Kevin Obregon was drawing before he could speak. Now he’s drawing up big plans for his new gallery. The Little Forest Hills resident recently was named director of Nine Eyes Studio in Deep Ellum, an art gallery and tattoo studio rolled into one.
Obregon brings years of experience to the table — just none as a director. He has worked as an artist, photographer, writer and video game designer, but gallery director is new to him.
“I’m not really sure I know what I’m doing,” he says.
But he knows what he wants the gallery to accomplish. Instead of inviting people to simply look at finished pieces of art, Obregon wants visitors to experience the art-making process.
“So much of it is not production but destruction. So much is correction,” he says. “I want to open up a narrative that’s often missing in contemporary art.”
To demonstrate this, Obregon is hosting a series of shows called EyeOpeners in which he allows visitors to watch him paint, often with help from friends.
“It’s cool because people can look at one wall and see a finished piece and then look behind them and see one in the process,” he says.
He held the first in the series in June, painting for 27 hours straight. His painting took on many different forms throughout the marathon, which onlookers would never be aware of by just looking at the finished product. Though the experiment got the point across, Obregon won’t be painting for a day straight again without some help organizing the event.
“I was a walking zombie by the end of it. I don’t even remember if anyone showed up,” he says. “I was having to do everything. I feel like I should’ve had cymbals on my knees and a bass drum strapped to my tummy.”
In his own art, some of which neighbors can see in the gallery, Obregon uses whatever he can find. He has used cake-icing knives to spread paint, old closet doors and pieces of fence as canvas, and house paint instead of more expensive artists’ paints. He has even painted over old paintings. This habit of using “reclaimed items” is easier on his budget, and since he doesn’t receive a salary for his work as director, he’s willing to shave expenses wherever he can.
“When you look at the piece, you’re not seeing house paint. You see beautiful pieces,” he says. “It adds to the mystique.”
No matter what he gets himself into, whether it’s house paint or painting marathons, Obregon loves what he does.
“If you asked me what I want to do when I grow up, if I ever grow up, it would have to be doing this,” he says.
For information about Nine Eyes Studio, call 214.841.EYES.
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