Imagine an interesting man who, in one lifetime, has worked as a radio personality, manager of an OB-GYN practice, graphic designer, stand-up comic, and a college instructor.
That man is Dr. Iván Tirado of Milford, whose collection of cool jobs is history since he burst into the international scene as a figurative contemporary artist. His artwork is timeless and unique.
With his success, Tirado proved wrong a Milford gallery owner who once said his art was “too advanced for this town.”
In fact, his paintings, sketches and sculptures not only have been embraced in Milford, throughout Connecticut and in New York, but also by art lovers in Argentina, France, Switzerland, London, Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico.
Tirado’s artwork is published in the books International Contemporary Masters VI (World Wide Art Books, 2012) and Important World Artists (WWAB, 2013). His research is published in the International Journal of Strategic Information Technology and Applications.
That’s a lot of work before age 40.
Born in Puerto Rico, Tirado earned a BA in humanities in fine arts and fell in love with sculpting during his last year of college. Then into the working world he went.
“My first real job was in radio, and from there I began doing stand-up comedy,” Tirado explained. “When my wife and I moved to New York State, I took a job managing an OB-GYN practice. That was, well…interesting.”
In 2006, Tirado earned a M.Ed. in instructional technology and, subsequently, a Ph.D. in education in instructional design for on-line learning. While creating artwork to display at home, Tirado worked in graphic design and education. He taught art for awhile at a New York school for disabled students before relocating to Milford.
“One 18-year-old disabled student hid in the bathroom during my class,” Tirado recalled. “I asked him ‘Why won’t you come and join us?’ and he finally told me, ‘I can’t do what you do’. I encouraged him and insisted that he could draw. I showed him how to use a battery to sketch the proportions of the human figure. Once he did it, he felt so good!”
To this day, Tirado loves bringing art to people in different ways, whether through private and group lessons, sculpting and painting parties, or presentations.
His foray into art exhibitions began after a chance encounter with a well-known man in art circles while Tirado and his wife were visiting a Miami Beach gallery. The man looked at photos of Tirado’s art, gave him a business card and said, “When you want to do something with your life, let me know.”
So Tirado opened his first exhibit in September 2010 at the Orange Public Library. Other shows swiftly followed, including his first solo exhibit in Milford in 2011.
Since November, the art-loving public has enjoyed “TORSOS: The Art of Iván Tirado” at The Gallery at Elemar in New Haven. The collection includes clay sculptures, paintings and pencil sketches of female figures.
“I got the idea for TORSOS from a sculpting party I conducted for five women who had known one another for many years. As I listened, they all spoke so negatively about their own bodies, which bothered me a great deal. I wanted them to see themselves as beautiful,” Tirado said.
So Tirado began creating TORSOS, while also studying “the psychology of their discontent. Blending cognitive psychology with art has always been interesting to me.”
Tirado believes “we’re all a book, writing it as we go. With the body, we have to fall in love with all of the changes as they happen.”
The TORSOS exhibit is a breathtaking assortment of female figures. It highlights so many emotional states from the “Abased” sculpture of a woman curling her torso downward, to the uplifting 2′ x 3′ acrylic on canvas image of “Summer Night”.
Tirado said he prefers creating female figures in which he can portray both strength and sensitivity.
He also is convinced there is healing in art. “Relaxing and taking time for oneself is the first step in healing. And research shows that the creative process offers the same neurological benefits as meditation or massage. Sculpting, for example, connects us with the first loving touches we received as babies.”
As Tirado looks ahead, he said he wants to have a studio gallery where he can teach.
“I want to develop a system where people can be reunited with art outside of an art world that can be elitist, and to have the benefit of art and the chance to be creative.”
Tirado’s New Haven exhibit ends Jan. 24 with a closing event at 6:30 p.m. that will include a discussion about learning and the healing benefits of art. The exhibit is at the Gallery at Elemar, 2 Gibbs Street in New Haven. Admission is free.
His next available Sculpting Party in Milford is scheduled for March 4 at Café Atlantique.