Jeriel Gerónimo, the artist of the “futuristic Afro

In love with fine arts since he was little, the artist has created a universe in which he unites the ancestral and the current. At #VEINDIGITAL we chat with him.

The artist of Dominican origin, Jeriel Geronimo has presented his first solo exhibition, GENESIS C- BROWN in the gallery HAF Barcelona and which will be open to the public Until 22 November.

He made his debut at the Missony Festival where he showed an intimidating work linked to the religious iconographyto fancy Yet the identity exploration. The work multidisciplinary by Jeriel Gerónimo takes place in the acrylic painting, sculpture and digital artto understand art by creating multisensory universes.

GENESIS C- BROWN is a subversion of the christian iconography that claims the ancestral mystical power of Afro-Taino culture. Through a multi-sensory experience of monochrome works, Jeriel Gerónimo intends to take us into a kind of collective consciousness and inner peace; create a fantasy for get away of a dystopian world. In #VEINDIGITAL We spoke with Jeriel Gerónimo to find out more about him and his work.

Jeriel Geronimo

Religious iconography and multisensory works, uniting the new and the old. Would you define your art like this?

That’s how it is! I describe my art as futuristic Afro-Taino. A mixture of the ancestral with the current and “modern”. I have always been fascinated by the power that images have, to lead my imagination to different times and places. Like Christian iconography, which transported me to the beginning of creation, or to the biblical apocalypse. Historical illustrations, which take me back to times of ancient cultures. Also, Mythology, fairy tales, and audiovisual productions that take me to fantastic worlds.

The mix of my visual references makes my zemíes live in a parallel timeline and space. Between the past and the future. And creating with conventional media, as well as contemporary ones, make my C-maroon dimension a multi-sensory reality. Located between the physical and the digital plane.

In your works you deal with themes such as the exploration of identity. How was your identity affected by having to move from Santo Domingo to Barcelona?

An immediate change in my identity was that being a migrant became part of it. This has made me go through different stages of adaptation, transition and learning. Also, in Santo Domingo I didn’t feel the same freedom that I feel here, to explore who I am as a queer person. Also, living in a predominantly white city has helped me appreciate the beauty and complexity of my blackness much more. This is a cosmopolitan city, where I have been able to meet multicultural groups of wonderful people, who have contributed to who I am.

So, living in Barcelona has helped me better value and understand the intersectionality of my identity. That the factors that define me are as diverse as the people I have met. But, above all, moving away from home has made me look back at my origins, to understand and remember who I am.

Jeriel Geronimo

You comment that your works are a kind of collective consciousness and inner peace. Do you think they are two aspects lacking in society?

I would say yes, because I think that society is a reflection of those who make it up, and vice versa. And personally, these are two things that I need and that I am looking for. In this search I have seen the importance and the lack of these two pillars in society.

My works also work for me as self-awareness tools, on my journey of personal growth. In those moments when I feel that my life is enveloped in chaos and darkness, I am reminded to look within myself for the answer. They help me understand and process my emotions, and to focus; along with psychotherapy and meditation.

And by sharing my experience, I realize that I am not alone in this search. That collectively we need to be at peace with who we are inside. Even having different trips and experiences.

Do you think your experiences or your origins are important for your work?

Yes, they are essential. My works are the direct result of my experiences and my origins. The way I perceive the world is influenced by my experiences, and my work is connected to them.

I believe in realities that exist beyond our physical world and in the concept of inner light, because I grew up in a Christian family, where I saw images of angels, dragons and sublime beings. But I did not see myself represented in this ethereal and fantastic imagery, which is why, in my universe, I center people of African descent like myself. Also, being a queer person, growing up in a religious environment made me feel alienated and the arts served me as an escape to other realities.

I use colors similar to those of the houses in the neighborhoods of my city, Santo Domingo. I put plastic arts aside for more than ten years to work and specialize in photography and other creative disciplines. This is reflected in the multidisciplinary nature of my work and the evolution of my painting technique. I returned to painting in quarantine, a vital moment of many changes, in which I needed to reconnect with my core. That is why I create beings that are one with their essence, in harmonious and calm environments.

I think my art would not be the same without these experiences.

Jeriel Geronimo

You are an artist who works with numerous disciplines, but which one do you like or feel most comfortable creating?

In general, I feel comfortable creating. I heard that artists are born with a need to create, and that the different disciplines that we learn are tools that we use to supply it. That’s why I like all the tools I use. Each of the disciplines I work with fulfills a different objective and in turn complements each other.

I feel more connected to myself when I can put my multidisciplinary knowledge into the same project. This happens when I create with fine arts. When painting, I use lighting knowledge learned from photography. 3D sculpture helps me to sculpt physically and apply it digitally. And I bring my works to life with augmented reality, thanks to animation knowledge and digital design.

We are used to the fact that art, in general, is something that is seen from a distance. How did you start doing multisensory works?

Well, they are born as a result of how I experience art. When I see a play, I get as close as I can. It is already an automatic reflex, an attempt to enter the artist’s universe and get to know his psyche. I think this journey becomes easier when art includes more than one of our senses. Our brain receives different stimuli, about the same experience, and you get more involved. You smell and listen to a visual work, and it takes on another dimension. It becomes more real.

It is my way of turning my works into portals with different entrances. An open invitation to enter my universe.

Jeriel Geronimo

This weekend you have opened your first solo exhibition. How was it? How did this opportunity come to you?

It was an unforgettable experience! I was able to open portals to my C-maroon dimension, with the different media and disciplines I work with and present them in one place. I believe that my artistic discourse is completed with the interaction of those who experience my works, and thus it becomes a dialogue. I shared my genesis with extraordinary people, and being able to hear what my work conveys to them, and how my works spoke to them, fills my heart with joy.

The opportunity arose at one of the HOT AS FOC events this summer. They saw my work and asked me to exhibit with them. HAF has been one of the first places where I connect with the art scene in Barcelona. And having my first solo exhibition there seems very special to me.

What is it like to be an artist nowadays in Spain? Can you live on it?

I have had the opportunity to meet incredible and very different artists, thanks to the places where I have exhibited my work (Misonny art festival, Entresuelos and HAF). From renowned artists to emerging artists who are at the genesis of our careers. I would say that the experience of being an artist in Spain can be as unique as art itself.

I don’t think there is a formal one that works for everyone. However, I have realized that the main thing is to find our niche. The place where we belong in such a vast market. I think that this can only be achieved by being faithful to our core, the essence that makes us different. If we know who we are as artists and what we want to say, the rest will follow, in due time.

Will we be able to enjoy your work in the future in other places?

Yes! I am concretizing new exhibitions and collaborations, which I will announce soon. You can follow my work and future exhibitions on my Instagram @Zemi2.0.

What about upcoming jobs or projects?

I am currently focused on producing new works. I really want to show them.

Jeriel Gerónimo, the artist of the “futuristic Afro-Taíno” – VEIN Magazine