Yosiell Lorenzo’s work fits into that saying: “never judge a book by its cover”. At first glance, his artwork is all cuteness: cupcakes, cherries and candy. But beneath the facade of frosting and the rainbow sprinkles camouflage, a sadness is stirring. Yosiell uses sweetness to reel us in. Once he has us in his saccharine net, we settle and see beyond the surface: these are cheerless creatures. They are all searching for love.
The Sicklings are a troop of Yosiell’s recurring characters who are particularly mopey and needy. Rendered in sexless simplicity, the Sicklings function like anthropomorphic feelings: Frustration, loneliness, despair…Often the Sicklings wear masks. Yosiell uses masks as a device throughout his paintings and three dimensional work. The masks represent dual and hidden identities, as well as society’s attempts to label individuals who resist categorization. Yosiell has dealt with these identity issues first hand. As a gay, Puerto Rican artist, he was often told that he didn’t “look gay” or he was a “fake Rican”.
Yosiell was introduced to art in his youth during a time when hip hop and graffiti defined urban culture. Growing up in Bridgeport, CT, he’d hop the train to New York and absorb it all. In the bold lines and bright colors, he saw strength. The writing on the wall seemed to shout: Look at me! I’m here! While he admired the intrepid markings of the graffiti writers, Yosiell also found himself looking inward. Inspired by movies like Labyrinth, he began to explore the idea of creating his own fictional world through his art. Aerosol and acrylic as escape route.
These days, Yosiell has been moving toward a warmer, more subtle and aged palette for his paintings. Each piece is a process of textures and washes. Thematically, he continues to explore issues of sadness and longing, but he works in varying mediums, including: sculpting, painting, graphite, ink, mixed media and digital vector art. He has had a solo show every year since 2008. Additionally, Yosiell makes his presence known in group shows around the country with events in New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami. A personal highlight for Yosiell was being invited to show at renowned lowbrow and pop surrealist venue, Gallery1988.
Yosiell holds a BFA in graphic design from Paier College of Art. In 2011, he will debut new bodies of work in solo shows at Art Whino in the DC area and Screaming Sky Gallery in Portland. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he continues to spend many hours in his studio working on paintings, toys and illustrations.