pablo avendano - spanish artist
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Contemporary Spanish Artist Pablo Avendano
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"Projection and pre-occupation seem to paralyse the peaceful spirit that creation requires."
Pablo Avendano

Contemporary Spanish Artist - Painter Interview with Spanish Artist - Pablo Avendano

Contemporary artist from Spain - Pablo Avendano

Pablo Avendano - February 2004

1 ::: Why are you an artist Pablo?

The wish of being an artist was always there, but it took a slow and mindful effort to convince myself. I was able to detach from environmental boundaries once I fully understood that expression was a primary need in my life. However, there are no key reasons for an artist (and that is the good thing about it). Mystery is the will of art; if you could ever find the cause, you would be no longer interested. Henry Miller* acknowledged expression as a counterpart of life, at the same time belonging and exceeding it. I could say no better. This simply seems to be a must.

+2 ::: Could you tell me some more about your art?

In fine arts I choose the plastic side. My purpose is to produce plastic images opened to various meanings but belonging to a certain sense frame. This sense is not verbalized though. I do not want to rely on iconic and conventional imagery such as those from pop art or from old paintings based on fixed subjects - mythological sources, Bible and so on-. Nor pollute the image with conceptual alien elements either, as it often happens in contemporary art with poor philosophical interferences. And here is where you can place the term plastic, being both visual and polyvalent. Like instrumental music, it can be perfectly self-sufficient and meaningful without any verbal support. In this regard, it is a pretty hard deal to produce clean images and not ideograms; for we are all part of a tradition that mostly makes images based on subject illustration, and therefore, more interesting outside than inside the canvas.
On the contrary, what I aim is to create presence. Present images highly condensed. And invert the passage: instead of painting things here which communicates us values from there, I seek to bring here -at hands- what is far there (perhaps an archetype). That means painting immanent things. Thus, what my works require is eye education, rather than reference erudition. This is not meaning mere eye's physiological reaction, as it takes place in optical-art (it would be then video instead of imago, meaningless visions instead of meaningful images).
In this context, my art is about producing plastic images, a narrow and uncertain framework, probably too ambitious and uneasy to succeed.

+3 ::: Many of your works come very close to abstraction. Do you find it important to keep something figurative in them?

I conceive paintings as artefacts. World and reality are over-informative, thus we create representational counterparts such as paintings. Accordingly, I try to create the conditions for a better reading and perception. From abstracts I borrow their understanding of paintings as surfaces where shapes and colours are based on their relations and tensions. However, I definitely disagree with their radical isolation of these key factors. Doing so, they do not paint things nor facts but doctrines and ideologies. This way, the immediate effect of pictorial sensation is, in my opinion, diminished.
I believe a painting is better working (meaning, touching, exciting) when including references or echoes from the first sense data. Familiar references such a human beings, animals or daily objects will provoke on us enhanced responses. They are primary forms, art Gestalts. I also believe that the value of colours is not only based on their resonance but also on the object they rest. A red colour will need a body if it wants to be more than a meaningless pantone. As a result, corporeity has become a major concern in my works: to create the illusion of tangible things -through tonal volume or surface textures- in order to boost pictorial sensations. Summing up, challenge for me is placing paintings between the clear reading from abstraction and the corporeity from figuration. Within that tension I create "figurals".

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you and why?

Francis Bacon* has been my main influence for many of the reasons above. Some of his works are painfully beautiful. However, what I like from his paintings is the language, not the heartbreaking temper. Some living Belgian painters on Bacon's wake and the young DeKooning's* are also among my favourites. But at present I am more interested in old painting (in the pictorial but not the iconic side). Problems in art seem to be like in philosophy, always the same ones, not to be solved but reformulated. In this way I lately look into pictorials sets like the Annunciations - Martini, Fra Angelico*, Van Eyck*, etc.- and the dynamical quality of their compositions. Finally, I am devoted to the Spanish painter Velázquez*, for his accomplished and modern proposals.

+5 ::: What do you do for fun (besides art)?

Philosophy, novels, poetry… I also enjoy watching movies and teasing my daughter in law.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

I use pictures and memory. Models are mainly on the computer screen, coming from my own digital pictures and other's. Sometimes I get inspired by the effects of graphics software or use them to test colours or shapes. Then I transcribe them to canvas. But the choice is always mine.
Many times I am desperate and pretty confused in front of canvas, probably due to the uncertain framework explained before. Nevertheless, it is astonishing to see that through desperation we suspend our voluntary memory and start working on sensation recalls (the fertile, the Proust
* memory). At that precious time, I am allowed to fish freely in the subconscious.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

First, I honestly and purely disapproved of it, later I realised the role, but still persisting in denying through fine bullshitting. Now I am concerned about it although want to keep impermeable to art trends and other traps. Anyway, I acknowledge that good art works have always been placed between personal research and universal communication.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A friend of mine calls me "Ten Years After". This seems to be my delay in life, so let's reckon that in ten years I'll be where I should be today.
Besides, I do not want to forecast myself. If I finally fail to do so, it depends largely on the crazy waving of the artist's narcissistic mood. I see myself in heaven, I see myself in hell. Angel or demon, aiming for the lot. So I try not to fantasize nor calculate too much about it. Projection and pre-occupation seem to paralyse the peaceful spirit that creation requires.

+9 ::: Do you treat painting like a job, walking into the studio each day at a particular time? Also, do you have to do other jobs to earn enough money to live?

Most of my time I am around my works but do not work on schedule. I simply cannot create on a regular basis; it exhausts me. And yes, I try various things for the earnings: language courses, translation, graphic design, gambling on stock market…but often do more spending than earning. I suppose Providence and not accounting is the best artist's companion.

+10 ::: What are your latest works about and where are you going with them?

Instead of moving towards abstraction, I tend to come to figuration. My latest works represent busts, more precisely talking heads. It is my aim now to paint, rather than expressive heads, heads expressing. I will present them in a contemporary art contest in Brussels.

+11 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

My advice is "keep your mind busy". Dating, getting married, having children, watching commercials…whatever in order to suffocate the foolish idea. But if it does not work, I would recall the fool this quotation from Jaques Brel: Le talent c'est l'envie de faire quelque chose (talent is the want to do something). This is it, so simple and so complex; difficulty lays on the power of your want.

Information - related websites

Personal website of the artist :
+1 ::: Author Henry Miller:
+4 ::: Artist Francis Bacon: Francis Bacon -
+4 ::: Willem de Kooning: Google Directory - de Kooning
+4 ::: Fra Angelico: CGFA
+4 ::: Jan van Eyck
: WebMuseum - Van Eyck
+4 ::: Diego Velazquez: WebMuseum - Velazquez
+6 ::: Author Marcel Proust: Google Directory - Proust

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