains peace≫ to people around the world. The boxes aim to spark dialogue and challenge people to reconsider their ability to influence change and question the fragility, value and priority given to concepts such as peace. He has shipped more than 12,300 boxes to countries and cities across the globe from urban and rural America to Asia and South Africa. “The Peace Boxes” have traveled the globe, been taught in classrooms and featured on the iconic LED screens of Times Square.

On Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 a massive five alarm fire ripped through his home and his art studio. Escaping the flames with only the clothes on his back, the fire destroyed his entire life's work and possesions.