RAD in Kindergarten
Originally from Los Angeles, RAD is an artist and educator based in West Harlem, New York. He’s been teaching art to children since he graduated with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in Art Education from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
RAD creates paintings, collages, murals, printmaking, digital and mixed-media pieces which aims to stay true to the spirit and vitality of one’s youth. It’s an ethos that is exemplified in his character Forever Young, a walking LEGO minifigure wearing a blue suit and briefcase enjoying a dripping pink popsicle.
When children play with toys, their action figures and dolls engage in a dialogue as the they attempt to make sense of the values they have learned from our culture, whether from television, films, internet or their family. It’s the earliest form of storytelling, which, continues when children draw. Narratives form with each line put down on paper. It’s these concepts which continue to inform RAD’s art.
His mother, having immigrated from Cuba, would watch daytime soap operas to learn English. These exagerated plots, where characters were embroiled in over-the-top scandal, influenced RAD at an early age. He eventually developed a narrative of his own: his minifigures living in a fictitious town of Raddington Falls. Idealic on the outside, yet with a darkness underneath once you scratch the surface.
While much of his work is a pastiche of iconography and styles from popular culture, some of his work taps into the political, cynical side of adulthood. It’s these dualities between child-like imagery contextualized through an adult’s point of view, which adds tension and dimensionality to the art work.