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(Image courtesy of Che Lopez).
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Artist of the Week: Che Lopez

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at gmwynkoop@sbgtv.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
CL: Pretty much all my life, I remember staying in during recess and drawing comic books and it wasn't 'til later that that I really started focusing on art. I was lucky enough to have a great art teacher in high school; she was a watercolorist and introduced us to it one day and I instantly fell in love. From there I went to Cornish College of the Arts where I received my degree in illustration and design. As a watercolorist, I learned how to use the transparent quality of the medium and now I paint in everything from Acrylics, Oils and Pastels because they're opaque quality.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My work is very organic, as in I usually start with color on paper and build from the inside out. Pulling images from the splatters of color. But that is my personal work, since I teach so much I also paint a lot of landscapes and florals during my classes. I try to be versatile in what I paint and in what medium that I paint in.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I love painting the female form. My personal work is inspired by my Chicano culture, from imagery and colors. Dia de Los Muertos is a huge is a huge inspiration to me when it comes to what I love to paint.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best? – nature, food, profiles, etc?
I'm a family man. I have two kids, one is 8 and the other 2 1/2, so they really take up most of my time. I'm thankful I get a break and teach 4 times in the week. Being a stay at home dad is no joke.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I know this is cliche but whatever I am painting at the moment is the most important piece. Because, if it's not, then why paint? With each brush stroke, I'm growing as an artist. You have to love what you're painting. If not, why are you painting it?

What experiences in your life have affected your art most?
I think, through my wandering in this life, every experience I've had has helped me become a better artist. I've worked as a cook, animator, graphic designer, web designer, teacher, boxing coach, gym owner and, last but not least, stay at home dad. All of these have made me a better artist. I have heard that some artists have sacrificed a lot of things to be an artist. I have sacrificed nothing, and my art has given me everything. Being an artist to me is like breathing. I need to create to be whole.

If we want to see more of you work, where should we go to find?
I share my experience as a teaching artist on my Facebook, Instagram, and website. I don't show in galleries unless I'm in a group show. I just keep it simple, paint, post, and sell work from time to time. I'm just happy doing what I love.

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
The quarter just started for me, so I'm excited to be back in teaching again. I do miss my students that I paint with. For me, these days painting is no longer a solitary thing; I need to paint with people. The conversations we have are the best.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone.
Sugar and cream. Nothing fancy. Just an ole' fashion cup of joe.

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