Every person has feelings. These feelings are aroused by a catalyst. A touch, a smell, a sight. When a person does art, his or her duty is to titillate the viewer. His or her work must be passionate, captivating and able to be thought about. When an artist renders a piece, be it a painting, water color, sculpture, dance or poem, he or she must inspire the viewer to come back and look at it a second and a third time. The artist must expand his or her mind to engulf others. Octavio Ocampo has accomplished all this and more. Around the world millions of people have become enthralled with his innovative style. People are fascinated by his work. Everyone from the art connoisseur to businessmen and professionals are thrilled by the reactions they get when one of his pieces is on their walls. His works are “conversation pieces” done in a style which has been deemed Metamorphic art. Pictured here is Lupe.
Metamorphic art is a new innovative style which blends Dali like surrealism with landscape realism. Each picture is a complete landscape in of itself. This technique “superimposes and juxtaposes realistic and figurative” details within images he creates. Only upon closer scrutiny do you actually realize that each facet of the work is something else. In Metamorphic art flowers become faces. Mourners over coffins become the face of Christ, a bicycle becomes a pair of celebrity glasses. His works are full of symbolism. Each is endlessly fascinating, revealing something different to each new viewer. And each new viewer looks a second time, and a third. The longer a person stares at a painting, the more one sees. Faces come into focus at a distance and “metamorphose” into something entirely different under close observation.
His works are included in major collections in Mexico, The national Palace, and in the private collections of the last three presidents. In Europe, the late Florence
Gould had a landscape of the New York skyline from her apartment, at her house at Cap D’Antibes. HM, the king of Spain, is also an admirer of Ocampo’s work. Octavio is admired for his ingenuity and uniqueness from other modern artists. He is known mainly throughout the North American art scene. Aside from doing work on canvas, his works include murals in public buildings in Mexico and commissioned portraits of Jane Fonda, Cher, Cecar Chavez and Jimmy Carter.
Octavio Ocampo’s talents are not just limited to oil painting, though it is his favorite medium. He also sculpts, acts and dances. He studied all three of these disciplines while enrolled in the institute in San Francisco. He pursued a career in both film and theater until 1976 when he devoted himself solely to art
Ocampo was born On February 28, 1943 in Celaya, a village located in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Guanajuato is a city where Mexican art and culture can be explored and discovered. The state itself is located in the central part of Mexico, between Jalisco
and Michoacan. Celaya, as well as Leon and San Miguel de Allende are know for their beautiful landscape and exquisiteness of the merchandise sold there. Guanajuato has a climate averaging 65.5 degrees Fahrenheit and lays about 2000 meters above seal level on the plateau. Its name comes from the Tarascan dialect which means “Place of Frogs.”
Another well known Latin American artist finds his roots in Guanajuato, Mexico. Diego Rivera grew up in Celaya as well. Rivera (1886-1957) is one of the most renowned Latin American artists. He is known for his murals. His deeds include the founding of the Mexican Muralist Movement with Jose Clement Orozco and David Siqueiros. They painted their first mural at the Anfiteatro Bolivar at the National Predatory School in Mexico City. Rivera also painted numerous murals in Mexico City and the United States, including those in the Palacio Nacional, Ministerio de Educacion Publica, the San Francisco Stock Exchange, Detroit’s Institute of Fine Arts and the Rockefeller Center. The last being destroyed due to controversy surrounding a portrait of Lenin.
As well as being considered Mexico’s leading muralist, Rivera also produced many sketches, watercolors and paintings. Diego Rivera was considered a genius in the
intellectual and artistic fields. artistic achievements were monumental. His intellectual and artistic genius allowed him to product first-rate Symbolist paintings while he was in Spain, Cubist works while in France as well as Cezannesque and Ingresque paintings during his final years in Paris.
In 1921 Rivera returned to Mexico and began searching for his interpretation of a “pure” Mexican art form. He abandoned the classical teachings he
received and created his “popular style” images. He painted daily tasks: Peasants grinding corn, burden bearers, flower carriers, and dancers were among favorite themes which he painted. His work reflected great pride in his country and its peoples.
Octavio Ocampo shared many characteristics with Diego Rivera. He has found a new style of painting, abandoning many classical techniques. He has also been inspired by his home city. His talents are also not just limited to oil painting, though it is his favorite medium. He also sculpts, acts and dances. Ocampo has studied all three of these disciplines while enrolled in the institute in San Francisco. He has attended two major art academies, the fine art institute in Mexico city, and the San Francisco Art institute. Although he graduated from his educational career in 1974, he has had his work on exhibit since 1972. Since then he has pursued a career in both film and theater. In 1976 he abandoned those genres and devoted himself solely to art.
Ocampo now works and resides in Tepoztlan, a city north of Mexico city. His home is considered one of the most magical places on earth. He also frequently travels to Sedona, Arizona to view the majestic red rock cliffs.
