I WAS BORN FORTY-TWO YEARS AGO IN SALAMANCA, SPAIN. I LIVE IN MADRID AND SHARE MY LIFE WITH LOLA AND LORE. I TRY TO DELVE DEEPER INTO THE MATTER AND ENERGY THAT EXIST IN COLOUR, AND THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN ITS PHYSICAL NATURE AND THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED WITHIN US THROUGH CULTURE AND ART HISTORY, IN A CONSTANT DIALOGUE WITH LIGHT AND THE ARCHITECTURAL SPACE, GIVING IMPORTANCE TO THE ENVIRONMENT, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ELLIPSIS, THE PAUSES, THE CONTAINMENT, THE EFFECTS OF TIME AND SHADOW.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LLUC QUERALT
I was a very early draughtsman, but a late painter. I began to paint when I was just starting my degree in Fine Arts, but the most decisive thing when I began my career was my first visit to the Museo Del Prado and the incredible influence that the works of Velázquez and Goya had on me for the first time.
In my work, there has always been a tendency towards improvisation and a search for the sublime through processes influenced by a certain controlled chance. This chance, mystery and a determined tactile quality, always from the standpoint of lightness, has been present in my work from the beginning. I am currently exploring the formal possibilities of colour in fields that are essentially monochromatic.
I want to reach the maximum level of purity by means of a single stain process (Sumi-e*), letting paint drip and spread across the surface of the canvas in a very liquid state, generating a vibration that varies depending on the luminosity of the background or its chromatic interaction. I am interested in the pulse, the tension, the spirituality and the vitality of the pictorial space.
It is very important for me to have a mental image of what feeling I would like the work to convey. I try to find the right colour for that feeling and start the work. From the first spot there is a lot of improvisation and the work has to flow naturally. I try to make the works have strength and a lot of energy. They should be surprising and retain a certain amount of strangeness, even for myself, that’s why I never do sketches beforehand.
Cinema, literature, music and the history of art itself are key drivers in my work. Many artists have influenced me throughout my career, but let’s say that what is important is the moment when a book, film or museum visit comes. I believe that travelling and being constantly informed is fundamental in an artist’s work, as well as sharing and talking with other colleagues.
It is often said that the best way to get to know an artist is to observe their work. What do you think about this?
True. Not only the work itself but the routine at the studio. Throughout my life I have shared a studio and worked with many people, and the wealth of ways of working that we can have is incredible. The different ways to organise materials and finished or unfinished works, and routines regarding cleaning, for example. Observing these details also helps you understand the work better and helps to reach the person behind the artist.
There is usually a turning point in an artist’s life that motivates them to do what they do in their work. Do you remember any particular point in your life in terms of this?
We have had several economic crises in Spain over the last 20 years, and even today, it is very difficult to make a living as an artist only. This is something that very few people talk about, because saying that you have an extra job to pay the bills bursts the balloon of what we think of when it comes to being an artist, i.e. being great, brilliant, rebellious and subversive. I lived for many years working on other things and making time compatible, and even abandoned the artistic practice for long periods until I reached boiling point and could not even recognise myself in the mirror. I asked my family to help me financially for a time in order to be able to dedicate myself entirely to art. Only by focusing solely on this, with your mind and energy 100% dedicated to it is when things start to come together.
The process of preparing the canvas is part of the magic of each artist. What can you tell us about your preparation process?
I prepare everything from the very beginning. I use raw canvas that I stretch. I apply glue and a very fine and absorbent manipulated gesso so that the different layers of paint dry and interact with each other and the finish has a rather dry appearance.
In terms of your creative process, how do you think it has changed in recent years?
My work has changed a lot in the last 5 years. People often tell me that my paintings are very similar, which to me is ridiculous. My work has gone from quasi-monochrome to highly contaminated colours that form a thick floating atmosphere. I have gone from working with diptychs and triptychs to unique pieces. I have increased or decreased the format. The pictorial problems have moved from the centre to the sides or to relate to different pieces. In short, for me the work has gained a lot of weight and has been intensified or distilled in many ways, enough to continue looking for images that seduce, impress and excite me.