April 2023 | Art & Culture | Vol 9
Art, like love, will exist forever
words Onur Baştürk
What is the criterion for choosing the faces in your works? Is it the beauty of the model’s face or the meaning in their facial expression?
For me, the most important thing about a face is the spiritual and mental power it reflects. If it has enough spirituality in it, it is certainly beautiful.
Which face has impressed you the most so far?
I cannot be objective in this answer. The face of my son Horacio.
What are the differences between the child model and the adult model? Which one is more inspiring for you in your work?
Adults have an unnatural relationship with photography. We pose with our “best face” with the attitude of being favored. That does not suit me either. Children pose more spontaneously. For them, it is like a game. For example, the brothers Juan and Miguel Palacín who became angels consecutively. They posed with absolute naturalness. Of course, if the adult model is a professional, that is fine. For example, I have been working for several years with the model Zahara from Seville, who is beautiful and poses like a real artist.
In your hyperrealistic paintings, the color in the background draws attention as much as the figure. You use red the most. Why red?
First of all, let me state that my paintings are not hyperrealistic. Hyperrealism represents a photograph of reality, not reality. I do not try to make my paintings look like a photographic or naturalistic realist. My paintings are idealized versions of the classical Greco-Roman sculptural style. The background of my paintings is also plain. There is no specific description of the place. We can reflect ourselves on this plain and meaningless background. Because, in reality, they are landscapes or not. Abstracted landscapes...
Why red? In Spanish, the color red is called “colorado”. Color and colorado have the same root as the Latin “coloratus” (to color, to give color). Therefore, red also stands for the color itself. In addition, red has great symbolic power. We all associate it with intense emotions, power, blood, and passion. The Hebrew word for red means blood, which is also the element of earth. And this name (“Adam”) was given to Adam, the first man. So this color is closely associated with the beginning of time, life-giving blood, the beginning of life, and the shedding of the first blood. For me, red is a metaphor for transcendence.
THEY ARE MY FIGHTERS AGAINST UGLINESS
Marina Con Pistola from the series “Terriotorio de Ternura” is one of your most impressive works. Violence or innocence? Which of these interests you?
Although I work with fundamental concepts, I avoid anything that implies a definition. If there were violence in my work, that would also be a kind of violence! But if there is innocence, it is a combative innocence.
There is an artifact in which a figure represents the angel of Eden. For me, Eden is a garden I created to defend and protect myself against mediocre and decorative art. It is self-indulgent, thoughtless, and ugly art. Yes, these guys with guns are my warriors in my war against this ugly art!
When did you start to shape the style of your paintings?
I have had a personal style since my teenage years. Of course, I have aged. But there are a few elements that have remained over the years: Like poetry, austerity, humor, and a bit of hooliganism.
I read that you are a Hockney, Holbein, and Bacon fan. Why them?
Although they are very different, what they have in common is that their paintings are full of mystery and suggestion.
Who else have you drawn inspiration from?
Michelangelo Antonioni, Stanley Kubrick, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, David Bowie, Tadao Ando, Bugs Bunny, BMW commercials, my first communion, streets, quince jelly, 1970s advertisements, travel, and my son Horacio.
I DO NOT FEEL LIKE A HUNDRED PERCENT SEVILLIAN
How does living in Seville affect your art career?
I really do not know how Seville has affected my work! My family is from another Andalusian province. That is why I have never felt 100 percent Sevillian. I think that being not only from Seville but also from Andalusia had an effect on me. Andalusia is a region where many cultures, religions, and races are interwoven. That is why we are so culturally rich and open-minded. Most of us have a special sensitivity to art and nature.
ALL OF LIFE IS A DREAM, AND A DREAMS ARE... DREAMS
You have also made NFTs of some of your popular works. What do you think about NFT?
For me, virtual life has the same consistency as the life we dream about. Usually, we experience our dreams with the same intensity as the emotions we have when we are awake. Sometimes the line between dreaming and waking is blurred. As Plato describes in ‘The Myth of the Cave’ or as Segismundo, the character in Calderón de la Barca’s great play ‘Life is a Dream’, states: “All of life is a dream,
and dreams are... Dreams”.
The most important thing in art is the artistic experience. This experience is the same in real life, dreams, or virtual life. I believe that digital art will last. But it will not replace traditional art, as many think. I believe the real and the virtual will seamlessly coexist and enrich each other.
What do you think of artworks created with artificial intelligence?
The nature of art is inherently human. Therefore, what artificial intelligence produces must have a different name. It cannot be called art.
Due to artificial intelligence, will the art of painting become extinct in the coming years?
Art, like love, will exist forever.