Center on Halsted Presents JULIUS BAUTISTA Exhibit Review – Colorful Portraits Suffused with Emotion

Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ community center features promising LGBTQ artists in their gallery spaces.  Artist, Julius DC Bautista has several pieces of his work on display in the Center’s second-floor art gallery through May 30, 2017.

Creating art, for Julius, is a way of processing emotions. You can see the depths of his emotions in each of his pieces. His work can be dark, but color bursts from his canvas in the form of lines, star, dots, and flowers in which Julius refers to as "transition from conflict to resolution." His work features portraits of the well-known to those purely of his own creation.

Bautista chose Center on Halsted to display his work because when he first moved to Chicago a few years ago the Center served as a safe haven for him.  When the opportunity arose for him to have an exhibit he eagerly accepted.

In a recent interview with Bautista, he shared some of his processes with Picture this Post readers.

Center on Halsted Presents JULIUS BAUTISTA Exhibit Review
Artist, Julius DC Bautista

PTP:  Many of your pieces have a dark almost sinister element, was that your intention?

JB: “It's not so much intention as it is intrinsic.  Sadness, hatred, fear, anger, melancholy, rage...  To deny the existence of these emotions within us would only be dishonest.  We all have the capacity to feel these emotions. To varying degrees, we instinctively try to hide what society collectively considers "dark..." But ignoring an emotion does not make it simply go away. It must be faced, processed, experienced, and expressed. To bury the darkness would only prolong the existence of the pain from which the darkness came.”

PTP:  What is the inspiration for your work?

JB- “It comes from anywhere, really, as long as it's challenging...  Music, film, literature, philosophy, critical theory even... The more challenging or abstract the material I experience, the more potent the inspiration.  

 “There is something naturally cathartic about stepping back to reflect on an emotion... So, the more drastic the emotion, the more complex the analysis becomes. 

 “It's fun to postulate a dry, logical analysis of extreme, intense, almost caustic emotion, like that experienced in a moment of crisis or revelation. It's exciting to draw the lines between reason and impulse.”

PTP: What made you decide to have an exhibit at the Center on Halsted?

JB- “Considering its purpose and value to the LGBTQ community, one can extract the notion that at least a portion of its mission is to act as a sort of haven or refuge for at-risk youth. At least, that was my romanticized perception of it when I was much younger.  When I was 'new' to Chicago in 2009, after a medical discharge from the military, the simple existence of the center symbolized safety and acceptance, factors quite significant to an LGBTQ minority.”

PTP: I feel like the character in each painting has a story to tell. Is that true?

JB- “We all have a story to tell, so yes.  And it is correct to presume that I focus and zoom in on that narrative, given my love for music, literature, and film.

 “The canvas, as a two-dimensional surface, is a story contained within a single moment.  A snapshot by which the viewer can explore at his or her own leisure.  How rad is that?”

PTP:  How would you describe your work?

JB- “Methodical chaos.  A manifestation of contradictions. It's the simultaneous acceptance and rejection of two opposing ends of a spectrum.  Like a fun, buoyant, whimsical transmutation of the morbid and morose. 

 At the moment, essentially 99% of my work can be considered more a portrait of one's psyche than one's actual person.  So, they're like psychological portraits or dreamscapes where anything is game.”

PTP:  Why in all your pieces do the characters have one eye one color while the other eye is a different color? Is that a trademark in all your work?

JB- “I suppose it is.  I never intended for it to be a trademark; it just happened.  But it works quite well as a cute little nod to the notion of duality, which is the core motif of my work. 

 “As acknowledged by philosophies such as Taoism or the Marxist laws of opposites, everything in existence is defined by its opposite.  How would we know love without hate?  Cold, without heat?  It's like the essence of binary, everything existing in zeros and ones.  Plus, it totally pops.  It catches the eye.”

To find out more visit The Center on Halsted website.


Thru May 30, 2017.

8 AM to 9 PM, 7 days per week


3656 N. Halsted St.
Center on Halsted, 2nd Floor Art Gallery


Admission is free

About the Author:

Steven Braun,Volunteer Engagement Committee Leader and Volunteer Trainer at Center on Halsted was born and raised suburbanite, now 30 years Chicago urbanite. Steve is a real estate entrepreneur and germane to these pages, also a member of, advocate for, and friend to the LGBTQ Community.  When not volunteering, writing, or at the gym, Steve can be found watching "House Hunters."




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