An LGBT figure artist well known over the past 20 years for his whimsical and erotic depictions of young boys searching for love and identity, Rene Capone is re-entering the art world with his first show in nearly six years after battling a chronic HIV-related health condition. The show is a love letter to someone special in his life, and a hopeful divergence from his earlier works of longing and despair, though his signature mythic qualities are more vibrant than ever. What happens when an artist finds true love? Capone shows us his journey from bruised to still breathing, taking us on the wild ride of his imagination. The Pride L.A. spoke with Capone to find out:
Tell me a little bit about your upcoming art show? What does it represent to you?
The show to me represents change. Artistic change and change of perspective on how I see the world. Change too me dose not feel gracefull rather more like overlapping patterns that crunch down on top of one another like boulders. This is why I called the show “Morié.”
After change, you might actually be all the better for it, mentally speaking or show up at dinner parties with all your limbs & that’s a wonderous thing. To me the shows say’s, I may have fell down but I also got back up.
Why an art show now after six years?
It’s the first time in six years that I have been physically able to really produce and show what I would consider to be a body artwprk worthy of being callled an “artshow.” There is a theme and a thread that runs through all images. I simply was just too injured before to acomplish this. Although I tried my best to keep up. I was involved in group shows in SF and I happy to have been but this is different. I also have not put most of the artwork up online or really dicsused it at length with my fans, not even my freinds becaue I wanted to have weight to it. If your going to drop a brick you might as well make it a cinder block. So right before the show opening I will post video of the show and go in to the images indepth online.
How has your health/battle with HIV shaped as an artist these past several years?
I took a drug called Truvada and it destroyed my bones as a side affect. My femur bones snapped and I had to have both my hip replacements I was 36 years old. I had become a working artist around the age of 22, right out of art school so it most certainly re shaped my life. I certainly was not going to be standing while I was drawing. All the surgeries took about five years and while I was struggling to keep up with my life basically my life fell apart. The company that makes that drug will be court all next year and probably for the next five years as it is now well known that they knew of the dangerous side affects of their medication all while keeping doctors and even the FDA in the dark for well over ten years. I learned to speak lawyer and I made sure I was legally present and represented in the first class action suit filed this year at the LA County court house. So it shaped my life physically it shaped my life by breaking my sense of right & wrong, and then it shaped my life by asking me the question, what are you gonna do about it? I did not have a battle with HiV, I had a battle with a corrupt evil corporation who made huge amounts of profits of the sufferings of human beings. Being a victim of it doesn’t bother me as much as having to grapple with the esistence of something so evil. There is a feeling of having the air taken out of ones lungs when you encounter malificent evil and it’s terrifying.
Is it reflected in your upcoming show?
My god yes! but hopefully for the greater good and for just some mental stability. One can take all the bad experiences they have in life and become bitter, angry and basiclly a big old Donna Downer that no one wants to be around. I just can’t be that person. Perhaps I’m just overly optomistic. So I went in search of source material that would give me back some of the innocence I felt was unessesarily ripped from my body.
I ended up finding old photopraphs from the Wiemer Replic in Germamy and there I discovered the romance of being a “figure painter” again.
Tell me a little bit about your style?
I’ve always drawn characters that give off emotion that for better or worse really attach themselves to people. Because I am me, it’s terrible hard to describe my style. There are tons of people who have done it for me, so it’s only fair I attempt to do it myself. Mysterious, emotional and like being trapped in the vibratto of a Judy Garland high note. I’m making dreams for people to get lost in.
How has it evolved over the years?
The layers of emotion have become more grounded. I’ve learned much about symbols, history & physcology and those subjects greatly inform and place my characters in worlds that although are not real, feel more acurate for them … and more fun for me. Being able to place my characters somewhere in time helps convey their messages.
What are some obstacles you find yourself overcoming as an artist of nearly two decades?
To not give up, to keep searching through the unknown. To be an artist is to keep a sense of wonder in the world around you and athough it may go unseen my most, it is most certainly is there. I myself an not amune to loosing that sense of discovery. So I have to search for it too. I have to lock myself in a room turn off all communication devices and do my job.
Why choose Long Beach for your art show?
Frankly. I just thought it looked lovely and it just so happened that I had made many artistic friends and commands down in Long Beach through The Out Loud LB festival who hinted there is something happening artistically here and I should check it out. It seemed to me to be a scene about to pop up out of it’s own box. Artists have away of knowing these things.
What do you want patrons to get out of your show?
To find the mystery of your own life, embrace and follow it like a fairy tale. Even when it’s hard it’s usually better than giving up on life.
I know the the characters I create through the expressions of their faces or the hinted nature of their back stories do actually inspire a change in perspective in viewers and this is something I would like to keep doing because it feels authentic.
Any suggestions for people trying to pursue their dreams?
You will never know if you do not try. Amazing things happen when an object or thought is put into motion. Things have away of falling into place even when they seem impossible.
Ok now as far as following your dreams – of I followed my dreams I would be on space ships hanging out with aliens in some bizarre war at the edge of the universe. These are my dreams and they are usually terrifying. NIghtly I am chased in spaace by aliens. I’m not so sure I’m ready for that yet. Let’s say follow your passions … or one of your reader might end up on Mars and I don’t feel like being held responsible.
The art show, “Morié: Evolution Under Pressure,” will have its opening reception on May 25th in Long Beach at the Hellada Gallery, from 6-9 p.m.