Artist Jwan Yosef is still learning about Texas. For the opening of his solo show at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, he got some advice. "Everybody around me that was helping me curate was like, 'No, this is Texas. More is more. Put in much more work!'" So Yosef did, which means you learn a lot about this much talked-about modern artist.
Yosef's deconstructed paintings hang on the gallery walls like open windows into his soul. "It's a very personal show," he said. Yosef's work reflects his life growing up in Sweden, the son of parents who left Syria when he was two years-old.
Among Yosef's subjects are his father, his mother's teenage idol, Rock Hudson, and Syrian dictator, Hafez al-Assad. In addition to traditional materials such as paint and canvas, which Yosef refers to as "holy," he also works with non-traditional media like masking tape and plexiglass, which he calls "unholy."
In addition to his unique work, Yosef is also known for his relationship with superstar Ricky Martin. "We met through my work," Yosef says. "It's a very different life for me now from what it was a few years ago. But at the same time, it's grown very organically and come together very beautifully I think."
Yosef and Martin are now married and raising twin 10 year-old boys, Matteo and Valentino. "It's exciting. I've always wanted to be a father," Yosef says.
As different kinds of artists, Yosef says he and Martin influence each other's work in subtle ways. "I think undoubtedly we do," he says. But don't expect to hear Yosef singing backup on Martin's next album. "I sing a lot," he says laughing. "I have no idea how to sing, but I'll gladly sing -- in the shower."