Artist Larry Blissett paints raw, expressionist portraits using vivid colors

(Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

Viewers have called Larry Blissett everything from “the Chicano Basquiat” to “a watered-down Picasso.”

The Santa Fe artist and former entrepreneur pokes fun at labels and ignores any criticism, saying, “Some people don’t think these are works of art, but I don’t care. ”

Blissett’s work is available at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, 544 S. Guadalupe St.

Completely self-taught, he paints raw, expressionist portraits in bright colors in a style referred to as ‘art brut’, ‘art brut’ and ‘neo expressionist’. He paints with a vigor close to Basquiat without the graffiti.

“White Wolf, Yellow Moon,” Larry D. Blissett, acrylic on canvas, 48 ​​× 46 inches. (Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

He calls it “the solitary art”.

Born in Texas, Blissett worked as an entrepreneur for 25 years before a heart attack took him to brush and palette.

“I was doing a renovation for my daughter in California,” he said. “They had an apartment for me and every night I went out vegetarian and watched TV. Towards the end, I decided that I had to do something else.

He headed for the nearest art supply store. It was 2009 and the first time he painted something since school.

“I took an art class,” he said. “I didn’t do anything the teacher told me. I got into trouble. I think I got a D in that class,” he added with a laugh.

Living in Santa Fe for 30 years, Blissett was first invited to exhibit his art at a gallery in Amarillo, Texas. But the owner died before the opening. Then a gallerist from Sedona, Arizona came calling.

“She was kind of a con man,” Blissett said. “She drove a lot of artists crazy. We argued. Six months later, she called me, begging me to bring my things to her. Within six months, she was bankrupt.

He got the call from Blue Rain 30 years ago. He has also presented his work at the contemporary Spanish market in Santa Fe.

“I just start putting paint on a canvas or a piece of masonite,” Blissett said. “When it starts to turn into something, I take it from there.”

He listens to ZZ Top, the Rolling Stones, Link Wray, the Doors and various blues artists while he works. He cites influences from New Mexico artists such as John Nieto, Mateo Romero and James Havard to Fritz Scholder and John Axton.

(Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery)

He says his acrylic painting “Radiant Child”, his vision of a shocked or terrified face sprouting a halo of dreadlocks, stems from the “Basquiat genre”.

“It started with three or four different paints,” Blissett said. “I kept adding more.

“Some of the things that I think will never sell, sell,” he added.

“Wolf Eyes” appears to be a Native American covered in war paint.

“Preciosa, Miss Persimmon Lips” represents “all the stuck-up women you’ve met in your life,” Blissett said. “A lot of these titles are humorous. I like to have fun with it. »

None of his images can be confused with photography. He marries abstraction and representationalism. Replications remain rare. Her hand turns to color, bold strokes of paint and texture, guided by instinct.

Always an entrepreneur, when he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, he built their house.

“Home is my crowning glory, I guess,” he said.

Back To Top