The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Fatherhood inspires art exhibit on NW

By Karen Simonson/reporter

Omar Hernandez, more-more  Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian
Omar Hernandez, more-more Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian

Two artists working together in different ways make for a visually striking show, said NW Campus adjunct digital art instructor Alvaro Perez at an artists’ reception Oct. 10.

Omar Hernandez, El Centro College department coordinator, and Jason Reynaga, Wade College design division director, are featured artists in Switch On-Switch Off, the second exhibit presented by the NW Campus visual arts department in the newly renovated Lakeview Gallery.

NW art professor Eduardo Aguilar suggested bringing the two artists together for a gallery exhibit after seeing their work four years ago.

“I liked their work. They are doing contemporary art that is very much what our culture in the 21st century is about,” he said.

NW visual arts associate professor and event curator Winter Rusiloski said enough similarities exist in both artists’ work to make a nice discussion.

“We’ve always wanted to do a two-person show,” Reynaga said.

Hernandez said the inspiration for his pieces came when he started thinking about value systems and systems of nature.

The use of currency in his art reflects the value system in the United States, Hernandez said.

“Currency is one paper that has external value,” he said. “Look at the imagery on it as a value system of our country. I use currency as a symbol of that.”

Jason Reynaga, You’re So OOP (Out Of Power)!  Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian
Jason Reynaga, You’re So OOP (Out Of Power)! Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian
Jason Reynaga, PvM (Player vs Monster) w Rezzer MOB INC (Resurrected Dangerous Monster Incoming)  Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian
Jason Reynaga, PvM (Player vs Monster) w Rezzer MOB INC (Resurrected Dangerous Monster Incoming) Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian

Hernandez said he includes a variety of retro imagery and uses the collage technique because one can pull several things from it.

He builds the collage digitally, prints it in a larger format and then rebuilds it on a wood panel. He also uses other mediums such as paint.

“Keep it fresh,” he tells students. “It’s nice to have straight digital print but keep working it.”

Hernandez said the evolution of his work has been inspired by fatherhood.

“Having children caused me to revisit the playful things,” he said. “After becoming a parent, you evaluate your own value system because you are going to instill it in a fresh canvas, a child.”

Rusiloski has followed Hernandez’s work for a few years.

“I’ve seen Omar’s work go through a lot of changes,” she said. “Once he had a child, his art changed from man to father.”

Reynaga is a conceptualized mixed-medium based artist with a traditional background in printmaking. Unlike printmaking, no two of his pieces are ever alike.

Reynaga is self-taught in programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which he uses to create his designs.

He describes himself as “an ’80s kid who played a lot of video games” and found them to be an escape from reality.

Like Hernandez, Reynaga said his son has inspired his work.

“Putting in childlike imagery and surfaces is a way to connect with my son as he is coming of age and begins to understand the difference between good and evil,” he said.

“I’ve always been interested in the dichotomy between reality and fantasy. In the game world, you become what you want to become. I like to be, and I like my viewer to be, seduced by surfaces and colors.”

Although he rarely titles a piece of art until it’s completed, the titles of his pieces are based on video game acronyms.

Like the video games he played growing up, Reynaga said his goal is to create hyperrealistic portals that transport viewers into their own imagination.

One major difference in the two artists is that Reynaga does not see his finished work until it’s displayed in the gallery. He has the design completed prior to displaying the piece, but some elements like glitter are added around the panel in the gallery.

“I like to be surprised,” he said. “It’s not something that you finish in the studio and hang on the wall, so you hope it works.”

Rusiloski said he spent six hours adding glitter.

“Every show, I try and do something a little different. I’m a bit of a compulsive guy,” Reynaga said. “The three pieces shown here were made in a span of three days.”

NW Campus art student Tyler Landus said he was interested in the idea of Reynaga’s work.

“I want to know what this is all about, what the game controllers represent,” he said.

April Montaque, another NW Campus art student, said it’s a new and different experience seeing the art live versus seeing it in a book.

“Seeing the art and the artist gives you a different feel,” she said.

Hernandez and Reynaga gave advice to art students.

“Be true to yourself,” Reynaga said. “Make art about what you know and you’re passionate about.”

Hernandez encouraged students to find their own style and message.

“Use imagery and make it about what you know,” he said. “Develop your own language.”

Students can visit the exhibit until Oct. 31 in Lakeview Gallery.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian