Picardo explained to me the meaning behind the name of his recent show, Vuela Grito. “It means to yell or scream loudly, from deep within your soul,… from a kind of spiritual place”
That’s not a real surprise if you already know him. Much about Picardo’s body of work suggests a certain sensitivity, or a sense of self-awareness in regards to the existential forces in nature, and within our own lives. Picardo’s passionate visual narratives are openly apparent in his use of vibrant colors, bold and seductive lines and shading, and sensual shapes. His sense of humility, and a genuine interest in meaningfully connecting on a deeper level with the viewer, serves as a perfect balance to temper his vision into something so readily appealing to so many people.
The show was held at the Goei Center in southwest Grand Rapids. Several notable speakers from the community came and spoke about how Picardo has dedicated so much of his time building relationships within the hispanic communities in Grand Rapids and Holland over the last two decades. They spoke of how much his work and his contributions to art, music, and dance meant to those in the community.
A brief slide show of Picardo’s work was presented. Dance presentations were made; An avant garde solo performance by Laura Armenta was conducted to some luxurious sounding classical music (yes, I should know the piece, but I don’t!). A gentleman gave some demonstrations of traditional mexican dance, doing a hat dance, and then breaking out two machetes and utilizing them (which made the photographers go insane!). A family of 6 performers conducted some brilliant traditional african drumming and story telling.
Music was played by a local latin band between sections of the show, which kept everything flowing seamlessly as the next segment was being setup. The night culminated with a rare spoken word and drum performance by Picardo and select friends.
As I packed up and said goodbyes, I was struck by how perfectly assembled and flawless the whole event seemed. The 3 hours that I spent there felt as if only 45 minutes could have passed. The food, the people, the colors, the music… it all went by in such a furious and flowing blur of responsive emotions and expressions of joy that it was almost overwhelming…. which for me, kind of describes the visual word that Picardo has constructed for us.