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By Eric A. Eliason

Jesus, matadors, panthers, bandits, Indians, motion picture stars, waifs, and, in fact, Elvis are well-known 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 assessment of this covertly-loved and overtly-reviled tradition.

In cooperation with a community of artists, creditors, importers, and gallery proprietors in Tijuana, la, Seattle, and Calgary, this e-book attracts from the biggest survey of velvet portray ever undertaken. The booklet strains velvet's ancient improvement as a people paintings formed via either indigenous traditions in addition to Western patron 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, type and flavor problem paintings as a client phenomenon, democratic spirit faces down elitism, replica questions originality, and sexuality seduces and provokes religiosity.

What is most vital approximately black velvet paintings to many americans 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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He shared his special find with some friends who laughed at this cultured man’s unexpected descent into bad taste. ” Nuts? Maybe. Overmedicated? Probably. A velvet portrait of collector Rick Smith. But Rick was certainly not joking or trying to be cynically hip; he’d truly found something that brought light into his life during a vulnerable time when he very much needed a distraction. “I’ll show them,” he said to himself. indd 41 10/20/10 1:56 PM typical Mexican one—a desert scene with a guy on a motorbike.

Virtually every shop in Tijuana displays his work, and gallery owners say his paintings are among their best-selling. His style is unmistakable. He often paints with only white paint, and while he focuses on familiar themes—iconic portraits mostly—he does so with an organic angularity and bold lines that define distinct edges as well as the planes and crags of his subjects’ faces. ” While Romero is manifestly not appropri- ating velvet popular art for high art ironic purposes, he is not against pushing the popular Tijuana velvet scene in new directions now that he is an accepted part of it.

Felix maintains a studio apartment separate from his home that he actually uses as a studio. Paints, frames, and velvet canvases occupy every inch of one room; a palm topiary and couch for napping dominate the other. Felix has been painting velvet since the 1960s. When the 1974–75 velvet craze hit, he moved to the United States for a while to follow the money. 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.

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