Chilean Bear Artist Mauricio Riveros

Chilean artist Mauricio Riveros has been making waves in the bear scene of both Chile and Mexico both for his cubbish good looks and for his music which celebrates gay love.

With over two decades making music under his belt, Riveros made his debut in 2000 as the composer and lead singer for the Chilean group Truman where he made a name for himself thanks to his heartfelt lyrics and his 70’s glam rock aesthetic. Ten years later he put out his first solo album La Verdad which garnered unexpected success in Spain and Mexico, in addition to his native Chile. After that he relocated to Mexico City where he continues to release new music and dynamic oil paintings.

We recently had a chance to speak with Mauricio and learn more about him and his art.

BWM: Do you identify as part of the bear community? What is your relationship to it?

Mauricio Riveros: I know that I´m not a stereotypical bear, but without a doubt it is the place where I best fit in. I’ve been made to feel welcomed, seen and appreciated. A lot of my songs have been inspired by the community, bear clubs and bars. As I sing in ‘Una trampa hecha de barbas/ A trap made of beards’ (“They say that you have been just a drink, a fable bar…”) or ‘Una taza de café / A cup of coffee’ (“Here we are among everybody, dancing despite our actions…”), these songs are inspired by bears – always in a romantic and bohemian tone, as is my poetry.

When I’m in a Bear Bar and the DJ plays one of my songs, a very special feeling fills the air. And although I love the bears at the end of the day, I’m not exclusive to any one community because all types of audiences come to my concerts and I love them all. I think that sensitivity is the common factor that unites us.

BWM:  What are the themes of your music and what inspires it?

Mauricio Riveros: I have always been inspired by love in a very passionate way. All my songs are written by a man for another man, sung in a very masculine way because of the timbre of my voice. I say “he” in my songs, and that is unusual, at least in the mainstream. My music is a celebration of affection, of the tragic and the magical in the universe of beards, the brutal passion and poetry of a man who knows what he wants.

Pop music tends to label gay artists as just for clubs, as if we only think about going out dancing; but the truth is that life happens every day, not just on Friday nights, and in my albums I’ve always sung about that, a way of loving 24/7 that goes beyond the lights of a club.

BWM: Tell us about your artwork. What do you paint? Where did you learn?

Mauricio Riveros: I’ve always drawn since I was a kid. I’m an observer of details, but I had a long period in which I was only dedicated to producing my music. The confinement due to the pandemic brought me back to painting. I focused on portraiture, but not as a mere photographic exercise. I attempted to search for “how you want the world to see you” versus “how you really you look”, with lights and shadows. I think that is the most interesting thing about portraying someone. I observe and paint, immortalizing people under this type of vision.

For my last album I painted the covers of each one of the singles, as a way to unify my artwork. And although I’ve been selling my paintings for a long time, I am constantly taking courses to master techniques or to learn to use new materials, because I have an unquenchable desire to learn. There is always a lot to learn in everything you do.

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