Culture Shock

Colours, more vivid than the eye can comprehend, adorn the walls at Baked Café. Large acrylic paintings splashed with talent visually take over the back wall. A small canvas of striped robin’s-egg blue and orange features a rather ordinary brown table floating in the sea of stripes.

Nestled next to it is an enormous canvas of green with the words, “El cielo o mienza a entender”, written in red. These larger-than-life works of art are by the Argentinean artist Ramiro Vazquez, here in the Yukon soaking up a highly different culture.

“I tried to show a different way of looking at objects and that there is a depth under every surface,” says Vazquez of his experimentation with colour, patterning and brushstrokes. Even the sizes of the canvases are important: they play with the mind’s eye, and the great huge canvases are just as crucial to the show as the tiny ones.

Vazquez says he is imparting a feeling of dimensionality by joining abstract and photo-realism in his painting. “We focus on what we know with realism, and with abstract our minds can create anything. By joining them both, our minds can recognize what we know and then feel free to expand on the abstract.”

The colours for the show are bright, so much so that I asked him if he always used such bright colours. “I start my art in a basic format and then ask for feedback. Then I build and create based on what I receive.

“The painting with the table sat for many weeks just as a patterned painting, and then I finally added the table. My art is bright, right now, and my mind is as well.”

Vazquez has appreciated living and visiting in Whitehorse for the past four months and anticipates moving back to Cordoba, Argentina, within the month.

He is a classically trained artist as well as a teacher who has shared his love of art with adult artists, children and special-needs students.

“Art allows me to communicate what I feel about society, culture and how we interact,” says Vazquez.

Writers see, hear and write what they experience, and then later they digest and review their writing. As an artist, Vazquez takes in all of life’s details and then writes about them on canvas.

“What I see and hear is what goes into my painting.”

His work is stunning. Vazquez admits that experimenting with different styles allows his “inner child” to run loose and wild. And, combined with the culture in Whitehorse, he has exposed his art to variety and richness.

“Argentina is very different, and even the way we interact in society is dependent upon social climates.” He mentions we are very relaxed and free to roam about our city; whereas in Argentina there are some areas you just shouldn’t go. The difference in society, even the long daylight hours in the Yukon summer, have enriched his work.

Ramiro Vazquez’s art remains on display at Baked Café until Thursday, Dec. 10. For more information on the artist, visit

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