Besides doing celebrity portraits he also has a wide collection of religious works. these include everything from the face of the Virgin Mother to the face of Christ. His most famous piece is entitled “calvary.” In this piece you see the face of Christ at a distance. When the viewer steps close to the work it metamorphoses into Christ on a cross. His beard turns into crosses on a hillside. His mustache turns into a loincloth. As you look more and more at this piece, more is revealed.
The “Calvary” is a painting of hope. Christ’s face is heavy with sorrow as he takes on the sins of the world and makes his incredible sacrifice on the cross. Through the face of suffering we can see the crucifixion which is the sacrifice Christ made for all humanity. The middle left side of the painting depicts the sacrifices made by Christian martyrs. The Scriptures tell us that it was Christ’s sacrifice that opened the gates of Hell so that the souls there as shown in the rocks on the lower left of the this work could ascend to heaven with the help of the angels as pictured on the middle right side of the piece.
The ravens on the upper left represent the cares, sorrows, and sins of this world. But through the sacrifice and with the help of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost which are represented by the three eyes in the upper center of the picture, those ravens are muted and made bearable as can be seen just below the third eye. The rightmost eye represents the Holy Ghost, it is encircled with doves as symbolic of its peace and love. Thus through the sacrifice and the Trinity, humanity is freed from the bondage of care, strife, and sin.
Calvary can be seen somewhat of a self portrait because Octavio has painted himself into the piece. He is standing on the lower right of the canvas representing Saint John as well as all of humanity, which will ultimately reap the benefit of forgiveness Christ brings through his sacrifice. Ocampo made all the cloth in this work symbolic. The cloth robe worn by himself is a representation of the cloth pressed to Christ’s face by Veronica on which his countenance was indelibly imprinted. It shows Veronica’s face and is crying in anguish for the pain Christ had to endure on the cross.
Ocampo made this painting a vision of the time and place where all of humanity’s hope for salvation is born. It is meant to be a reminder of God’s love.
Ocampo is devoutly religious and it shows through his art. One piece in particular is called “Palm Sunday”. This piece is inspired by the Mexican holiday called “Semana Santa.”
This is the Mexico nation’s Easter. Semana Santa gets underway on Palm Sunday when the faithful may join in a special mass which includes the blessing of palm fronds or crosses and other figures that have been fashioned from palms. A large procession commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem often precedes the mass. Some of the blessed palms are later burned and the ashes reserved by the church for marking the sign of the cross on the foreheads of communicants during Ash Wednesday services the following year.
In his vision of “Palm Sunday”, Ocampo attempts to capture the grandeur and glory of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. In addition mastery through his artistic endeavors enables us to see into the face of Christ, allowing us to experience the peace and vision that have humbled all those who would walk in his footsteps.
Octavio gives Christ’s face power and resolve. He is looking out at us through time and space, knowing each of us as no one else can. We are to be reminded of his eternal love as he enters Jerusalem and what is to be the most difficult part of his ministry.
It can be seen that the most precious of his religious works is the piece entitled. “Miracle of the Roses.” This painting is a depiction of the story of “Our Lady of Guadeloupe.”
In the days of the conquest of Central America, in 1523, just two years after the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan fell to Hernan Cortes and his Conquistadors, the first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived to begin the religious conquest of Mexico. Near the place where Mexico City would one day stand, there was a small village. Now it came to pass that the Bishop of the village wanted to build a cathedral in honor of the Virgin Mary. But neither the Bishop nor the other leaders knew where the site of the cathedral should be.
The villagers were natives to Central America and lived in poverty and were treated little better than slaves. One man among them was named Juan Diego, his passion in life was to serve God to the best of his abilities.
One day while working in the fields, he met a beautiful lady who seemed to have a warmth and radiance about her. When he came closer, she spoke to him and said “Tell the Bishop that I wish his church to be built on this spot.”
Diego immediately set off to see the Bishop who was too busy to see him immediately and was only able to see him after a wait of several days.
Finally, Juan was ushered into the Bishop’s presence, upon which time described what he had seen, and told the Bishop the message that was to be given to him. The Bishop thought that Juan was crazy and had him thrown out.
Juan Diego returned to the spot where he had met the lady and there she appeared to him a second time. She told him that it was her wish that the church be built on that spot.
Juan again returned and asked for an audience with the Bishop. This time after a much longer wait he was again brought before the Bishop. Juan recounted his second meeting with the lady. However, the Bishop still held doubts and asked for some proof of the miraculous vision.
For the third time Juan returned to the spot where he had met the Virgin, and again she appeared to him. He proceeded to tell her that the Bishop wanted some proof from him to show that he really spoke to her. Suddenly, though it was the middle of December, Roses started to bloom all over the hillside. Juan Diego gathered up the miraculous blossoms in his mantle and hurried off to complete his mission. Once again before the Bishop, he let the roses spill out before him. To the wonder of all assembled, a perfect image of La Virgin Morena (the Dark Virgin) was revealed emblazoned on Juan Diego’s cloak
Pictured in Octavio Ocampo’s Painting “Miracle of the Roses” is the culminating scene of this story, Juan Diego comes into the Bishop’s presence bearing the proof from the Virgin. He lets go of his tabard showering the astonished Bishop with roses, only to find that the symbol of the Madonna is now indelibly marked on the front of his tabard.
