Art by Tocino Grasiento: National Art Exhibit (USA)
National Art Exhibit
I use needle, thread and fabric as my medium for a clean, odor free, chemical free, environmentally safe, quiet, portable, compact (foldable), economical alternative to more traditional mediums, like painting, drawing and printmaking.
I entered art school at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 1990 and it was while studying painting and printmaking that I started working with fabric. I had seen a photo of Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell with a fabric doll in his pocket and wanted to make one for myself. I began with anonymous voodoo dolls, but soon began making doll-portraits of my friends. Not being flush with cash and sick of breathing paint fumes, I decided to move away from painting and make fabric my medium of choice. I started working on my first two-dimensional piece in 1998. A love of American folk art and quilts led me to experiment with “painting” using fabric and my first 10 x 10 inch square was crafted. Two years later, I completed a quilt of 30 squares featuring images pulled from the musical world, pop culture and my own life.
A pattern or format has developed in my work. I used to do very large paintings. They would usually be 5-feet tall and 6-feet wide. I enjoyed the freedom to paint strokes with the full radius of my arm. I found that most people do not have the space for art of this size. I began working in fabric and did a full sized bed quilt comprised of 30 10 x 10 inch squares. Each square was a detailed image. The full size of the quilt was 6 feet wide by 7 feet tall. Again I made a large piece of art that most people don’t have room to accommodate. People also started asking if they could buy individual squares from the piece. I did not want to break apart the quilt, so this set me on the path of my latest work of individual square pieces that range from 10×10 to 13×13 inch fabric square pieces.
My subject matter I return to again and again is music and musicians, product packaging, celebrities and events from my life. I have increased my use of a photo light box and prints of images to make some of images more realistic and to help with the layout of text. Since I started the fabric art, I have returned to school and completed an associates degree in graphic design. I now work as a designer for a small non-profit in Falls Church, Va., designing both print and Web publications for the company. The school and work experiences have brought a bit of a designer’s organization to my messy folk art style. I think the organization has helped me clarify the message I am trying to communicate in the art.