You get to decide. Now through July 26 at Given (575 Castro), the store famous for once being Supervisor Harvey Milkâ€™s camera store, artist Freddy Camargo is presenting on the Given gallery wall â€śDistorted and Divineâ€ť illustrations. Camargo was formerly a construction worker and is still in the union, having worked as a purchaser for a large construction company. Prior to that, he worked in Texas for several aircraft companies. For the past several years, he has been doing graphic art, photography, water colors, acrylics, and mixed media. The economy, as we all know painfully well, took a downturn. So construction got slow, thus opening up the door for him to be â€śfull time to do what I really like, and Iâ€™ve been pursuing that a lot harder,â€ť he says. He is still looking for â€śregularâ€ť work as well, but in the meantime he is getting to express himself through his art.
â€śSome of my photography can be different things,â€ť says Camargo. â€śI may see some old bikes - maybe think about when I was a boy; I may photograph a beautiful model and turn it into mixed media with a kind of distortion.â€ť He explains, â€śFashion has its distortion in some sorts. Sometimes fashion is beautiful but sometimes I see distortion in it. Beautiful is hard to explain.â€ť He says, â€śSometimes I just see things a little bit distorted. Everybody trying to be something. Vanity and things like that.â€ť
He photographs all kinds of people, ranging from the burly construction guys he used to work with to sassy high fashion male and female models.
Regarding the latter, he says, â€śFashion is beautiful but can be twisted. People can get caught up in it.â€ť He continues, â€śItâ€™s just how I may have felt at that time, thinking how some people carry themselves â€“ how they may think theyâ€™re beautiful but may be distorted in othersâ€™ eyes.â€ť
His philosophy in life? â€śBe liberated; evolve; create; and evolve more.â€ť
His technique in the current display at Given is to take photos of female fashion models (although one is just a pure illustration); use the photos as a reference; and utilize the illustration program, Vector Artwork, to basically draw them out by hand, and paint them. Later he has them printed on giclee.
In this series, he was influenced by two artists: Gustav Klimt, Austrian symbolist painter of the early 20th century, and Aubrey Beardsley with his controversial dark, grotesque Art Nouveau paintings. â€śI just let it flow from my pen, and those were my results,â€ť he said.
He would like viewers to be inspired by his art to express themselves in their own way. â€śThereâ€™s something that they hate or love or envy â€“ so express that,â€ť he says. â€śI like to live in the moment, capture that feeling, and sometimes I have no idea in which direction I am going,â€ť he says.
Camargo says he thanks Given for finding him on craigslist.com and inviting him to exhibit his series in the Castro.
When asked his favorite in the series, he says it is the last one on the gallery wall, â€śWater Color Weaver,â€ť because it was the very first time he mixed in water color with a photograph.
For more of his works, check out freddycamargo.com.