Ocampo did not soled render religious works. Visions of Don Quixote is part of his main body. This piece Ocampo’s powerful ability to tell a story using a single picture.
From afar, The viewer sees an old man with a faraway and dreamlike expression on his face. Wild yellow hair and strange beard serve to complete man’s strange demeanor.
Coming closer, we are transported to the Spanish countryside, where he notices that the windmills in the center of the picture look like they are about to come to life.
Two figures occupy the center of the picture with windmills at their backs. They are Don Quixote, on his faithful steed Rocinante, and his squire called Sancho Panzo who is seated upon Dapple. They are surrounded by the world that exists in Don Quixote’s somewhat dilusional mind.
In the middle right of the picture, Don Quixote is immortalized protesting that a deceased man still lives and getting ready to hijack his body to save him from an untimely funeral. (If you focus on the area around this scene, you will see the face of a dog-the symbol of Quixote’s madness.)
The middle left of the picture shows Aldonza working in the fields. Again a face of a dog showing the madness of Quixote imagining her to be Dulcinea. This is pictured in the upper left corner.
Above Aldonza, the village of La Mancha is pictured surrounded by mythical dragons and sea monsters.
Above the village, in the upper left, sits the Duke’s castle. This has the Duke’s face imprinted in the castle’s wall. Close scrutiny reveals a skull outlining the left side of the castle. This can be seen as a hint of the Duke’s sinister plans for our heroes.
The upper right side of the painting shows Miguel de Cervantes’ ghostly face watching over his work. While the hills, rocks, and dales alter with the power of the Man of La Mancha’s madness.
So much comes alive when you evaluate Ocampo’s work. When you know the story behind the rendered piece, each facet falls into perspective. It is equally fascinating just to look at the work Other well known pieces in his main collection of work include “The General’s family,” “Mona Lisa’s Chair,” “Forever Always” and Celestial Bodies.”
Ocampo utilizes his powers of illusion in the General’s Family to illustrate that not all things in life are solid and unremarkable. The regal and distinguished form of the General we glimpse from afar is believed to be his father,
wife and dog who are peasants. For this reason our perception of life can be seen as an illusion-as the General in the picture is an illusion. Celestial Bodies is the depiction of the belief that man holds the fate of the world in his hand. God makes the choice to destroy it or make it a better place. Man, on the other hand, must have the vision and the love of God to safeguard the delicate balance of life on this small planet. This is seen in the face looking at the globe in its hand and in the two bodies that make up the face. In the lower right corner, an older soul helps one just beginning its journey to travel from its life in the old world to a new life in a younger world. This can be seen in the faces in the lower part of the picture and in the upper globe.
The center of the painting depicts an elder soul embracing and guiding a dreamer
Octavio compliments the magnificent work of Leonardo DaVinci with “Mona Lisa’s Chair”
This picture consists of a chair occupied by three rabbits, one black and two white. A cat sits on the chair’s upper cushions and watches the viewer of the piece.
The chair has a mirrored back, that at first glance appears to be the face of Mona Lisa, but upon closer inspection actually consists
of a two women, a man, an angel and a skyline. It is interesting to imagine that because Mona Lisa’s face came from the imagination of Leonardo DaVinci, that her face may hold the clues to DaVinci’s thoughts at the time he painted her. It is thought by some that the original was a self portrait that DaVinci did of himself, because in all the receipts he has for his models, none has the name of Mona Lisa, and none have the same countenance as she. And when his face is digitally embossed over hers, the features line up.
In Ocampo’s “Mona Lisa’s Chair” the background is a study of the subconscious mind as faces turn into forms and nothing is really what it seems at first.
Ocampo’s “Forever Always” is a depiction of a life well lived or of one that will be well lived. Those who see the older couple can note that they share the Cup of life and the crown of fidelity. Both these items are symbolic. Both of the life they have shared together and the love that fills the cup with a golden light.
The older couple sees each other as they where when, much younger they courted sharing serenades while drinking tequila with limes. You are able to look. into the older man’s mind to note that he always sees his chosen as beautiful and. Her mind, on the other hand, remains a mystery to him, see the curtain in the middle left of the picture.
Those who view the younger couple see that they are looking forward to sharing a cup full of love and happiness. This sharing becomes their crowning achievement symbolized by the crown which they wear.
Octavio Ocampo also pays incredible attention to detail. Each brush stroke is precisely placed on the canvas. The paint is mixed to the perfect hue on his palate. None of his colors are muddy, his paintings are vibrant. This is why I chose Ocampo. I am part of a large population when I say that his works inspire me. Each time I see one of his paintings, I am captivated. It is beyond my realm of creativity to explain his genius. I contacted a woman in Sedona by the name of Aliahd who deals his art (Visions Fine Art Gallery.) She told me that she had met him at one time and was touched by his humbleness. At the same time she could see his vibrant brilliance simply through his words. It is this same brilliance which shines through in all of his works. That is why I chose Octavio Ocampo.
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