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Daniel de Jesús on Artblog Radio

Listen to Jennifer's conversation with Daniel de Jesús, a multifaceted performance artist based at Taller Puertorriqueño in North Philadelphia. – Artblog editor

daniel de jesus with cello portrait
Daniel de Jesús with Cello, photograph by Elena Kemanskaya

When Daniel de Jesús performs he looks just like a painting of the Virgin Mary or a statue of a saint come to life. He wears a blue silk robe and his blue and purple eye make-up runs down his cheeks like tears. His voice resounds in unison with the cello between his knees; a drum machine may keep time or offer up haunting sounds.

De Jesús has fashioned his performance persona carefully. It is inspired by Baroque-era, Latin American artworks and iconography, a subject that drives much of his artistic expression overall. De Jesús is a noted multi-instrumentalist, but he’s also a multimedia artist and arts educator with chock-full days of work followed by evenings in his painting studio. Many of his images are of saints and martyrs, their elegant flowing hair and beauty preserved and celebrated despite the severed limbs, tears, or piercing arrows associated with this genre.

daniel de jesus piete for a slave painting
Daniel de Jesús, Pieta for a Slave, acrylic on canvas
daniel de jesus san martin de porres painting
Daniel de Jesús, San Martin de Porres, Acrylic on canvas 37″X67″
Daniel de Jesus, Lilith on the Sea, oil on panel 18" X 24"
Daniel de Jesús, Lilith on the Sea, oil on panel 18″ X 24″

This summer, de Jesús will oversee the release of his new EP (on June 10) and will continue working on songwriting and performance projects in collaboration with David Antonio Cruz, a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Interestingly, Cruz grew up in Philadelphia and partook in classes and cultural events at Taller Puertorriqueño, where Daniel de Jesús now serves as the Youth Artist Program Manager.

Daniel de Jesús took time out of his very busy schedule to speak with us for this edition of Artblog Radio recorded in the Traction Company-built radio booth at Moore College of Art and Design on June 6, 2016.