Oscar Joyo is a Malawian born, Chicago based artist known for expressive portraiture that features his unique combination of photo realism and tribal patterning. His practice fuses both traditional and digital mediums to explore imagery and themes connected to afrofuturism and afrosurrealism.
For this exhibition, Joyo has created a collection of 17 paintings on wood panels. Each is, at its core, a photorealistic portrait painted in acrylic of a member of the artist’s community. Joyo then coats each of the panels with a thick, clear resin. On top of this shiny surface he paints a layer of patterning and symbols that both embellish and obscure the subject of the portrait. The work is raw at the edges and is imbued with a spiritual psychedelia.
For Joyo, the creative process is profoundly influenced by music, and his interest in visually representing the sounds he perceives. As Joyo overlays his portraiture with vibrant, dynamic lines, shapes and patterns, they are in response to musical tempo, timbre and mood. As he further explores and understands his personal relationship with sound and it’s conversion into visual imagery, Joyo hopes that this synesthesia will be a point of connectivity for the viewer.