Labor of Love – A Collection of Works by Bay Area Artist Steven Vasquez Lopez
When one looks at a quilt, it’s hard to not feel a sense of nostalgia when gazing at the patchwork patterns of fabric. The different colors and designs of each patch, when stitched together, create a larger piece, incorporating each different patch into something whole and complete.
The history of quilting is something centuries old. Different cultures have explored this medium, using the versatile fabric most notably in the home space.
Steven Vasquez Lopez and his Ink Quilts
Bay Area artist, Steven Vasquez Lopez has created a body of work that puts a modern spin on this traditional art form. His series, titled ‘Labor of Love’, is indeed a labor of love, as his works reflect the past traditions of quilt making and his own personal connection to fabric making as a whole.
At the age of 10 in Guadalajara, Lopez’s mother worked in a textile factory in order to earn her own money. Lopez, growing up within a family who have labored for years and years over textile works, is very much at home with fabric and thread. When speaking with Lopez, he reminisced that “as a child, I remember sitting around on the floor while my mom was sewing, and playing with the bits of thread that were broken off”. The image, of broken and unruly thread in fabric, is constantly repeated through Lopez’s work. This added touch makes his pieces seem less factory made, and more personal, as though you could see the marks left behind from the laborer of the piece.
A Twist on Tradition – How Steven Vasquez Lopez crafts his own ink on paper “quilts”
Bay Area artist Steven Vasquez Lopez creates a body of work that has a modern twist on the cultural tradition of quilting. He does so by using ink pens on paper, as opposed to patches of fabric and thread. For example, one of Lopez’s pieces ‘Go Big And Come Home” is a 42” x 240” scroll of paper currently hung from the ceiling in the IS: Fine Art & Design Gallery space. What spans the massive length of this paper are 7”x 7” diamonds of ink drawn patches taking on a variety of different patterns and colors. Some patches are drawn in a way to create brightly colored plaid patterns, while others are full of stripes and delicate line work in alternating colors. Steven Vasquez Lopez chooses to work in these bright colors because he wants to treat these pieces as a “celebration of labor” paying homage and honoring the hard work of these marginalized individuals who spend countless hours painstakingly working for impossibly low wages in the textile industry.
One of the most unique things about these pieces is how Lopez crafts these drawings, as though he were weaving a pattern. He “weaves” in these 14 different colors in a way that not only provides the illusion that the artist is using multiple shades of the same color, but in a way that actually looks as though the piece is a woven textile work. For example, when Lopez is figuring out how to create an ombre effect in his work (when the color changes from one darker pigment to a lighter pigment), he says he starts to treat it as though it’s a math equation. “Figuring out ombre… its like math –there are formulas in a way”. Lopez describes the experience as though he’s starting to work with a mathematic formula, drawing one line and weaving it with the next color, finding his way as he goes.
To add a more natural look to many of the pieces, Lopez incorporates threaded fragments that seem to unwind from the piece, leaving a small imperfect thread mark along the drawing.
On Display At IS: Fine Art & Design
Steven Vasquez Lopez’s work is currently on display at IS: Fine Art and Design, located in the heart of Noe Valley.
His current exhibition will stay until September 1st, and then it will be replaced by a new series that he is currently working on.
Overall, the First Friday Opening event featuring the works of Steven Vasquez Lopez was a success, as many people from all over the bay area came to the gallery to get a glimpse at his amazing and heartfelt pieces.