Artist Jacobo Roa establishes euphoric connections between the visual and poetic elements of Mexican art, from pre- Hispanic into the present. The work references the currents in modern art and the surrealistic world of the jungle and the Caribbean Sea in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Jacobo Roa was born and raised in Mexico. As a child, his father worked for the Geologic Institute of Mexico. This transpired into a great interest in scientific aspects of the natural life around him. Roa collected insects, fossils and minerals. He traveled with his father to small villages and to mountains. He experienced landscapes, history, foods, and traditions from all over Mexico. His mother urged him to read the classic of Spanish literature “Latin American Magical Realism” by Garcia Marquez.
Roa studied art in his teens at the Art Institute of Guanajuato. There he became very interested in the work of the surrealists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, as well as the Mexican artists Jose Luis Cuevas and Francisco Toledo.
Through his teens, Roa continued to travel around the country. He visually connected with the color and tastes of Mexico, and his mind captured the soul of his magic country. He prefers mystical places and mountains, archeological sites and beautiful beaches; which is why he decided to settle in Cozumel in 1993. In Cozumel, Roa met artist Galo Ramirez who became his friend and teacher. Then, in 1997, he moved to San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas and continued to work on his art. He decided to study in Oaxaca at the Rufino Tamayo Art Institute. There he studied under artist Juan Alcazar. This move would define his career.
Roa creates abstract work by way of realism; the emotional thing by means of intellectualism; spontaneity by way of strategy. Roa takes the artifacts from everyday culture and transforms them into extraordinary compositions.
Roa was born left-handed and when he was a little boy he would write everything in reverse. His teachers thought he had dyslexia, but in fact he learned to read and to draw at a very early age. A love for drawing persisted and the backward writing reappeared in his work in his early twenties. Roa plays with images and texts in reverse, creating encrypted messages.
The imagery in Roa’s work is a collection of messages, poems, letters; scientific formulas, magic recipes, classifications of ants, medicinal plants and herbs; addresses, numbers, cities, arrows, signs, compasses, names and places that inhabit his world; words in Spanish, Nahuatl, Maya, Latin, or English that have no absolute meaning but rather move and connect within his paintings, to be considered as part of a window to their worlds.
Roa’s process is chaotic because he works on several pieces at once. He always has dozens of pieces in the process at once. He works on opaline paper with acrylics, ink, charcoal, pencil and crayon art, which are then fixed with acrylic sealer finish. He works on paper because it allows him to create accidents, effects, textures and pictures. He believes that all the works relate to the others.
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