Surreal Serrano: The Collage of Rafael Serrano at District Gallery

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cart1Artist Rafael Serrano has a show up at one of Cartwheel Art’s favorite art spots, District Gallery, located in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, through September 7, 2014. Serrano describes his multimedia collages  as  “abstract neosurrealist.”  A little about the artist himself: Serrano studied at Otis and after a long creative break, now creates a visual synthesis of medical themes, with undertones of the subconscious and a heavy dab of visual wit. Here are some of Serrano’s images and his thoughts on his art and his creative process:


This is a shadow of my face where I drew on top of my shadow and then took a photograph of it. I like to play around with that. I play around with painting and photography, but not where I paint on the photograph itself. I paint on the shadow. It reminds me of Man Rey, who is one of my heroes, but I don’t think he ever drew on his shadows.

I do a lot of magazine cutouts that I reshape into different things. I shadow and highlight them so they look like microscopic organisms. I do come from a medical family so a lot of people have said that they look like a microbiological organism. I grew up looking at a lot of medical books, seeing disease. My work can be morbidly uplifting. Before, I referred to [this piece] as the nerve cells, the neurons. It was meant to be a tree. There’s a passage from the book of alchemy that mentions in order for a tree’s branches to reach to heaven, it’s roots need to reach to hell. It was not intentional, I’m very much against institutional religion, but that’s what comes to mind now.




The ‘Commie Jesus’ is popular right now. It’s unusual, I think it’s because I don’t have natural forms or the human figure in my work. But here is one of my paintings with a hammer and a sickle in it.  It was originally a graphite drawing that I did a digital print of and manipulated with Photoshop to turn into a sepia-tone and drew with ink the various hieroglyphics that you see in my work.


So there you have a bit of what lies within the mind of artist Rafael Serrano. These pictures show only a tiny fraction of what is on view at District Gallery right now.

The District Gallery is a project of Los Angeles Downtown Arts District Space, a 501(c)3 edicated to the creation of the Arts District Center for the Arts (ADCA) and to preserving and promoting the Arts District as a true creative community. LADADSpace is spearheading ACME (all-city mural endeavor), dedicated to the creation of murals in downtown Los Angeles in which Cartwheel Art  founder Cindy Schwarzstein, is a founding committee member. ACME seeks to cultivate the perception of the city’s walls as a massive gallery featuring diverse work by local artists and muralists from around the world.

LADADSpace also offers grants to local arts organizations and individual artists whose activities and projects enrich the local and regional arts community. LADADSpace also serves as a fiscal sponsor for various artists and organizations downtown and historically has provided opportunities for educational workshops, community meetings, theater productions, music events, lecture series and performance art. The Arts District is one of the most filmed locations in the world and LADADSpace facilitates the relationship between production companies, city officials, local businesses and residents, insuring that the Arts District remains a renewable resource for filming.

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