Moncho 1929, Dan Monteavaro, creates captivating works of art the challenge his audiences to reconcile with the dualities of contemporary life. With exhibitions around the world and even a recent invitation to the prestigious Venice Biennale, Moncho 1929 has been producing work under the radar from the prying and commodifying eyes of the arts industry, yet stunning his growing audiences internationally. As the pandemic forced the world indoors, Moncho 1929 used this time to explore, contemplate, and find new depths in his growing Chimera series. His intricate and awe-inspiring works abstract reality, forcing his viewers to question the ways we perceive the world around us.
In the true renaissance man fashion, Moncho 1929’s Chimera series are visual collisions of a multiplicity of art forms. While the works come to life through oil and acrylic paints, he combines figures, animals, and objects in a manner reminiscent of collage and mixed media. Bold fields of color and gestural lines evoke his background as a street artist and the two-dimensionality of the background and minimalist use of color calls to mind techniques of screen printing. The highly detailed figures often fade into sketches and run-on lines; however, the work does not feel unfinished. The lines trail on as if anticipating a future set of movements or evolutions.
Dissecting the Chimera
What odd and obscure evolutions they are. The term chimera conjures images of mythological hybrid beings or scientific species where two opposing biologies exist in a singular being. Moncho 1929 toys with those conceptions to produce his peculiar combinations. What strikes the viewer first is the familiarity; they recognize a human figure, a horse body, the barrel of a gun. Then, confusion. Lost in a temporal entanglement, the wild west meets the industrial age with accompaniments by elements of modern life, the viewer witnesses one object seamlessly transition into another.
At first, the work may solicit a giggle, as they examine the fusion of a bicycle wheel conjoined to the body of a horse, but as they continue to examine, the humor imbued in the work gives way to recognition of the absurdity. A bastardization of the natural and industrial, a monstrous modernized mythology, a mechanical centaur. As these creatures emerge from the canvas, Moncho 1929 manages to maintain a balance. The surreal nature of his chimeras is elegantly complemented by the delicacy of line and color. Each work drawing the viewer further and further into a world of disparate narratives and thrilling creatures.
The layering of lines, figures, and colors reveals new complexities as the viewer dives deeper. The universal experiences evoked by Moncho 1929’s Chimara series begin to reveal subtle personal autobiographical details. While a Los Angeles artist, Moncho 1929 alludes to his youth growing up in the South Bronx. Take his recent work “Razzmatazz (Candy Shop)”, where an ornate circus horse warps into the body of a child on an antiquated go-kart all overlaid with a classic Pepsi Cola bottle cap. While quintessential icons of American life that trigger a sense of nostalgia in a viewer, for Moncho 1929 Razzmatazz is the corner store he frequented as a child, the store that he vividly recalls as the site of his first fight, but a store that he found representative of life in America. His experiences in the multicultural and historical ‘melting pot’ that is New York City become telling elements of the artist’s personal story, personal connections, and personal realizations about the world.
Taxonomy of ‘The Other’
In this vein, the chimeras that Moncho 1929 create offer a poignant reflection on contemporary global relationships. As the viewer observes the dualities that consume the series they are intrigued by the gorgeous yet unnatural subjects. Drawn in by their beauty, Moncho 1929 forces his audience to confront their own judgments as they attempt to classify his subjects. While they are awed by these creatures they can never truly be accepted as normal, natural, or acceptable. Even the figures that consist of human elements, lacking distinct facial features and combined with animal and man-made elements, become anonymous as they evolve into new beings. They can be viewed as dehumanized, with a need to keep them separate, marked as society’s “other’, just as so many populations and cultures today are marginalized, discredited, or seen as less than human in order to achieve political or social agendas. Moncho 1929’s approach rejects these assumptions that something different makes it inferior. His work actively accentuates how the unique and unconventional features that make one stand out as different in reality make them truly remarkable.
Moncho 1929’s Chimera series evokes beauty, humor, and intrigue. In such unlikely pairings, he compels his viewer to contemplate and critique notions of acceptability. The viewer is left before the work questioning themselves as they embark on a series of personal revelations, reconcile the breathtakingly chaotic assemblage of the Chimera.