Peace Out: Local artist José Rivas' final Vancouver show

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Jose Rivas

Vancouver born and raised artist, José Rivas, has decided to leave Vancouver for new adventures in a far away land they call Toronto. His farewell gift? A final Vancouver show with new works, fond memories, and tearful see-you-laters. The show will run from March 6 to 21 with the opening reception happening tonight from 7 to 11 p.m. at Hot Art Wet City with the artist in attendance.

We had the chance to speak with José about the hidden meaning behind his new work, the materials he used and what he’ll miss most about living in Vancouver.

José Rivas

Image: José Rivas

What is your new series about?

Plain and simple, it’s just a study about birds. People respond well to my animal paintings and I just wanted to do a series on birds and static movement. The underlining meaning behind the series is kinda cheesy, but it’s about leaving the nest and seeing what’s out there and just exploring. I’m at a point where i’m really comfortable and I think that if anyone in life is just comfortable, you gotta shake things up a bit and see what you’re capable of.

Is this going to be your first time living outside of Vancouver?

Yes! I’m a Vancouver baby and I’ve never left the nest before.

What were your mains tools and materials for this series?

I work with acrylics because they’re a medium that drys really quickly. I can’t say it’s the best medium to paint in because the colours don’t come out as rich as with oil paints. However, I paint very quickly and acrylic paints dry really quickly, so they’re the most suitable medium for my kind of work. Every once in a while, I will go over my acrylic pieces with a little bit of oil paint just to get a richer colour out of a specific part of the painting. Whenever I did portraits, I always did the eyes in oils.

What will you miss the most about Vancouver?

The people in my life. I’m probably one of the luckiest people in Vancouver in that I love the people that I know. They have shaped me, they have supported me, they have made me cry, they have made me laugh, they have made me lose weight, they have encouraged me, they have made me the person I am today. Bar none, the people that I know.

Who knows, you might come back?

Yeah, but I can’t think about that right now. I want to be present and I also want to have a mindset where I am comfortable stepping into the unknown. I’m not comfortable right now. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this decision; people that are young, old, established, up and coming, artists, doctors, parents, everybody. It’s been really helpful, but no one is going to be able to tell me what i’m going to be experiencing in Toronto. That’s left up to me to decide and to experience on my own. It’s exciting, and it’s frightening.

Good luck, José! Vancouver will miss you dearly.

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Vanessa Tam is a freelance writer and marketing professional living and working in Vancouver, BC. Drake lyrics effectively communicate her pop culture relevancy as well as her excellent taste in music.
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