His style is art deco, and his sub?jects are human.
    Those people on the walls help business owners project certain im?ages and promote different services they offer, said Gatica.
    For instance, a woman with flow?ing hair and eyes of two different colors gets people asking about tint?ed contact lenses. Toned, but not muscle-bound, young men and wom?en in high fashion workout clothes announce that a club's emphasis is on fitness, not body building
    Gatica's biggest project so far has been a mural for Standing Room Only, a Hartford bar.
    A 12-foot-talL zoot suiter and a similarly statuesque vamp compan?ion stand against a sprawling metro?politan skyline.

Gatica started using the airbrush as an art student 15 years ago, and has done a wide variety of work with the tool since, including the van and motorcycle type.
    Though he still does other commercial work, Gatica said that he would like to concentrate more on murals.
    He smiles when asked if it bothers him to think that his work could get painted over someday.
in another few years, Ill be in a position to go buying these walls from these people." he said.



By COLLEEN COLLINS Republican-American

WATERBURY - The airbrush hasn't reached high-brow status just yet.

   It's probably best known as the tool photographers use to hide lines and blemishes in portraits. Air?brushes are also responsible for the sunsets and moonlit surf scenes that ride around on the sides of vans and the reclining beauties that grace mo?torcycles.
   But Waterbury artist Ray Gatica is taking the high pressure panning process into the realm of Michelan?gelo and Giotto. Gatica, 37, does air?brush murals.
    An airbrush uses a tank of com?pressed nitrogen to spray paint onto a work surface. The result is a smooth slick look.
    Gatica got into murals three years ago when he was airbrushing pic?tures and patterns on fingernails. One of the salon owners he was working with wanted to promote the nail-care services she offered, so she asked Gatica to paint a mural for the manicure section of her shop.
   He complied with a chic chapeaued woman resting an impeccably manicured hand on her shoulder, has since done murals to adorn other salons, an exercise club and an optician's shop.
   But he'd rather not call them mu?rals. He prefers the term, "interior design wall graphics." "Mural" conjures images of rolling hills to Gatica, but he isn't going for a pastoral look with his wall creations, he said.





Circa,1998 _____________________________

ART: The big picture

For Waterbury's Ray Gatica,
Medium shapes the message

Airbrush vies
for art status








Waterbury artist Ray Gatica went from airbrushing fingernails to doing giant murals like this one of a slick roaring '20s vamp at Hartford night club 'Standing Room Only'.
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