The New Universal Super Hero on display in Santa Monica at the Patrick Painter Gallery
Guests are seated in chairs facing front and center towards Chaz Guest, renowned artists debuting this latest series of creations, Buffalo Warrior, in the Patrick Painter Gallery. The gallery is an open-aired space that shares its location with a group of other popular galleries all abuzz with activity.
Music, conversation, and laughter came with devoted fans of artistic expression, who conveyed for the event.
As he takes the audience’s attention to speak about his latest creation, the LA artist to the Black affluent seems both exhausted and exhilarated amongst his friends. Just when the world cries for a hero, Buffalo Warrior must come to earth because there’s far too much evil. Drawn as a part of the cotton series, Chaz Guest created the Buffalo Warrior out of shear urgency. “I classify myself as the first African American “pop” artist. This is “pop” art,” says Guest. “It’s pop art/street art. It’s not political purposely, it’s just political because we have an idiot in office. Actually it’s spiritual, it’s necessary, it’s poignant and it’s now. The inspiration came from the desire to rewrite a narrative that’s been so wrong. I have my chance to write it in a way that empowers and that’s what I choice as part of my mission.”
The conscience man with the denim kimono and trademark Black-man-on-display visual statements is recognized from the White House to Kenya for his portraits of strong Black men and known for his connections to President and Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. He has painted numerous celebrities from all over the world, including former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz; former Miss America Vanessa Williams; world-renowned singer Stevie Wonder; Gambian President His Excellency Sheikh Professor AL haji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh and U.S. President Barack Obama. His clients include Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones and countless others. Guest studied graphic arts at Southern Connecticut State University, then at the Fashion Institute of Technology Hones in New York. He then had a successful run as a fashion illustrator in Paris, but the muse that seemed to call out loudly to him was painting. Guest has been actively painting, adding his unusual touch to the work, most recently using cotton that was hand- picked from the fields down South in a paintings series entitled: The Cotton Series.
But Guest is here in Los Angeles not to be adorned for his high-profile affiliations or his stunning celebrity clientele.
Instead, this native son of New York is seeking to reclaim several complex slave narratives he says that were created for him, painfully, over the years of his life. [Eleven years ago], Patrick Painter (LA Art Gallery-owner) approached me after seeing a series of paintings called the “Cotton Series,” remembers Guest. “He loved the work but didn’t feel that he could push it to an international audience because let’s face it; it was presented to a limited audience. But once I came up with the concept of the Buffalo Warrior, Patrick called me eleven years later saying. ‘this is what I can work with.’ There is a difference in art representation.’ “This” being the elite game. Here is the big game of art. This can take you how ever high you want to go as an artist and in other art galleries it just doesn’t work like that. We had to have this series IN the art game,” he said.
The “Buffalo Warrior” art exhibit is the tale of a boy born into slavery. When he reaches the age of manhood, he enlists in the military to fight in the Civil War where he dies in battle, only to be reborn as the super hero Buffalo Warrior. “The Buffalo Warrior really resonated with the human soul. I don’t like to call him a “Black” super hero; he’s a universal super hero. He just happens to be talk, dark and handsome,” believes Guest. “Everybody is going to understand where he comes from so we can’t put him in that box. I choice three galleries to represent this series at the highest level by sending out three studio visits and Patrick (Paintings) was the first one to respond asking me to please drop the other two galleries.”
Buffalo Warrior is on exhibit now through Sept 2 at the Patrick Painting Art Gallery – 2525 Michigan Avenue, Unit B2, Santa Monica, CA 90404.