SMU Meadows Visiting Artist Lecture Series preview: Tony Cruz Pabón

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Artist Tony Cruz Pabón will be visiting the Hilltop Wednesday, Nov. 14, as a part of the Visiting Artists Lecture Series hosted by the SMU Division of Art.

Pabón currently lives in Puerto Rico where he does most of his work. Pabón’s art predominantly incorporates an unconventional style of drawing in which he goes beyond the traditional use of pencil and paper. Some of his art incorporates sketches on walls and corners. Occasionally even nature becomes his canvas.

His art has been featured in a variety of cities and countries in the United States, Europe, and Central and South America. Recognizing his talent, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2014 awarded Pabón a grant given to talented international artists in need of financial backing. Beyond creating art, Pabón works to promote a cultural and artistic consciousness in Puerto Rico, acting as the co-director and co-founder of an art and education program in San Juan known as the Beta-Local.

Pollock Gallery Director Sofia Bastidas met Pabón a couple of years ago in Puerto Rico when she was visiting for her work as a curator. She was intrigued by his unique art style.

“I decided to invite him here because I think his work in drawing specifically explores drawing outside of traditional forms that we know in drawing. He explores, maybe you could call it, interventions in his work. He uses these interventions in the space, or the interventions in the outside, instead of just [drawing] directly to the paper.” Bastidas said.

When looking at random objects, spaces, or scenes in nature, Pabón uses his creativity and imagination to envision what kinds of drawings he could create on these items or locations. By not binding himself to the traditional medium, he has more artistic freedom and is able to create something that viewers likely have not seen before. In this way, Pabón brings a different perspective to not only drawing but art as a whole.

“He uses materials that could leave a type of trace. He’s thinking of drawing in that sense. So I am interested in looking at his work as how to foresee drawing in a different way,” Bastidas said. “From a different perspective.”

For students outside of Meadows, attending an art lecture given by a professional artist himself may seem daunting, but Bastidas offers advice to those who feel ambivalent.

“The lectures are open for everybody and everyone that has a curiosity. I think in art anybody can be an audience. It fosters and cooks a kind of curiosity as to ‘How do people do this? How did this process happen? Why are they doing this?’” Bastidas said. “It teaches you how to think differently in many aspects.”

The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall in the Owens Arts Center. For more information about Pabón or other upcoming artists, students can check out the SMU Meadows website.

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