Sculptural artist Jorge Blanco opens his new exhibition at the Andrew Ford Fine Art Gallery this month.  Born in Venezuela, Blanco has lived in the United States since 1999, creating playful sculptures that harken back to childhood days spent doodling with a box of crayons. 

Blanco grew up in an urban environment, and went on to study industrial design at the Neumann Design Institute. “There was almost no industrial development in Venezuela,” he says, “so many of my professors were actually artists, which had a great influence on my education.”

While studying, Blanco also learned about graphic design. He graduated and became a graphic designer, a profession that supported him financially. “During my free time, I would work on my sculptures,” he adds. His sculpting work, often comprised of dark hues, reflected the chaos and suffering of the world around him. Continuing his graphic design work, Blanco moved to Europe. In Italy, he discovered the delightful art of comics, which didn’t exist in Venezuela until Blanco introduced it to the country. Returning to Venezuela, he became the creative director for the Children’s Museum in Caracas, surrounded by happy kids in his workplace.

Working with children, falling in love with his wife and becoming a father contributed to a shift in Blanco’s artistic style. His sculptures, some of which are on view as urban public art in Sarasota, feature bright colors and joyful themes. The gallery in particular features whimsical sculptures of everything from a fish to a tiny human marveling at a giant carrot. 

Usually artists have gallery showings for only a few weeks, but this gallery is permanent, making Blanco proud to have a designated exposition space in his home city. Blanco credits Andrew Ford, of Andrew Ford Fine Art, and Jozef Batko for helping to make the gallery possible. “More than winning an award, I feel most rewarded when someone views my work and it makes them smile,” says Blanco.