When did you first become interested in art?
I was about 8 years old. There was a contest being held at my school which I participated in. This was In Newark, New jersey. We had to draw something that we liked. I decided to draw a picture of Jesus Christ. This was my first competition. I won first Prize. I still have the Trophy I won.
What style of art do you use most?
I like to do a mixture of Realism & Impressionism, in Oils.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
My style has change a little. Before, I tried to always paint realism and try to make all the paintings look like photos but, I quickly switched. It made me not feel complete as an Artist. Photos were always more perfect. I felt like, why compete with photos? A photo is one thing and, a paintings is another. It’s totally different.
What medium do you use?
I painted in water colours, acrylic but, for my style of painting I prefer oils. It gives me more time on the paintings without having to worry about the quick drying. I also enjoy the paint smell.
What made you choose that medium?
I do a lot of thinking on my paintings and oils gives me the time to be able to think and maybe re-adjust things, or move things around. I like the time it gives me to paint. I also prefer oils because I can really take my time on mixing the colors, until I feel its right.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
Most of my ideas come from life but, every so often, I see something in my mind and I look for what I want somewhere to give me some patterns of what I want to paint.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I choose my images based on if it inspires me. The image has to say something to me. But I prefer not to use images if I can avoid it. The colours I try to match, unless I feel I can better the image changing the colours.
Do you work in a studio?
I don’t have a full art studio, I work from my house, in a separate room.
I like my studio because it really has great outdoor light but, it is hard to match that light for painting after the sun goes down. This is really when I enjoy painting, at night, sometimes into the late hours. What I do when I paint at night is, put the paint down and then I will recheck what I did in the morning, to see if its what I am looking for.
Who is your favourite artist?
I have a lot of favorite Great Artist, Rembrant, Goya, El Greco, Van Gogh, Vermeer. I have lots of favorites, there are really quite a few of the old masters. But for me, The Master of Masters is, Diego Velázquez.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
If I had to pick one, I would have to say two of them. One is “A LADY” which is about a woman from the 19th century Cordoba, Spain, which you can see in the back ground.
The second is called “The HAIR” which is also a painting of a woman from the 19th century, looking at her from behind and seeing her beautiful hair and her side view, holding an apple in her hand.
Both of these paintings are my favorite because of their beauty and, also, it reminds me of my home town Cordoba, Spain. The women from Cordoba are a mixture of Arabic, Spanish and Gypsy, so they have tanned color olive skin, black hair, very seductive look and are considered to be very sensuous.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
There is no time with my painting. I could do something fast in a few days but, I prefer to take it slow so, sometimes I could take a couple of months, depending if I am satisfied with the final results.
“A Lady” took me about two months to finish. “The Hair” took me about 3 weeks. I had to use a lot of glazes to get the right skin tones I wanted.
How well do you take criticism? What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
Everyone is entitle to there own opinion and critique. I try to use it to my advantage of progression.
When I get blocked, I just stop and take some time off that painting and sometimes just move on to another painting. There have been times where I will leave a painting for over a couple of months and then it’s like the painting calls me back to paint it.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
This is very hard for me to know, I might think a paintings is finished and put it up against a mirror or I put it up side down and maybe, when I hang it upright, I see there are things that could be better and I keep on working on the painting until I know for sure it is done and finished.
It is not easy for me to walk away from a painting until its finished. Even then, it is very hard for me to let go of my paintings. If I could afford not to sell them, I wouldn’t. It’s like they are a big part of me. I put all my energy, skills, passion and love into my work.
The bottom line, I sell my paintings to make a living, even though sometimes I feel that it is not enough money for all the work that I did. The time and dedication I spent on the painting. It is very hard for someone to really appreciate your work.
Have you had exhibits in galleries? (details if possible)
I have never exhibit in an Art gallery.
I became a professional artist about 5 years ago. I live in Spain and that’s about the time that the European crisis began, so it became very difficult for artist to exhibit here in Spain. Ppeople are not really buying anything from galleries.
We have the New Picasso museum here in Malaga, Spain, so that brought a lot of opportunities to artist. There are a lot of art festivals and public showings all around the province.
I believe we artists here are better off at the shows than at galleries at this point in time because customers really enjoy getting involved with the artist, plus they feel they are getting a better deal, not having to pay extra for commissions that the art galleries charge. They really save about 30 to 50% buying from us directly.
I am not saying I wouldn’t want a gallery to show my work but, at this time, I am doing pretty good with out them.
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
Not at this time.
What are you currently working on?
Since I live in the Costa del Sol, (Spanish Riviera), it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Europe & of the world. It is very famous for the Bull Fights so I am preparing a five painting collection of the greatest Matadors of Spain.
These are portraits, oil on canvas, of the five Califs of bull fighting from Córdoba, Spain.
3. El Guerra
4. Manolete &
5. El Cordobes.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t really have plans for the future. I believe our destiny is already planed before we are born. So, I will let life take its course and just keep enjoying life and painting.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I will never forget the advice a famous Spanish painter gave me when I was beginning. He said, and I quote. “Always paint from real subjects, never paint from photographs”.
This is so true. Painting from real objects teaches our eyes to see things in many different ways, but a true way. It educates our eyes to see the real forms and shapes, to see the real colors, the real shades, the real tones, the real values and, that snow is not just white.
What advice would you give new artists?
As my mentor said, always Paint from real subjects. Never paint from pictures or photographs, if you can avoid it.
Have you done any courses to help you?
I received some formal training, I started to draw and paint at a very young age then I received a scholarship to attend an Arts High School in the east coast of the United States for 4 years. From then on, everything else is self taught.
What do you do to market your work?
Like I said earlier, I attend Art shows, group exhibits at cultural centers. I have a few web sites. Here are a couple of my sites.
I sell my paintings on the internet also which is a great way to let a lot of people see your work.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Sure I will take commission work. I like the challenge of what other people like but, I have to approve the photo first.
Have you got hobbies?
Yes, quite a few. I like Numismatics & Philatelic Collecting, I enjoy reading, watching movies, specially art documentaries. I love going to Museums and art exhibits. I enjoy dancing and love Flamenco Music & Dancing, Oléa, hahhahaha.
I love to live life.
Where are you based?
I live in on the Mediterranean, La Costal del Sol, this is in Malaga, Spain.