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By Eric A. Eliason

Jesus, matadors, panthers, bandits, Indians, motion picture stars, waifs, and, in fact, Elvis are famous icons of the oft-despised, uber-kitsch artwork type of black velvet portray. In Black Velvet Art writer Eric A. Eliason and photographer Scott Squire current a entire evaluation of this covertly-loved and overtly-reviled tradition.

In cooperation with a community of artists, creditors, importers, and gallery proprietors in Tijuana, l. a., Seattle, and Calgary, this e-book attracts from the biggest survey of velvet portray ever undertaken. The publication strains velvet's ancient improvement as a people artwork formed via either indigenous traditions in addition to Western client expectancies in such markets because the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and especially the U.S./Mexico border and the black velvet capital of Tijuana. In black velvet, category and flavor problem artwork as a client phenomenon, democratic spirit faces down elitism, replica questions originality, and sexuality seduces and provokes religiosity.

What is most important approximately black velvet paintings to many american citizens is its signaling of the nadir of undesirable flavor. Black velvet is the ''anti-art'' in lots of methods. Eliason seeks to discover how and why black velvet serves this functionality and to ascertain methods it merits a sparkling redemption.

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Dick Cheney hides Bill’s shotgun blast–scarred arm—a memento, he’ll proudly explain, of a Venice Beach carjacking gone bad. indd 39 10/25/10 2:48 PM Ricardo and Danny Molina at the 1996 Republican Convention (photograph courtesy of William Travis Robison). “The plan was to have Ricardo and Danny let slip to buyers that they might have come across the border illegally to be at the convention and hint that their operation was somehow linked with a Mexican Mafia family and see how the conservative convention goers reacted.

You know it is funny that Americans come to Tijuana to see Mexico, but this is the most American part of the country. The people here think like Americans. It’s always commerce all the time, always business. They own shops and think about profits and work. This defines the art scene here, too. ” Facing page: top: Romero, center, with gallery-owner family friends. bottom: Some of Romero’s portraiture: Geronimo and Jim Morrison. indd 33 11/4/10 4:04 PM Felix and the Corvette he customized himself circa 1975.

In Las Vegas, a casino hired him as an artist-in-residence to sell velvet to tourists. “I made so much money back then. I worked all day every day and people would watch me paint. With me they got a real piece of art, not like those factory paintings you could get back then where people with no skill would each paint one color of the piece. Still today, out on the street, some guys do it wrong and push the brush too hard. indd 35 Felix works on a Tupac portrait in his studio. By the early 1980s, the velvet fad had passed, and Felix was painting more store and restaurant signs than he was velvet.

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