Artist Larry Blissett paints raw, expressionist portraits using bold colors - Albuquerque Journal

Artist Larry Blissett paints raw, expressionist portraits using bold colors

(Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

Viewers have called Larry Blissett everything from “the Chicano Basquiat” to “a watered-down Picasso.”

The Santa Fe artist and former contractor laughs at the labels and shrugs off any criticism with, “Some people don’t think it’s artwork, but I don’t care. ”

Blissett’s work is available at Santa Fe’s Blue Rain Gallery, 544 S. Guadalupe St.

Completely self-taught, he paints raw, expressionist portraits using bold colors in a style described as “art brut,” “outsider art” and “neo expressionist.” He paints with a vigor verging on Basquiat sans the graffiti.

“White Wolf, Yellow Moon,” Larry D. Blissett, acrylic on canvas, 48×46 inches. (Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

He calls it “loner art.”

Born in Texas, Blissett worked as a contractor for 25 years before a heart attack led him to paintbrush and palette.

“I was doing a remodel for my daughter in California,” he said. “They had an apartment for me and every night I’d go veg out and watch television. Toward the end of it, I decided I had to do something else.”

He headed to the nearest art supply store. It was 2009 and the first time he had painted anything since school.

“I did take one art class,” he said. “I didn’t to anything the teacher told me to. I got in trouble. I think I got a D in that class,” he added, laughing.

Living in Santa Fe for the last 30 years, Blissett was first invited to show his art in an Amarillo, Texas, gallery. But the owner died before the opening. Then a Sedona, Arizona, gallerist came calling.

“She was kind of a shyster,” Blissett said. “She made a lot of artists mad. We had a falling out. Six months later, she called, begging me to bring my stuff back. Within six months, she was out of business.”

He got the call from Blue Rain 30 years ago. He also has showed his work at Santa Fe’s Contemporary Spanish Market.

“I just start putting paint on a canvas or a piece of Masonite,” Blissett said. “When it starts to turn into something, I take it from there.”

He listens to ZZ Top, the Rolling Stones, Link Wray, the Doors and various blues artists as he works. He cites influences from New Mexico artists such as John Nieto, Mateo Romero and James Havard to Fritz Scholder and John Axton.

(Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

He says his acrylic painting “Radiant Child,” his vision of a shocked or terrified face sprouting a halo of dreadlocks, stems from the “genre Basquiat.”

“It started as three or four different paintings,” Blissett said. “I just kept adding to it.

“Some of the stuff I think will never sell, sells,” he added.

“Wolf Eyes” appears to be a Native American bedecked in war paint.

“Preciosa, Miss Persimmon Lips” represents “every uptight woman you ever met in your life,” Blissett said. “A lot of those titles are humorous. I like to have fun with it.”

None of his imagery can be confused with photography. He marries abstraction with representationalism. Replications remain rare. His hand turns to color, bold daubs of paint and texture, driven by instinct.

Ever the contractor, when he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, he built their home.

“The house is my crowning achievement, I guess,” he said.

Home » Entertainment » Arts » Artist Larry Blissett paints raw, expressionist portraits using bold colors

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Resist pruning roses now or they might suffer later
Arts
The kindest thing you can do ... The kindest thing you can do for roses right now will be to offer them water.
2
New interpretive ranger to explain the history, culture of ...
Arts
Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting ... Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting the history and culture of the sites through public programming and direct engagement.
3
Home improvement show, first responder cook-off highlight Rio Rancho ...
Arts
The Rio Rancho Events Center is ... The Rio Rancho Events Center is hosting The Rio Rancho Home Improvement Marketplace Show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and from 10 ...
4
British artist Damien Hirst explores the way of bushido ...
Arts
Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The ... Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The Virtues' by Damien Hirst, an exhibition of eight new prints, Feb. 4 through March 18.
5
'House Gods' goes beyond materials and designs, and glimpses ...
Arts
Jim Kristofic spent five years researching ... Jim Kristofic spent five years researching and writing 'House Gods.' It is based on his interviews – and apprenticeships – ...
6
Filmmakers follow local ensemble Baracutanga as they travel to ...
Arts
The filmmakers will join the band ... The filmmakers will join the band in its journey back home to Bolivia and capture the trip in a feature-length documentary to share with ...
7
'La Cartonería Mexicana' celebrates more than 100 colorful pâpier ...
Arts
Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk ... Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art is showing 'La Cartonería Mexicana' through Nov. 3, 2024
8
Folk duo to deliver their blend of tales and ...
Arts
The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and ... The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and Scott Darsee will perform their blend of early traditional Scandinavian/Celtic ballads and tales at Santa Fe's First Presbyterian ...
9
Opera Southwest brings Rossini's comedic 'Le comte Ory' to ...
Arts
Opera Southwest will perform the composer's ... Opera Southwest will perform the composer's last comedy, 'Le comte Ory,' for three shows in February at the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Albuquerque Journal ...