by Bianca Suchite
A CONVERSATION WITH RAFAEL ARTURO
Some people are fortunate enough to discover their one true passion in life, wholeheartedly dedicating themselves and finding refuge within that sole place. Others find themselves pouring themselves unto a multitude of areas, channeling various passions rather than just one. Boston-based artist, Rafael Arturo is among the individuals on this Earth whose mind is too open and his curiosity too strong to dedicate himself to merely one art. A performer, a writer, a photographer and much more, Rafael is a master of many arts. With a soul beyond his years and a beautifully intricate mind, Rafael Arturo breathes life into everything he creates.
Where are you from? & Where are you currently based?
Almost 25 years ago My mother had made her appearance into the U.S in the mid 90’s working as an immigrant while in the midst of getting her documents to become a citizens of the united states. Born a Black Dominican, a woman of color and in the year of 1998 I happened to be my mother's son, born and raised in the city of Boston.
How old are you?
I'm going into my 21st year in October (2019).
What or who inspired you to start creating?
That's a very long story, but uh I want to say growing up young I had a bit of difficulty with my speech. While I was struggling with this temporary case of speech impediment I was often looking forward to writing more and writing for me became an essential thing to do and to have in my life. Being young you know, I ended up falling in love with the genre of poetry and that sort of became my origin of creating and expressing.
When did you start taking photos?
The very first time I ever knew what photography meant and how it can be used , I had to be like 15 years young. I've carried that you know, I've carried that element of expression or that form of expression as my years came and I've tried to incorporate photography in many ways throughout my evolution as an artist. Through photography came along the idealizations of directing, you know and styling and all sorts of things that kind of help produce one single image. I never want to limit my outlets of expression , but photography has never been a priority for me to do it has always just been an idea or something of that sort you know?
Who or what currently inspires you and your work?
Many things, it's inspirational to learn and to be curious. I find that very important to understand as an artist you know? almost like practicing what you preach it's important to learn about where you come from and to learn about our history (people of color). There is truth in knowledge and without that truth as an artist you'll find yourself searching for a very long time in places that do not reflect what it is you believe in. To learn something and then to bring that bit of knowledge and incorporate it into my expressional vision is what inspires me and keeps me driven.
What has been your proudest moment as an artist?
I did a performance recently in the city of Cambridge, it was about the resurrection of a black revolutionary named Luther Rose. The character being of course inspired by the many black leaders before our time who have paved the way for people like myself to continue to spread the truth of possibilities and overcoming boundaries. I was told after the show that the audience was so amazed that they walked up to the set once I left the room and they like began to inspect it as if it was an installation. I was also told by a good friend of mine that he was completely inspired and that he's started a new path in his life as an artist and i was just honored. I was shocked by the kind of print I left and the kind of impact the show had made.
How do you hope to grow your career and what do you hope to achieve?
This kind of goes back to one of the most recent questions you asked, and it was about what or who inspires the kind of work i do. The life of an artist is immortal, the life of a human is long and old. The more time you spend doing things you "must do" as an artist, you know the more time you spend investing and dedicating yourself to doing the things you must do then whatever you "could" be doing is just a hobby and you've realized now what it is you have to prioritize and work around because now you’re committed to doing things you must do rather than doing things you know you "could do”. I want to spend time as an artist working on material that will bring light among our people and inspire others, simple as that.
How would you classify yourself as an artist or you style of work?
I never really thought about it, I guess the amount of credentials and you know stuff like matters when you "rank" someone right? Because it's either how famous they are or whatever but I don't really care for that. Things like that is what applies the type of insecurities that will end up changing someone's whole demeanor and someone's whole appearance all because of where they've been ranked. The only thing that really matters is what you know and how you stand for what you know and even that kind of purpose doesn't really qualify for the conception of "ranks".
Are you currently working on releasing anything new?
Uh, yes. I've dedicated my time and my knowledge into writing my first book in which is a collection of essays and poems that reflect and depict the ideology of the African-American life in America. As I've spent much of my time remaining reclusive and doing research I won't really say much more but that is one of my biggest projects up to date in the midst of all the other potential material that string from that book. Who knows? I might do another "Luther" show, I might want to A&R an album. Who knows? Time will tell.