My work focuses on bringing awareness to endangered species, animal cruelty, and the living conditions wild animals live due to our toxic environment. Many of us don’t acknowledge the fact that animals have feelings just as a human being. I try to show the beauty and the harsh reality that many of the animals go through. The content of my work usually has a dark humor at first glance, but it stills goes back to what the message is portrayed. My work is sometimes inspired by events seeing on social media or read in the news.
During my time in grad school, I began to research on the amount of greenhouse gases being produced by the livestock industry and how global warming has become a more realistic threat to mankind. My research focuses on environmental issues such as greenhouse gases and the inhumane practices on factory farms.
Many of the textures and colors I choose for the piece brings a different meaning to what the message is being portrayed. I tend to use the gold color in certain areas of the animal to show what a poacher will remove from the animal itself. Gold has been associated with prosperity, luxury, and royalty throughout the world, along with purple. Our animals have been on earth since the very beginning and so we must treat them with royalty and respect rather than the complete opposite.
Roberto Clemente De Leon was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, and moved to Miami, Florida at the age of nine. He was first introduced to clay in 2013 while attending Miami International University of Art and Design, where he went on to receive a BFA in Visual Arts. He was subsequently awarded a Presidential Fellowship to attend the University of South Carolina, where he earned his MFA in 2020. De Leon currently works as an independent artist and teaches at Columbia College and Lander University in South Carolina.