Fernando Reyes, a Las Vegas artist, is obsessed by The Beatles. Not necessarily their music – or, we should say, not ONLY their music.
Fernando’s quirky paintings, based on thirteen Beatles songs, are now on display at the Enterprise Branch of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library.
How did your obsession with the Beatles begin?
They were my dad’s favorite band. So as a kid, I was introduced to their music. And also, I saw “Hard Days Night” when I was a boy. And so seeing them presented as the best band in the world that really impressed my young mind.
How did the idea come to you to use them for your art?
I was listening to them a lot lately. Going back listening to “Sgt. Pepper” with headphones on, really listening to their music. I had this idea for a show called the Hit List. The Hit List was originally intended to be like the mob, like the hit man, but then it just became the Beatles hits.
Your paintings incorporate a lot of humor. Why did you make them humorous?
Some are humorous just to tone down the seriousness of it. In the “Dr. Roberts” painting I put Doctor Mario in it because it’s a song dealing with drugs and a drug dealer, just to tone it down and not make it too controversial. But still convey the meaning and the message through those symbols.
Back in the day, they used to have a game called “Dr. Mario,” which was a “Tetras” sort of game, where you had to stack up the pills and that’s how you got points. But in the painting he is tossing up a pill, so it’s very close up. In the pill, you see a reflection of Elvis Presley and as people know he died from prescription pills.
Did you listen to the Beatles when you were painting?
Yes, especially the songs that the paintings were based on. I listened to them as I was painting that particular painting.
Tell me about the “Can’t Buy Me Love”:
It is what I see sometimes here in Las Vegas when I was doing murals on Las Vegas Boulevard and I would see the young prostitutes. So, “Can’t Buy Me Love” it kind of conveys that in it. He’s paying for his love but you really can’t. It’s artificial. It’s not really there. It’s fantasy.
What do you hope people get from your exhibit?
The concept of the whole show was the way the Beatles were able to do different genres. They went from romantic do-woopish sounds, to psychedelic to even blues sounds. I wanted the show to have all the genres. I have a cubist painting. I have a realist, traditional portrait painting. I guess their approach to music their philosophy I take that from them.
Fernando Reyes, Las Vegas-based visual artist
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