MESSENGER OF SILENCE
Jerome Valbuena’s photographs, drawings, paintings and sculptures leave a message that echoes in the soul of any observer. And it is because they rescue the native Latin American culture, values and roots with ancient, mystical, magical and sacred images.
His works depict a present that mixes creativity and originality with the urban, the contemporary, the day-to-day, and what’s poetic of the streets of the big cities like New York. The undertone: critical and eco-friendly. This unique artist invites us to think outside the box with his sculptures The Kamis; messengers of silence. These consist of trees with oxygen masks made out of recycled paper showing their pain and asking to be spared from the death in the jungle of cement.
I met Jerome in an event in New York. Personally, I was impressed when he told me that during the time that he studied Plastic Arts in Bogota’s Universidad Nacional, he also taught art classes to street children, those that were under the care of a government institution. He developed a technique for them to create artifacts that they could sell thus generating some income. It was such a great experience that they implemented it in a marginal neighborhood where he gave ceramic classes to more than 300 children and a group of artisans. My admiration for his work led me to inquire on the history of this extraordinary man, inherent of a great sensibility to any manifestation of life.
Jerome inherited the love for art and teaching from his father; a professor who in his free afternoons painted landscapes and gave him a canvas encouraging him to paint. They were always accompanied by his mother, a woman full of love, gentleness and joy. From them, he developed an appreciation for the arts and culture, strong foundations that have placed him in the highest echelons as an artist.
His works have been displayed in salient countries of the world like, Colombia, Hungary, Greece, Rumania, France, and Poland and in cities like Miami and New York in the United States, totaling 46 exhibits.
It was New York, the city where he lived for several years and to which he dedicated his most recent work: The Invisible Cities, taking as inspiration the art of the streets, mixing the real of the everyday with his sensibility, his way of looking at the world, his utopia, his creativity and his inspiration.
This great painter and sculptor is a man of great discernment who has sat at the table with Colombia’s president, with multi-millionaires and artists around the world. Similarly, he enjoys discovering our roots when sharing his time with humble farmers from remote areas of the city.
“Art requires sensibility, creativity, strength and tenacity. Even If you are not recognized, you should continue to create. Sometimes the price is solitude; I had to leave my family for my studies and work. It is difficult to maintain a social life when so many hours and days are spent in a studio. Besides, there isn’t any kind of financial support for artists. My goal is to live from art and for art,” says Jerome. His great life lesson: Persevere. Don’t allow yourself to quit or undermine your own will.
In the United States he fulfilled his dream: to exhibit in Miami and New York. And now, as a teacher of the arts, he motivates and supports his students since there are families that discourage artists for fear of not being able to live from art.
Valbuena currently lives in Bogotá and is a professor of Fine Arts at the university he attended.
By Nora Elena Vinasco
Executive Managing Director / Mireya Posada
Editor in Chief / Cesar Florez
LATINO SHOW MAGAZINE