I'm going to need a bigger paintbrush: Artist's incredible portraits that are bigger than a football field
Huge ideas spread over canvases bigger than football fields and onto the sides of buildings is how Jorge Rodriguez Gerada expresses his art.
The Cuban lives in Barcelona and has spent the past decade creating his Identity and Terrestrial Series, across Europe and Latin America, on the sides of 60-foot buildings and using 650 tons of sand and gravel spread over two and half acres.
Sometimes using a 4-wheel drive JCB digger to lift and manoeuvre the pigmented and coloured sand for his art, or going through approximately 300 charcoal sticks for each of his 'Identity' series drawings; Jorge does nothing on a small scale.
'Expectation', a portrait of US President Barack Obama, was created using 650 metric tons of sand and gravel. It was designed to be seen from Google Earth
'Enric Miralles,' Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's homage to the Spanish architect, was also part of the 'Terrestrial Series'
Busy exhibiting his artwork at the N2 Gallery in Barcelona, Jorge, 44, is keen to highlight the importance of a sense of identity in everyday people's lives, but also to highlight new technologies and how they can create works that can elude to the immensity of a certain moment.
'As part of the Terrestrial Series I created the iconic image of Barack Obama just before the U.S presidential elections,’ said Jorge.
'This was designed to be viewed from space by Google Earth as a way to open a dialogue about the dramatic uncertainty of our times and the irrational search for a hero to save us.
'The large Terrestrial Series of art works are put together using a vector image and GPS technology, so we can map them out on the ground.
'Mapped out digitally it becomes a high art and large scale version of connecting the dots and then we would fill in the roped off areas with the different coloured sands and rocks.'
Photographed from almost 300 metres up by helicopter, Jorge's representation of Obama was followed up by his slightly smaller work that depicted the famed Catalan architect Enric Miralles.
'Tina' is part of Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's 'Identity' series, and was created on the side of a building in Ljubljana, Slovenia
'Santo', also part of Gerado's 'Identity' series, is in Valencia, Spain. He can take up to one week to complete his stunning building sized drawings
His most recent piece created in collaboration with 350.org depicted a little girl named Galla and covered over six acres.
'They are part of my fascination with aerial photography and with creating something relevant,' said Jorge who grew up in the United States and divides his time between Barcelona, New York and Buenos Aires.
'I wanted to also incorporate the new ways that we can examine the Earth through Google Maps and even getting the work photographed by satellites passing overhead.
'The Obama work was 120 metres long by 80 metres wide and I was aided by volunteers who supported the project and helped me complete the work.
'We were hampered by the weather during the process of completing the work, but we were ultimately successful and interest from around the world was huge. '
Remarkably for Jorge, who honed his artistic talents as a young artist in New York City, his Identity series, which he produces on the side of buildings is actually small scale compared to his land art.
The artist works on 'Emma' in 2006 in Barcelona. He says the blending of the charcoal and the wall surface with the wind and rain is the most important part of the process
'David' is on a wall in Vitoria, Spain. The artist photographs the subject's face to create a mock-up and then puts a hyper realistic work on the sides of the building
'With the Identity series I select someone who has a strong sense of Identity to the place where they live,' explained Jorge.
'That could be in Slovenia, Spain or Argentina, or even London.
'I then photograph their face to create a mock-up and I go about creating a hyper realistic work on the sides of the building.
'I began the series in 2002 and the drawings are meant to question the controls imposed on public space, the role models that represent us and the type of events that are guarded by the collective memory..
'The blending of the charcoal and the wall surface with the wind and rain is ultimately the most important part of the process. The intent is to have identity, place and memory become one.'
Perfectionist Jorge can sometimes take up to one week to complete his stunning building sized drawings.
'My idea is to show that we should all be seen with dignity. I believe that our identity should come from within not from the brands that we wear. We should question who chooses our cultural icons and role models as well as our values and our aesthetics.