Last week we drove across town to visit Delfin Finley, our friend and local Los Angeles Artist, at his west side studio. Delfin is wrapping up his latest body of work for his first solo show “Some Things Never Change” opening July 22nd at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica. See our photos and conversation from the recent visit below.
Can you talk about this body of work for your upcoming show?
As an Artist, I find it very difficult to avoid painting about what most moves me as a human being. It pains me to see that racism continues alive and well within every fold of our society. As a Black man, I can’t help but see that my race is the target of extreme bias and violence. Regardless of who we are or how far we have moved up the success ladder, we are in danger. Our days are numbered if we find ourselves in situations where we are not viewed as people, but seen as inferior to our perpetrators. The name of my exhibit is “Some Things Never Change.” Unfortunately, this is not only how I feel. It is the state of affairs of our country. In each painting I feature the image of a person of color. Each person has his or her own particular, personal issues. Yet we have something that will forever bind us together. We are linked by instances in each of our lives where we felt not in control of our present, much less our future. We are judged by the color of our skin and are the victims of brutality and hatred that limits our spirit and too often ends our lives prematurely. It is with that in mind that I painted each person depicted in my exhibit.
How do you hope your subjects are portrayed in your paintings?
I always hope to capture my subject in their most honest and unguarded state. I want the viewer to feel something that they didn’t necessarily feel before looking at the work.
How do you choose your subjects?
I get asked this question a lot. I’m still not sure if I have a clear cut answer. I usually paint people that a I know personally. But I don’t think there’s any specific things I look for in a subject. I kind of just know when I see somebody. There’s not really much thought that goes into it. It’s natural
Where do you look for inspiration outside of painting?
I can find inspiration anywhere and in everything I do. I don’t really turn off my artistic thought process. There’s not really any scheduled times or anywhere specific places I look for inspiration. It is more of a spontaneous, untethered process.
What goals have you set for yourself in 2017?
To sell out my first ever solo show. I think that would be pretty cool.
As a portrait painter what are some of your toughest challenges?
A lot of people tend to not want to buy a painting of somebody that they don’t know or somebody that they’re not familiar with. But that’s not going to make me change what I do. I just do what feel is right.
What are your thoughts on social media and art being so universal now?
I think it is a double- edged sword. As much as it can be an incredible tool to reach millions immediately, it can ruin the most basic one on one interactions. We all make a choice of how much we allow this form of communication to enhance or interfere in our lives. Many of us are making the wrong decision. Art is an experience between the work and the viewer. When you see the work digitally, you are not absorbing the true essence of the work itself. It is image only, flat and somehow lifeless. In person, you take in the texture, depth, stroke, color and scale of the work. Nothing should replace this experience. It is a crucial part of why we artists create.
Where do you hope to be with your craft in 10 years?
My art coexists with my life. As I grow, my view and perspective will grow along with. Hopefully I will stay as hungry as I am now. I welcome change and look forward to great growth in every facet of my artistic experience.
what’s your name? where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Delfin Finley. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I am an artist.