Los Cucos no existen – Ghosts do not exist.
Oil on canvas, 90 H x 70 W cm / 35.4 H x 27.6 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Abu Lavie identity in 2014

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” – Pablo Picasso.
When I was a child, I wasn’t an artist. I had an amazing childhood in Israel, which gave me the confidence to follow my heart when I grew up. During my spiritual search period, long before I even realized that I am an artist, I began creating art. Gradually, it became my path and essence. When I realized that originality comes from within, I began my on going search for a fresh and innocent point of view.
When my girlfriend and I relocated to the Dominican Republic, playing like kids was a significant part of our daily routine. We used to play at the beach, in the ocean, and in the jungle. I called the nature that surrounded us “God’s playground” and us, “his children”. We called that period our “Second Childhood”, and that period might have been, so I suspect, the origin of my naivety, in both my life philosophy and my art. We managed to live like Adam and Eve in a true Paradise on Earth. We were surrounded by spectacular nature and by the Caribbean mentality.
A few years later, we established “Fundacion Marlee-Jo”, and began a deep and meaningful interaction with the amazing children of Agua Sabrosa. The kids introduced me to an enchanted universe of folk tales and imagination, and I swallowed every bit of it. I loved their company and was fascinated by their interpretation of reality.
When my girlfriend and I became parents, quite naturally we entered the babies world, and very soon we realized, that our third childhood has begun. Today, I play with our own young kids every day, and I live a significant part of my life inside their imaginary world. I find their perception of  the universe refreshing and amusing.
While I don’t believe that every child is an artist, I think that children tend to care less about what is right or wrong, or about what others have to say, and that’s an essential quality of artists that is quite hard to find in adults.
One feedback which I love to hear about my work is : “You are so naive!”. Yes, I am, and I aim to be naive and inject naivety to most of my works. I think that naive people are happier, but that’s a long philosophical debate, not a naive one.