Rope sculpture by renowned artist Mateo Blanco at the Deland Art Museum, a sensation in Florida

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, June 22, 2024

Rope sculpture by renowned artist Mateo Blanco at the Deland Art Museum, a sensation in Florida
"Hopi Girl" is on display at Museum of Art – DeLand, March 15 - July 14, 2024.

Photo by Luz Marina Escobar

ORLANDO, FLA.- Renowned American artist Mateo Blanco is known for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary! Visitors to the Museum of Art – DeLand can enjoy seeing one of his well-known pieces in person.

Blanco’s “Hopi Girl” is on display through July 14, 2024, as part of the museum’s exhibition, The Figure: Selections from the Permanent Collection. The piece features a young Hopi girl created entirely out of recycled rope Blanco found while sitting on a Florida beach.

“The medium of the sculpture – rope – is a powerful metaphor,” explained Blanco. “A strong material like rope, represents the unwavering strength and resilience of not only Native American women, but all women.” It took him two years to create “Hopi Girl.”

Her cultural hairstyle, popularized by Princess Leia and the Star Wars franchise, represents female strength and the Hopi culture’s influence on film and media. “It means how hard woman work in this world to make their dreams. That piece represents part of history of the United States,” said Blanco. “For most people, that piece is Princess Leia, but it is also a Hopi girl. Hopi is a tribe from Arizona. And the Hopi girls use that kind of hairstyle,” he explained.

“We are thankful to Mateo Blanco for loaning 'Hopi Girl' to the Museum of Art - Deland as part of our current exhibition The Figure: Selections from the Permanent Collection,” said Pattie Pardee, Executive Director. “From my office, I can hear guest’s enthusiastic comments as they recognize the image from Native American history or from the pop culture iconography of Star Wars.”

Having his work on display at The Museum of Art – DeLand also has special meaning for Blanco. “My father competed in motorcycle speed racing for more than two decades in Volusia County,” said Blanco. “The museum connects me to my childhood, inspires me in the present and gives me a vision of the future.”

Growing up in Florida, Blanco spent his days admiring the intricate works of art around the Sunshine State. He always dreamed of creating an art piece incredible enough to be displayed in a state with such meaning to him.

“When creating a piece, I don’t just think of how it will look,” said Blanco. “I think of the deeper meaning and how it’ll make people feel. I want people to feel empowered when they see or purchase my art, like they’re part of the story.”

Mateo Blanco stands out for using unusual materials to create works of art, which have captured the attention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! His art is sold at ArtSpace Virginia Miller Galleries in Coral Gables and The Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery in Boca Raton. Blanco’s art has been displayed on five continents. Some pieces are on display at the Wafi Mall in Dubai, as well as Disney Springs in Orlando.

Blanco was born in Miami in September 1981. His formal training in fine art began in Medellin, Colombia, where he studied under Débora Arango Pérez, the artist immortalized on the country’s 2,000-peso bill, known for her politically charged portrayals of nude female figures. Blanco’s studies include goldsmithing and jewelry. He holds a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. Blanco is also a talented opera singer. He sang a birthday celebration for President George H.W. Bush. For more information or inquiries, visit his Instagram @mateoblancoart.

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