The best artists channel their pain and disappointment into creative outlets that end up being cathartic — both for themselves and for the rest of us. HIV-positive artist René Capone has done just that with “The Zebra Boy Chronicles,” a series of provocative mixed-media artworks and watercolor paintings that provide a compelling visual representation of the many orthopedic surgeries Capone has endured. The show debuts at San Francisco’s Gallery @ 611 Hyde Street, February 17-19; but you can get a sneak peek here.
(Pictured above: Zebra Boy #10, watercolor and ink, 18"x20")
(In between Stripes, Watercolor, 18”x20”)
Owl Boy Sneaking Through The Zebra Fields at Night
( Watercolor and ink, 18”x20”)
Love Hurts and Even Zebras Fall Down
Since 2014, Capone has been unable to walk due to a condition called avascular necrosis in which the hip joints begin to deteriorate. Associated with bone loss, which can occur as a side effect of some antiretrovirals, and aggravated by steroids prescribed for an unrelated issue, the condition has left Capone facing a series of painful operations.
Undergoing yet another surgery this spring, Capone will continue to use “Zebra Boy” as a therapeutic exercise. And he hopes to help others follow his example by going back to school and becoming an art therapist. “I’ll still make art, just not like the machine I have been for so long now.”
(Zebra Boy # 5, Watercolor and ink, 20”x14”)
“The scars that now run down my legs reminded me of a zebra and my imagination took over from there,” Capone explains. “Even zebras have scars, they just hide them better.”
(Pictured Even Zebras Have Scars, Watercolor)
Zebra in Love
(Watercolor and ink, 10”x8”)
Capone says that “artistic powers take many forms and mine have always been in the realm of empowering others—right from the very start.” Capone also created The Legend of Hedgehog Boy, a graphic novel that blends line drawings and watercolor paintings with mythological, whimsical, and erotic gay themes. (Find “The Zebra Boy Chronicles” and Capone’s other works at renecapone.com.)
(Pictured Artist René Capone Self-portrait Photograph)