If you are in Houston, be sure to pick up a copy of the July 2012 issue of Free Press Houston. Shades and Sounds: Artist Felipe Lopez can be found on page 34 of the issue. Read more here:
Shades and Sounds: Artist Felipe Lopez
By Meghan Hendley
"If the planet understood how the brain functions we would resolve conflicts everywhere. Because people would understand how trivial and how deterministic conflicts and reactions and misunderstandings are." - Henry Markram
New York native Felipe Lopez is a Multi-Dimensional self taught visual artist whose career began with mixed media drawing and paintings. One of the youngest contemporaries in Houston touting an arsenal of self taught techniques and exhibitions in such spaces as Wade Wilson Art Lopez melds together his studies of sound, science, and psychology.
Much of his creativity happened after leaving high school, disenchanted with the cattle call of public school education. ‘I felt that the system didn’t embrace the individual talents and learning styles of each student. I decided that I could teach myself anything I wanted to learn by delving into a topic and absorbing everything I could find about the topic.’ Shortly after leaving school, Lopez found himself studying independently and taking art classes at MECA. While uncovering learning styles and how he learned as a student, he immediately gravitated towards the study of psychology and neurology.
‘The design I produce with charcoal on paper was developed in my earliest works and the creation of my style was based off the idea of neurons,’ said Lopez. ‘As I dove into the studies of science, I latched onto the concept of the connectivity of neurons. As I rolled the charcoal across the paper and created patterns, I could visually display the tiniest traces of these connections of the brain.‘
It was through the connection of music over a summer in New York City that sent more waves of creativity through Felipe Lopez’s work. During the scorching months of 2011 Lopez found himself enrolled in Dubspot Academy, a cutting edge electronic music production and DJ school in New York City. Tedious classes of listening to beeps, boops, clicks, and synths trained his ear to address sound as an art form in itself. From all night sessions messing with an original moog in a loft apartment to rooftop parties pounding rhythms of drum and bass to intensive Abelton lessons, Lopez and his friends were subconsciously training their ears and morphing their minds to hearing the frequencies of sound as vibrations of color.
Upon returning to Houston, Lopez found himself melding the concepts of sounds and visual art. In the fall of 2011, Lopez began his Synesthesia Sound Series that emphasized the visual center of the brain and their connection to the auditory system. By creating works on Japanese paper with vibrant neon watercolors and oil bars, these pieces presented a visual moment of the recreation of sounds the artist saw around him. ‘I came up with this experiment by having one headphone in my ear listening to different kinds of music including electronic music compositions I had created while leaving the other ear bud dangling allowing my other ear to listen to sounds in nature.’ says Lopez.
Sound to color synesthesia (better known as chromesthesia) is a condition where assorted environmental sounds such as dog barks, buzzing insects, clanging dishes, various voices, and musical compositions trigger color flares creating shapes that move around before fading when the sound ends. When your eye scans over the 16 pieces in the series, you take in the intensity of the color and shapes of the black streaks from the oil bar sending a signal of visual euphoric sound. As you study the breaks of blue, fuchsia, turquoise, and yellow your mind is stimulated with a shock to the senses before your vision crosses over into the fade-outs in the piece. The circular shapes offer directional movement of color and a chance to appreciate the originality of Lopez’s artistic concept.
Recently Felipe Lopez has continued to add additional formulas to the science of his art. Still staying true to the art of independent study and discovery, Lopez embraces the balance of ideas and creative spontaneity. As intense storms rolled through Houston in May, Lopez casually filmed skies flashing from black to indigo to white shifting with lightning. Other daily moments were captured on his iPhone and then manipulated with various iPhone apps.
‘The reason I make my video art based off individual stills and small videos is to show the mechanical aspect of everyday objects and natural elements. These videos play out different ways areas of the brain function to tell a story while bringing general awareness and appreciation to the connectivity of simplistic thoughts that compose more complex ideas. If art is an expression of the mind's endless creativity, then understanding neurology and psychology will allow us to understand why people work the way they do.’-Free Press Houston, July 2012 issue.