"Fidel Lopez"

Mische Technique on masonite

30"" x 24", 2012

Not available for sale

November 2012


I have known Fidel for the lion’s share of my life. I think I was around 13 or 14 years old when we met at the painting school of our much beloved art teacher, Professor Elias Delgado. It was a very special place, and the friendships that we built there have proved to be just as special, having stood the tests of time and distance.


I remember when Fidel first decided to design a set for a children’s play: it was Hansel and Gretel…graced by a special appearance by “la Pinky,” a well-known children’s character played by the Dominican actress Nurin Sanlley. Now that I think about it, I marvel at how they somehow managed to shoehorn “la Pinky” into the narrative, but that’s another affair. The point is, for Fidel, the production was a watershed and a definite turning point. Who would have imagined, at the time, that he would later become the premiere set designer and producer in the entertainment business in the Dominican Republic?


I moved to New York many years later and would see Fidel periodically during his trips to New York City or when I would make one of my not-very-frequent trips back to the DR. Last year, we had a get-together with a small group of old friends from the DR at my country house in Pennsylvania. Fidel cooked up the idea that we should meet to celebrate the birthday of one of our friends. After surveying the works that I keep in my studio there, Fidel expressed a desire to have one of my recent works (he already has a couple of the pieces that I did back in my DR days). I thought it better ­that he should have his portrait done, and he took to the idea. Although Fidel posed for some reference photos, we never discussed any of the particulars of the painting. He said, simply: I trust that, whatever you do, it will turn out right. I hope that I have lived up to the faith that he so generously placed in me.


Although I admit to a total ignorance of any facet of set construction or of the practicalities of his interactions with his staff, I have to say that I found the whole affair infinitely diverting. I imagined, and eventually painted, various tableaux depicting events in the construction of the set that is seen in the background. Being known for his sense of humor, Fidel will likely appreciate my having taken inspiration from his remarkable capacity for dealing with the ever-impending threat of calamity and catastrophe in the workplace.


This is strictly a personal vision of a dear friend. Any resemblance to real places, events, or people living or dead is purely coincidental.




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 Copyright © by Miguel Tió