Favio Moreno Puts His Artistic Faith in Color

"The Optimist", 2012EXPAND
"The Optimist", 2012
Favio Moreno/The Public Trust

Favio Moreno is constantly losing his religion. It’s always falling out of his wallet. Well, the catholic prayer cards his mother is always giving him. “My wallet is full of these little cards of religious iconography and credit cards,” he says. “Although I don’t subscribe to religion, I still feel guilty when they fall out. Like it’s bad juju.”

His Catholic upbringing isn’t just stuffed between his driver’s license and crumpled dollar bills, it’s all over the canvas, in his bright, candy-colored paintings. In his work, you’ll find new interpretations of the Virgin Mary, her eyes bright blue, her hair salmon red. Moreno uses color like no one else in this city covering the canvas in it with a screen printing aesthetic.

A fulltime graphic designer by day, Moreno says he paints the night shift, putting in 20 hours a week to bring his eye-popping creations to life. He credits his Hispanic heritage for bringing color to the forefront of his practice. That, and Matisse. “I don’t want to say it’s in my DNA to use vibrant colors, but we would spend time in Mexico and color is everywhere,” says Moreno. “Then, when I was in school we studied Matisse and I was just fascinated by him, so I try to invoke a little bit of that.”

Moreno wasn’t interested in the gallery game until he met Brian Gibb, who runs the most punk rock space in the city, The Public Trust. Before that Moreno was setting up on Exposition Ave. showing his work and inviting his friends to play live music. It was a mini street festival. But that was years ago now. By now, he’s had a few gallery shows to his name and isn’t quite so surprised that people are interested in buying his art. This weekend he has a solo exhibition at The Public Trust (2271 Monitor St.) called Grotesque Beauty, which he describes as more organic than his previous work, but filled with the same fascination with color.

See Grotesque Beauty in an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Saturday. More trustthepublic.com. 


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