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Caught in the moment 

Immersed in the everyday, George Sanchez finds inspiration

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George Sanchez captures the little things in life that we might otherwise miss. Working with a combination of watercolor, graphite, pen and ink, the local artist tells the stories of individual people caught up in day-to-day living.

"They are portraits of the everyday lives of people who are doing just what people do," says Sanchez. "[It is] a heightened imitation of reality the world as we see it, only different, more serious, more satirical."

Sanchez's current collection, Poses: Moments Caught on Paper, was inspired by a recent trip to Philadelphia. The artist carried sketchbooks and drew wherever he happened to be: on the streets, in restaurants, shops and museums. While the images do not feature specific individuals, they were inspired by momentary glimpses of particular people, just being.

He points to a favorite work, "Street Scene," to illustrate his mindset.

"The story is simple ... a guy standing on the street, having a smoke, who just realizes you are looking at him. The drawing catches the moment. He will look away in the next few seconds and carry on with whatever he was doing before he sensed your gaze. That's how it is for all of us when we are walking down the street, sitting on a bench, standing on the corner, eating in a restaurant or whatever ... life just keeps happening."

Reminiscent of Cubist artworks, Sanchez's paintings are simple images that convey an almost fairy-tale, surreal, storybook quality with a modern twist. He says his style of portraiture comes from "illustration and gesture drawing and the free hand of ... expressionistic desires." And his imagination is fueled by the images of urban scenes and people in common settings.

"Every city, town or place," he says, "has its own kind of organic, kinetic energy. I absorb it, and it comes out in my work."

Sanchez hopes his work will entertain and provoke thought at both visceral and intellectual levels.

"I strive to create works of art that revive the relationship between ourselves and our humanity, that stir some deep emotion, or ignite some flame or passion for something we all hold common and care about, whether it be love, fear, happiness, sorrow, admiration or anything else that makes us human," he says.

Sanchez has taught art at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center and Colorado State University in Pueblo. His work is also in the permanent collection of the Taylor Museum at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.


Capsule
Poses: Moments Caught on Paper
El Tesoro Restaurant and Gallery, 10 N. Sierra Madre St.
Exhibit runs through Jan. 31; Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Call 471-0106 for more.

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