For well over a decade Northern California artist Bryan Valenzuela has been aiming to perfect a unique drawing technique involving the atomization of the figure by carving out shape, shadow and light with handwritten text. Paragraphs, sentences, phrases, and fragments act as both form and content. As form, the text delineates figures and subjects layer upon layer as shading. Words varying in size from the minuscule and unreadable, to large and bold are used in a manner similar to crosshatching. Though virtually unnoticeable from afar, once the viewer steps closer to each work they are engulfed in a barrage of words intermingled with other mixed media elements such as needle and thread, acrylic paint, and collage. As content, the language provides a sense of the inherent information and associations, metaphors and meanings that act as a meditation on the image. Recently Valenzuela ventured into the public art sphere, garnering a $350,000 commission from the City of Sacramento. In October of 2016, he completed a large suspended sculpture consisting of over 400 blown glass spheres in an abstract, aquarelle version of the American and Sacramento river confluence. The following year saw Valenzuela complete his first ever mural for the Wide Open Walls festival. Other mural commissions have followed in its wake including permanent works in San Francisco, Chicago, Napa, and Sacramento, as well as temporary works in New Orleans and New York. He has won Best in Show at the California State Fair Fine Art Exhibition, received the Leff Davis Grant for Emerging Artists, and appeared in group shows, most notably for Scope at Miami Art Basel and Moniker in London.
Artist Jon Doe Photographer Jane Anderson