Alum Angel Otero’s Home-Inspired Paintings Profiled by Hyperallergic

"First Rain in May," painting by Angel Otero
Angel Otero, "First Rain In May" (2020), oil paint and fabric collaged on canvas, 72 x 96 x 2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

Angel Otero (BFA 2007, MFA 2009) recently sat down for an interview with Hyperallergic to discuss the inspiration behind his work featured in Life During Wartime: Art in the Age of Coronavirus, a virtual exhibition for the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.

Otero describes his decision to isolate in an upstate–New York studio at the beginning of the pandemic. The artist set out to pursue a series of works inspired by experiences from his childhood in Puerto Rico. “I felt that I wanted to open a door and return home, in a metaphorical sense,” he tells the publication.

Otero and Hyperallergic chat about the painter’s experience at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the relationship between his identity and his work, and the ways in which memories with his grandmother have inspired his new collection; however, Otero makes an important distinction. “My intention...is not to tell a story about growing up with my grandmother in Puerto Rico,” he explains. “The memories are just my best excuse to jump into the canvas.”