Ep 48 Featured Image Podcast

Coming Home to Your Art – José Delhart Gonzalez – Ep 48

September 21, 2022

ON TODAY’S EPISODE

I used to think I couldn’t make art because I didn’t have some earth-shattering conceptual message. Or that somehow I hadn’t struggled enough in my life to enter the world of fine art. It took way too long to realize I had meaningful thoughts and that I was just as eligible as anybody. Then, finally, I realized that what I was experiencing, and how I wanted to communicate this, is what made my art…well, mine. I have been mining the world of myself ever since.

Recently I stumbled upon the work of José Delhart, who has doubled down on finding his art in the stories and memories of his family. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, his highly personal art is a remarkable assortment of stylized figures, mythical creatures, and UFOs. He often paints on cardboard, repurposed paper, and discarded pizza boxes. Jose derives his art from the beautiful rich tapestry of his memories growing up on his grandfather’s yam farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico, his family, and the neighborhood life of Brooklyn, NY. Join me for a lovely conversation filled with stories, adventure, and the magic of looking to the past for inspiration in the present.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Getting to know José Delhart and his pursuit of both art and music [2:18]
  • Finding purpose and how art represents the complicated layers of our lives [9:11]
  • Exploring José’s signature style and the foundational roots of his work [17:26]
  • How José approaches life’s challenges and incorporates the entire human experience into his art [24:34]
  • José’s sources of inspiration and his experience spending summers in Puerto Rico [30:20]
  • Dreams, the dream state, and using art to connect with the other side [40:40]
  • Why José doesn’t need a studio [44:42]
  • Cultivating confidence and direction in your art practice [47:03]

Art imitates life

The first time I saw José Delhart’s work was when he won third place in the 2022 Art2Life International Juried Art Exhibition. I was immediately captivated by its complexity and the way it captures the multi-faceted layers of our existence. The density in José’s paintings is due in large part, to how he uses art to process the experiences of his life. Jose views art-making as a meditative practice that connects him to his family and his past. While he doesn’t necessarily intend to represent himself in his work, Jose usually sees himself and his life on the canvas when he puts down the brush. And it makes sense! When you use your work to explore your own identity and life’s biggest questions, you end up making deeply personal and authentic art.

Painting the human experience

Life isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. It’s filled with depth, nuance, and contradictions. What I love about José Delhart’s work is that it captures ALL OF IT. The good. The bad. The in-between. One of the first things you notice in José’s work is a prevailing theme of melancholy throughout. Many of the characters are depicted as wrestling with sadness and grief, not unlike their creator. José uses his art to help him understand the heaviness we all struggle with at times by incorporating playful imagery into the work. Even though life has not always been easy for him, he sees art-making as a platform for growth. You cannot separate the evolution of José’s art and José as a person. The two are intertwined because he is truly that genuine.

Live your journey

Creating confidence and direction in your art practice takes time and intention. After all, art-making isn’t a race it’s a journey. José Delhart found a home in his art when he realized that his art journey belonged to no one but himself. The purpose of his work is not to impress others with his skill, but rather to make them feel inspired and happy while simultaneously strange and perplexed. Because that’s life, right? It’s a weird and wonderful journey that we all experience separately together. And when we commit to living our individual journeys, our art reflects that and allows us to create things that help connect us to each other. Listen to this episode for more on how José brings his art to life!

Resources & People Mentioned

  • Carolanna Parlato’s website and Instagram (José’s elementary school teacher)
  • Hieronymus Bog’s website (José’s long-time friend and collaborator)  

Connect with José Delhart Gonzalez

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.