By Krysse Barbosa
Do you believe in ghosts? The ones that came before us, and return to haunt or remind us of our past. If you don’t, that’s alright. Now think of these ghosts as your past traumas. The ones that stay with us forming the people we’ve become today. Facing such ghosts has never been easy. Which is why we all deal with them differently. Some of us will try to ignore them or run from them, and some of us will try to understand by talking and listening. When you listen you find this hidden language chipped beneath your skin. A language that you never even realized you knew. A code only shared between you and your ghosts. Often this hidden tongue is translated into what we call art. When an artist accepts their hidden gift they learn to listen. Feeling the essence become apparent before their eyes or ears. Into a combination of pigments or frequencies with an intention that lives within them. Mixed media performance artist, Charly Dominguez, started to tell his ghost stories at an early age. However, it was only until his early 20’s that he accepted his passion as art.
Born and Raised in Harlem, the American Dominican Artist grew up in underprivileged conditions with hardships no child, teen or human should bear. As a survivor of displacement, various forms of abuse, and bullying, the artist was forced to learn how to cope. He uses his work and a positive mindset to work through the continuous fight that comes with bearing these chronic wounds. “I experienced multiple traumas from a very young age. A very uniquely difficult life being raised both in NYC and the Dominican Republic, living in poverty and being a gay young person. Needless to say that once I stopped dealing with one issue, there was another one brewing, either with myself or loved ones. I became shattered by the many traumas I have faced. Writing, Drawing, dancing was what I did in the moments I returned to the mirror.” Charly explains. His first canvas was himself and as time progressed, Charly went on to paint others. Soon after he became connected with an artistic family in Harlem and NYC, where he found kindred spirits and an opportunity to collaborate with a community. Most importantly Charly found aid towards his healing process and with it came growth to the artist he is today.
“The Charly Magazine” is the title and compilation of his work. He describes it as a public journal. This is where he records his ghost stories. Bringing a modern twist between polemical, and spiritual, the artist covers themes such as; the true nature of people, modern tribalism, popularly demonized sexuality and sensuality, and the spirituality of both the conflict and the moments of peace, into his mixed media formats. Body art, photography, and installations are typically how you will find his work displayed.
The creative process is one of the most personal and interesting things I find to learn about an artist. Speaking to Charly about his was truly enlightening. Meditation being a definite practice of the artist shows where the spiritual aspect comes from. His canvases often being the human body, and the inspiration being the flashes or glimpses that reveal themselves during his state of trance and while he paints. He explains, “I view myself or the person I'm painting and I see the other beings from beyond like flashes. And I start to bring them from one dimension into this one by way of paint and detailed form. During the shoot, that's when I see them come to life and the story of the work begins. It really is Inter-dimensional. It is a spiritual doorway. It is looking into the souls of the person while looking into my own spirit guides realms”.
We asked him what he wanted people to feel when they saw the “The Charly Magazine”. He explained that he wanted others to feel as if they are walking into another dimension while taking a glimpse into warped moments of his past. His escapes from pain and his journeys floating into worlds of wonder. “I want them to experience beauty and pain. The stories of the silenced”, Charly expressed.
When we asked him about his work environment. Naturally, the artist described his preferred work environment as a serene atmosphere, with little interruption, and no time constraints. Due to experience working in various environments and often lack of choice, he can work in any condition. He shared that some of his best work was born out of the worst environments and conditions. Charly also spoke of his desire to one day share his work on the road traveling the world, and to bring his creations into book and film formats. However, the ultimate goal as many artists aspire for is turning his work and passion into his livelihood.
The New York native has recently moved to Detroit, MI. Forming new connections with its local arts community and recently becoming a RAW Artist Alum. We had the chance to speak to him before and after he participated in, RAW Detroit Presents: SAVOR. Being that this was both his debut in Detroit and RAW, Charly dedicated the presented work to his experience so far in the motor city. This dedication was especially to the talented people he met Detroit who so generously took the time to become part of his work. Expressing his gratitude Charly added, “The models are artists as well and have been very generous to me with their time and resources helping me to create for this showcase. That is truly a blessing!” After the showcase, we followed up with him about his first RAW Artist experience. He describes, “It was a great turnout, and full of amazing artwork! The vibe was so positive and high energy! I loved being a part of this!” Charly then added, “It was a success to have so much support in a new place. I am from NYC and I have already started a great new collection of work in collaboration with models, photographers, and artists from Michigan.” Lastly, we asked him what advice he would give to any new artists prepping for their show, “Definitely important to reach out to all of your community! You truly never know who will show up in support of you. Many of my contributors weren't able to attend but still made it possible for me to be a part of this showcase!”
Support, Follow, or Find his work in the links below!