Local-Express

Domingo Carrasco

Domingo Carrasco is a figurative painter who has an exhibit of his work up at Q.E.D. (27-16 23rd Ave., Astoria) now through December. He also teaches art at a public elementary school in College Point. His art studio and home are in Valley Stream, where he lives with his wife and two young boys, but he grew up in Woodside. “Even then, Woodside called itself home to people of many different cultures,” he says, adding “I am proud to have come from a place that was comprised of families just like mine.”

At an early age visual art was an integral part of his world. Closely tied to hip-hop culture was the world of graffiti. “Graffiti was a visually stimulating language which spoke to me during my early years as a budding artist in the eighties. My family had always encouraged my hobby of making art and that ‘hobby’ slowly evolved into a passion. Freedom of creativity when you’re a child in New York City is quite magical. The city provided a rich playground for me to source inspiration. Signage, faces, buildings, murals and parks became the backdrop to the story of my creative upbringing.”

Carrasco attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and later Queens College, where his interests shifted to education, and he obtained an undergraduate degree in elementary education. He later earned an MS degree in art education at Lehman College. “Acquiring an art education degree enabled me to merge my love of making and consuming art with my desire to work with children in a creative capacity.”

To see his work, visit www.domingocarrasco.com.

QG: What are the ups and downs of being a painter? And educator?

DC: I try to only see the ups! The struggle with the inner critic is real but pushing forward is the key. Showing up whether I feel motivated or not has helped me grow. It is a challenge balancing family life with art life. When I became a parent everything changed. I began to realize that this was not going to be easy. Today I create art because I must. There really is no alternative for me. It’s like I’m riding a great wave and it’s not stopping. As for being an art teacher, I love it. It’s incredibly fun and rewarding. Children’s art is invaluable. Their work reveals their true voices—a voice we as adults should reclaim.

QG: What gives you inspiration?

DC: I source my desire to create from my immediate surroundings, as well as from the subtleties of nature and man. I look to the great modern masters of painting to remind me of how much depth and beauty can come of out simplicity. My imagination can take some credit here too. Even when I am away from my studio I am imagining things that later become real and beautiful.

QG: What are some themes you focus on in your work?

DC: I keep the energy of my work focused on themes related to the good in all people. This reveals itself in the form of faces, birds, and flora. Color and line carry the message forth. Simple sophistication through accessible imagery. I keep it simple so there is room for letting the eyes wander and wonder.

QG: Are your own children interested in art?

DC: At any given time there can be a variety of projects going on that pertain to all members of my home. My son Duke, age seven, is in his “hot glue and cardboard” phase. His sculptures line the window sills of my dining room. My youngest is three and he follows our creative lead, just on a messier scale.

QG: Are you interested in the graffiti art of today?

DC: I dabbled with graffiti in junior high for a bit, but it never really stuck in the traditional sense. Back then I lacked the courage to “tag up” in public places. Instead I retreated to notebooks where I would focus my energies on caricatures and stylized cartoons. I was always proud of how I could emulate the Kangol hats and fat shoelaces of my characters. I would often shadow street artists as they would compose their large wall murals. Their flawless application of lines was quite thrilling to watch.

QG: What are your favorite places in Queens?

DC: I really enjoy walking around Woodside and seeing some of the old sights that were part of my childhood. From 30th Avenue and 57th Street all the way to 21st Street in Astoria. I’m in love with the “Rocket Thrower” sculpture in Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Donald De Lue. He created the work for the 1964 World’s Fair. It’s so perfect. I love the way a Main Street-bound 7 train pulls into Queens Borough Plaza with the skyline behind it. Sunsets at the Throgs Neck Bridge by Fort Totten are pretty cool. Everywhere you go in Queens you can expect to see something new, even if you’ve lived here all your life. There’s truly no place like it anywhere else. What I love about Queens is that it has become a place where all people are welcome. Out of this climate of tolerance comes so much culture, creativity, and change.

—Annette Hanze Alberts

This column was originated in July, 2013 by Nicollette Barsamian.

  
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