Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Violent societies being eaten alive by hungry wolves disguised as lovable cartoon characters and disciples: The Date Farmers

The Date Farmers are an artistic duo who tell the story of being human in a society boiling over in media, violence, and unceasing advertisement. They illustrate an ever-present and growing confusion between different ideas in culture, values, and family.  As we progress as a society built upon instant gratification, the internet, materialism, and new technologies the lines often become tangled and blurred, and the result is misconstrued conceptions of comfort and love. 

By blending seemingly unrelated items or figures into their work (numerous paintings depict characters such as Hello Kitty and Jesus Christ pasted side by side onto a canvas) we realize that both figures are a product of obsessive marketing, greed, and power. Yet we have grown up together with these seemingly harmless figures and we find comfort and strength and happiness in their commonplace role in our culture.

Through their work, The Date Farmers tell numerous stories of individual human beings, often haunting, eerily charming, they give an identity to the man forgotten. Each story sheds light on man's struggle for acceptance, love, and success while relentlessly attacking pop culture influences which often leak into and taint the mind of the man already fighting towards triumph, the man already busy and confused by spirituality, religion, career, and education. Each narrative is distinct, but their works conceptualize fears and ideas that every human being can relate to.

The artists collage found journal entries from unknown authors, depicting thoughts and fears that we would only feel comfortable expressing through a personal narrative, never meant to be read by anyone, only providing proof of our struggles in order for individual growth. The Date Farmers eloquently harmonize the sound of human suffering and happiness. Nothing separates us but the boundaries we have created and the walls we have built to divide ourselves.

Armando Lerma of the Date Farmers kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Kylie Knight: Why do you feel the need to create art?

Armando Lerma: I have always loved art, my love for art has grown throughout the years and has developed into a lifestyle, and art is meditative and allows me to participate. Art lets me know I’m alive.

KK: Is there anything you would change in terms of the way the art world currently functions?

AL: The art world is out of my hands, all I can do is focus on my art and everything else will fall into place (whatever that means).

KK: What are some of the earliest images you can remember drawing as a child?

AL: I remember drawing images from the encyclopedia, Picasso particularly.

KK: Much of your work collages found objects such as garbage and memorabilia, what intrigues you about this process?

AL: I enjoy being creative, I like turning things that people throw away into art.

KK: What type of artwork were you both working on individually before The Date Farmers became a creative union? Has it varied much?

AL: I think we both spent a lot of time learning how to draw and paint before we met each other; we did a lot of bad art that we were able to learn from.

KK: As you continue to progress as an artist do you find inspiration easier to find? More difficult?

AL: Inspiration comes easy- it’s the perspiration part that is more difficult, but even that comes easy when you have a strong desire and my desire is strong.

KK: Through years of constant shows and traveling The Date Farmers still manage to find a home here in the Coachella Valley. What is it about this desert that consistently lures you?

AL: The desert is home, my family is here, it is familiar, I can focus here, and it’s beautiful.

KK: What can we expect next from The Date Farmers?

AL: I'm not too sure, but I know it will have something to do with art.

For more information about the Date Farmers, please visit

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