What he does: Printmaker Carlos Hernandez sees dead people. Dead rock stars, to be exact. His annual Day of the Dead Rock Stars art exhibit, with skeleton figures of famous musicians, is always one of the highlights of the local season. "First and foremost, I am a printmaker," Hernandez says. "The Day of the Dead started out as just a fun thing and now it's grown into something that people expect every year, but I do other things than Day of the Dead."
Along with his own fine art and what he calls "folk-punk" work, Hernandez is a partner in Burning Bones Press, which produces fine art prints. He teaches hands-on workshops at Burning Bones and acts as a technical adviser for artists who are producing their own prints.
Why he likes it: "I love what I do because I love the process where you start with an idea and you take it through these steps to a final image. In screen printing, it's the process of getting your hands dirty, getting ink on your fingers. It's physical work. Dragging this squeegee across the screen, lifting up the screen and seeing what you got on paper. It's exciting."
What inspires him: "There are so many things to see. I try to look at things for the first time; taking the time to really look at something can transform you. I want to bring that excitement to my artwork." If Hernandez looks at a bicycle, the resulting image might not actually resemble a bicycle, he explains. "I put myself in the engineer's place and look at all the gears, see how it's all put together. I might come back and do a picture of lots of gears, because that's what stuck in my mind."
If not this, then what: "I'd be running a taco truck," Hernandez says, laughing. "I just love those things." (We have no doubt it would have a giant mural on the side.)
If not here, then where: Hernandez is originally from the Texas Valley region, but came to Houston in 1992, after graduating from Texas Tech Universtiy. He's become quite attached to his new home. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I like Houston, it's funky. It's not Dallas, it's not Austin. It's close to New Orleans. I just love it here."
What's next: Hernandez was commissioned to make a portrait of Dee Dee Ramone for display at Ramone's grave on Day of the Dead. That work is being shipped to New York soon. His fifth annual Day of the Dead Rock Stars exhibit opens at Record Ranch Gallery/Cactus Music on October 28 and runs through the new year. This year's show is titled "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" and features portraits of musicians Marvin Gaye, Hank Williams and Amy Winehouse.
Day of the Dead Rock Stars: "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" has an opening reception with the artist at 7 p.m. October 28. The exhibit runs through January, 2012. Record Ranch Gallery/Cactus Music, 2100 Portsmouth. For information, visit www.carloshernandezart.com or call 713-526-9272. The exhibit is free.
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