This week’s cover image by Everardo Gonzalez Godina, known as Lalin, derives from both an unusual technique and unique circumstances. When someone says to him, “Your paintings are beautiful,” Lalin answers briefly, “They are not paintings, but paper and glue. There’s no paint in the work.”
That explains a lot about Lalin’s striking images when it comes to his use of material. What isn’t apparent is that his childhood experiences, which evoke his subject matter and bright colors: such experiences were indeed “dark.” Yet despite his sad memories of the past, Lalin continues to inspire lovers of his work, which is what makes him happy. Certainly, inspiration is this artist’s life-long purpose.
The cover is eye-catching, to be sure. What does it mean to you?
The dog licking the child’s ice cream is based on my own dog and means innocence and nostalgia.
While the cover is called “Taste of Summer,” it’s a literal title. However, the materials you use, according to your own explanation, are figurative, in a way, suggesting content that’s revealed as we peel away the layers of recycled paper and glue. What’s the effect?
Building layers of paper creates a transparent effect and depth. The cover represents a “softer side” of the work. It doesn’t require a lot of layers. It’s small and therefore more intimate. My larger works communicate a “harder side.” It’s difficult for me to get out of the work. I mean my portraits have feelings and emotions.
The portraits also indicate that there’s more to them than meets the eye. That’s what I meant when I said the layering was figurative, revealing things.
I had a difficult childhood, a dark childhood. A teacher locked me in a closet when I was 4 years old. My use of color is also revealing, to counterbalance this darkness. Through the darkness, I created my own world.
What else determined your use of materials?
My family didn’t have much money, so I grabbed what I had, like paper and glue.
Were there any artists who inspired you besides your circumstances?
Yes, [other artists such as] Chuck Close and Jackson Pollock. I liked the way Pollock applied his paint and how he delivered his work. Also Roy Lichtenstein. I love the way he modernized art.
You spend time here on the East End and also live in New York. Why here?
Because my favorite artists live or lived here; also, because of the light and seasonal changes.
You are writing and illustrating your first book for children based on your experiences. What’s your main idea behind it?
To inspire children to know they are loved; to empower children and their families. The boy in the story is much more than what he looks like. Most children’s books are negative, dealing with bullying (although they are needed, too); I hope my book will give children tools to inspire them.
I have a feeling you are aiming for other things in your book and art.
When I visited the Amalfi Coast, I felt a sense of inner peace. It was like Disney World. I want people who see my work to feel a sense of inner peace, too. Viewers say they feel so joyfull when they see my art. That makes me feel good.
For more information, go to Lalin’s website at lalinstudio.com.