I am very honored that my painting “The Naturalist” has been chosen for the official Twentieth Anniversary Texas Book Festival poster. The festival is on the weekend of October 17 and 18 at the Texas State Capitol in Austin and benefits Texas public libraries. I am thrilled to have been chosen because the public libraries have been instrumental in my self education as an artist. Before I even stepped inside an art museum I found art within the books I devoured at the library. More practically, I learned to draw and compose paintings by copying old master works found in books. I also discovered literature which has served me faithfully not just for comfort and escape but as a treasure chest of ideas for my works. It is no wonder that I wish for my works to open the same doorways to dreams and imaginations that literature does.
The narrative quality of Ronquillo’s work made it a perfect choice to represent the Texas Book Festival this year. As Stephens [Rachel Stephens from the Wally Workman Gallery] remarks:
“As you can see in the festival poster image, her informed visual language creates characters that are layered with a past as well as a future. The eye contact activates the viewer as a participant. Her symbolism intrigues the imagination. It is no wonder that the literary community is drawn to her work. What time period is it set in? Are the flowers being offered or received? Is the finch a friend or a possession? And what army could the red armband signify? As with literature, there are no wrong answers. There are only stories, stories wanting to be told, stories wanting to be read.” ~ from the Texas Book Festival Lit Blog
Speaking of artists, you can spend the three months between now and TBF weekend admiring the poster art by Fatima Ronquillo, an elegant that looks as if it might be several centuries old, which has the feel of both the Old World and the New World, of past and present, of nature and civilization … it tells a story of the kind we love to discover in books. ~ Robert Faires, The Austin Chronicle