Carl Lopes of Marstons Mills has been named this year’s Citizens Bank Pops by the Sea commemorative artist.
Lopes will discuss his artistic process on the next episode of Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Creative Exchange podcast on Feb. 15. The podcast may be heard on Apple, Spotify, or on the AFCC’s website, www.artsfoundation.org.
“We have wanted to work with Carl for years, and we feel like this is the perfect year for his art because it is joyful, bright, vibrant, and threaded with positive energy,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “We also love that he was a longtime arts educator. As a teacher, Carl was a beacon of light and inspiration for so many children in our school system. His work in the classroom is a reminder of the vital role that the arts have in education.”
Originally from the New Bedford/Fairhaven area, Lopes came to Cape Cod in 1977 when he accepted a one-year post as a visual arts instructor at Barnstable High School. That job turned into a 35-year career; he spent the last 24 as the head of the school’s art and applied technology department.
He juggled that job with his work as an artist, all while raising his two children, Jared and Andrea, with his wife, Kathy.
“Being a teacher is magnificent in any subject, but it was even more so with art,” Lopes said. “For me, it was like having two full-time jobs where I had a chance to create in my studio after I taught class for eight hours.”
He retired in 2014, immersing himself fully in his craft. By that time, he had developed his current geometric, abstract style, which is influenced by African design and tradition.
The vibrant colors, patterns, and compositions are rooted in his ethnicity as a third generation Cape Verdean-American. “A large part of my art is making a statement regarding who I am,” he said. “The importance of my design comes from my heritage.”
His latest work will reflect these base elements while embodying the Pops by the Sea concert that is held annually every August on the Hyannis Village Green.
“Without giving too much away, what I’m trying to do is create a piece that is really pulling the Cape, in terms of its personality, together with the joy of music,” he said. “I’m taking elements from the Cape and turning them into patterns that represent music, but it’s being done in my own style.”
The finished product will be unveiled in April.
The Pops project is the latest in Lopes’ 50-year career as a painter. His work has been exhibited at the Zion Heritage Museum and the Guyer Barn Gallery, both in Hyannis; Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford; Cotuit Center for the Arts; the Falmouth Art Center; and the Cape Cod Museum of Art. He is currently represented by Creative Hands Gallery in Osterville.
Lopes holds a bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts and a master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.
He currently sits on the boards of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, the Cotuit Center for the Arts, and the Zion Union Heritage Museum, where he is a resident artist and lecturer on Cape Verdean culture.