I am a native of the ancient capital of the powerful Mexica, Tenochtitlan, now called Mexico City, which in turn is located in the bottom of a high and extensive closed basin that once contained 5 permanent lakes. The basin, created by intense volcanic activity, is also surrounded by high mountain ranges made up entirely by volcanoes, and covered by luxurious forests of firs, pines and oaks.
The fabulous Mexico City, built in the bottom and founded in 1325, originally on an islet, still contains numerous samples of the glorious Prehispanic past, as well as from the Colonial times, but still being modern and contemporary. In this scenario (besides the best food in the world, nice people, ancient traditions, colors, a lot of art and native and endemic wild animals and plants that still thrive in parks or surrounding national forests), I was born and have lived for over 51 years, enjoying the pleasures of culture and nature.
Powered by all the above, I studied Biology as my main career, but always conscious about my artistic skills. Only after years of developing both passions (art as a self-thought activity) and traveling extensively throughout all Mexico (yes, looking for rattlesnakes, volcanic rocks, etc.), I attained my particular style that has made me a favorite in the taste of many art lovers. My style is like a wire blend of a codex, cubism, geometric expressionism and biological precision! You can identify any given animal species on a design that is basically a mosaic of colors and lines.
How closely do you follow your original idea in the process of making a piece? Usually, my creative process starts with a vague idea of something, an imprecise image – let’s say an animal or a landscape. This idea may stay in my mind or in my unconsciousness for hours, days, even months without making a noise. Then, a more consolidated idea comes out, suddenly and unsuspectedly, as an image while sleeping, as a dream by itself, of during my working hours throughout the day under my discipline of drawing every day, or maybe washing the dishes in the sink. It is in this stage when the idea begins to have a meaning for me.
I usually make one or several sketches of the image of the idea from my mind. It never happens to me to portrait the exact form, colors, elements and intensity of the ideas playing into my mind, because they are extremely complicated, vibrating, alive, dynamic, endlessly in motion as to be able to get the whole thing. The most, I capture only a moment of the time and movement of those images whirling inside my brain. The most I get is the rough outlines, the basic shapes, only a crude approximation. But, as I download the idea to the paper sheet, then I begin to have a more solid notion. I get excited, I like the idea, I develop it, I suffer or enjoy, etcetera. All the emotions and body start to be engaged in the constructing process.
It is only after working with several sketches that the final idea is captured, and it only resembles a little bit of the original in the mind. It is, actually, a new idea, but certainly more solid, more real, more “mine” as an artist (less abstract), but also closely related to the idea that originally I imagined.
Do you typically work on one piece at a time or have several going at once? Most of my artwork in made of big and complicated compositions. That is why every single piece requires all my attention and concentration. Every piece is like loving one woman at a time, with all intensity, all senses, all my life, all my past and present, to give everyone all I am. So I work with only one art piece at a time.
Can you talk a bit about balancing your work (both artistic and biology) with family life? Life is vast. You cannot get on your cloud without paying attention to the things that exist around you, and pretend to be creative. I have all the elements of my life –belief in God, love for biology, my son, the market place, my dogs, food, museums, reading books, geology, walking on volcanos, say foolish thing, visit friends, discover things, walk on the streets, make love, drink coffee, do research, listen to music, do nothing, kiss a plant, work hard –embedded in the daily life.
Everything is linked and part of a continuous process of existing. All is perfectly harmonized, including the pain, hard experiences, lack of money, abundance of money, the suffering. They all form part of me or my daily existence, although they don’t come as a big mess. I give every element its time or moment to be present and to come out. In my daily life I live as an artist, as a biologist, as a person interested in geology, as a father. I live all or some of my characters every day in perfect harmony. None is against each other.
What are your vices? My vices intermingle with the things that I love. But if I can talk about vices in terms of the most common notion, let’s say: Read a lot, Sex as delicious as possible, food as delicious as possible, coffee, good conversations, wine on weekends.
Above is the painting Massacre of Animals. I get inspiration from all the newspapers notes that I have collected since 1978 about extinction and killing of animals, plus the scenes I have seen. That includes oil spills, logging and trapping.
I am a product of my time and reality. That is why I have painted painful things. I had felt the pain of those animals suffering. I had been suffering looking how we extinguish beings and landscapes. So, I needed to paint that. By now, I also paint the wonderful and beautiful things that we still have. I cannot escape from my reality.
The endless animal interactions have inspired my art, especially rattlesnakes and whales, but also bats. My range of creations flow from very simple images of animals, like humpback whales breeching (in ink) to complex compositions showing an ecosystem (Codice Matiasiano, Galapagos, Baja California Landscape, large oils on canvas on wood), or even an abstract/surrealistic being or process (The Monster of extinction, Massacre of animals).
What kind of pets do you have? I have three dogs: two Doberman males –one the father (5 years old, brown, whose name is Vlad Tepes) and the other its son (1 year old, black, whose name is Ares), and a 3 years old female mixture of cocker and other thing, whose name is Orquidea. And probably up to 40 teddy animals that I share with my son.
What is the last wild animal you saw? This morning I saw from my studio a lizard and five birds on the trees outside my home.
Always in search of forms, I share my time on the top of volcanos with my son, Doberman dogs and camera.
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