by flaunt

The acclaimed Costa Rican artist, John Paul Fauves wants us to question ourselves and the society in which we live. The ego, the self and our modern hedonistic lifestyle are themes explored in his latest solo exhibition ‘A Loss of Innocence’. Curated by the Tax Collection, the show is made up of 13 paintings and 350 hand-painted masks, which the audience is encouraged to wear during the show.

Essentially, Fauves wants us to question our own humanity as we move further and further away from our childhood innocence. For this, he uses the Disney’s Mickey as a symbol of innocence and seamlessly merge with corrupted icons such as the likes of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

The exhibition is open now at the famous Guy Hepner Gallery, NYC for the month of March. The Innocence Tour will then be brought to Europe, where it can be seen at the Meir Art Gallery, Belgium in June.

Tell us about ‘A Loss of Innocence’…

My show talks about the loss of innocence in humanity. We are all born innocent and free, but somewhere we start to lose track of our true nature. We start school as kids and become oriented into what to be and you lose your individualism. We then get molded into the structure of living and most don’t even know who they really are.

You combine Mickey with the famously flawed, what does Mickey represent?

Mickey as an iconic childhood figure, represents this innocence we all had. In my paintings he becomes a hedonist figure searching for pleasure no matter the consequence. I’m expressing this concept in all of us, since we were all innocent children once. But life changes us, and we become what we are now, most of us with dark secrets hidden in the back of our minds.

What is innocence to you?

I think innocence is the essence of our soul and who we truly are before we start becoming this label of the egocentric world. It is what we were before the system and society got to us. I think that we never lose our innocence, we just don’t see it because of all the layers of existence we created. The idea is that through evolved choices we redeem and go back to our natural state.

You have produced 350 masks for this show, tell us about that…

In the show, besides the art, I’m bringing this experience to the audience by giving them a hand-made Mickey mask to wear. By using the mask during the opening I’m trying to create an experience where people detach from the “EGO” judgment self and start to focus on a more introspective experience. Also, once the mask is on, a lot of layers of your personality will start to unveil. This can be an opportunity to analyze ourselves.

How do you research?
I used to seek creativity in the wrong places and learned a lot from bad choices. I find myself now in a moment where I find my best ideas in silence meditating or taking mountain walks. I think that we are like antennas we just have to tune in the right frequency and the info will come to you.

What is your preferred medium?
Instagram is my favorite medium, to be honest, it’s quite addictive!

What’s next for you?

The next show is planned for June in Meirart Gallery, Belgium. For this one, I will create a ‘life space’ during the exhibition and we will also have an innocence walk a few days before the show wearing the masks. I’m going to put my efforts in making the spectator question his true essence and who he has become during his life journey.

Written by Felicity Carter