Your artwork seems to be a reflection of your child’s eye view of the imagery that surrounded you. It has all the elements of a highly sexualized life where men and women are constantly preoccupied by seducing each other. Can you amplify on that and talk about transitions and epiphanies you had once you had other worldly experiences?
I paint inspired by beauty and I find a lot of beauty when I recreate my view of my parents’ era from my own memory. I remember a really romantic period full of class, manners and values.
Rather than elements of a “highly sexualized life”, what I try to create is a kind of sensual romance, thought and moment in time. When a man would take pride in shaving or simple fixing his tie and a woman would follow a routine of slow and sensual movements able to seduce a man by simply lighting a cigarette.
Telling the stories of the paintings is like closing chapters of a book for the readers. I prefer that art lovers step in front of the pieces and decipher the paintings’ emotions or fulfill negative spaces on their own and ask themselves: What is in the back and in the dark? Where are they? Is she alone or is somebody coming? Or even adding concepts to the figure, as in “the way she smokes looks really delicate!” Or “she can seduce a man just by asking for a light!” This way, a painting will always be alive. Paintings are mirrors, people see in them what they reflect and what they reflect will be constantly changing.
At the beginning of my career I painted figurative, then sub-realism, symbolism, abstract and finally I decided to come back to figurative work that I find more challenging. I think is good for an artist to explore and discover new sensations through different medias.
I never judged or analyzed my technique, neither my subjects. Meanwhile I work, I interpreting what I see, and I fudge my self into the essence of creating. I consider a painting “good” when is genuine, and shows the feelings of the artist thru his skills. The creator and the creation need to match. Art shouldn’t be considered by the meaning, but for what express. Many times we don’t know what an artist wants to say in his work, but we can have a re-action from his expression. That’s why I created the NEO-EMOTIONALISM movement with not technical boundaries.
It seems that what was normal for you was a life where you inhabited bordellos, with seducers and seductresses provoking each other into creative and passionate sexual encounters. Was the art of the pose and the tempting more the reality of what was going on than the sexual act itself?
My father was the owner of different nightclubs at different times and a well-known character of the local nightlife; he was a “clandestine gambling capitalist” and owner of three bordellos in Argentina. He hosted dice games and gambling rings in a back room of a huge bar that had a bowling alley, close to the train station that was on the outskirts of downtown Campana, the city I grew up in.
It is the imagery from my past that I draw from and place on to my paintings. My father was my first inspiration; he was the ‘cool guy’ outside of the clubs and bordellos. The women in my paintings also come from my memory; they are the women that I remember seeing around the clubs. These women were always elegantly dressed and exuded a kind of sophistication that in today’s society we long for. Also, the majority of my memories about women come from my mother. She had a strong and charming personality. She was the singer and later a madam at the nightclubs, however, her pride came from being my father’s wife.
I grew up seeing her constantly taking care of our family. She designed and tailored her own dresses, styled her own hair and painted her own nails. She always wore high heels and never left home without makeup.
Rather than any sexual acts, my art is certainly about poses and more over; it is about getting ready for a date, seduction, intimacy and the entire mystery that surrounds romance. Through my paintings I am only trying to give hints about an open-ended story.
The men you paint in your artwork have an aura of danger about them. The implication to me is that there are constant threats that surround this ongoing theatre and moreover it is part of the heightened state of sexual awareness. Can you talk about that?
Although during my childhood I used to hear gunshots, recall my father covering up the windows and him trying to escape the police, this is not what my paintings are about. I paint those characters but not those situations. I have fond memories of my upbringing and the colorful scenes that took place in the nightclubs and in my home. The men I paint are confident, charming and mysterious. Often times, I recall these were the types of men standing outside the clubs smoking a cigarette away from the crowds.
I normally paint individuals by themselves, because I find them closer to their essence that way. A person, when alone, is not worried about acting in a certain way or pretending, they don’t have a “way of being” that they need to protect, they are not worried by other people’s comments. In that moment I can see their essence shine. That’s where beauty resides for me, not in the physical appearance. I use that physical attractiveness to capture the attention of the viewer, but I always try to go beyond that, with the goal of painting a body to portray the soul.
Dangerous men and beautiful women have always been the story of life in every culture. It is only the setting that changes from location to location. You have managed to capture it all in a provocative way. Did you at any time rebel against what was your norm?
The men I paint are not dangerous but can be considered mysterious. The women are beautiful in many ways. They are sensual, elegantly suggestive and meticulously styled.
I have embraced the timeless beauty of that era that both, men and women embodied. I was never rebelling against my environment, but the way I paint the men in my art is also a reflection of how I have felt on the inside throughout different periods of my life. It is very difficult for an artist to be positioned in the same dimension as others when expressing himself. This led me to be mostly a lonely and independent individual as you can see in my paintings. The painting that most closely represents this concept and also one of my personal favorites is “Untitled II”. In this painting I have portrayed myself and I used the white hair as a symbol of my experience because although I was a young person I went through many experiences, both good and bad and also too much for an individual at that age.
Can you talk about family life and what transformations have taken place in you since you have “settled down”?
Family has always taken the center stage in my life.Before I used to live more of nightlife and I painted at dawn when I returned home. Bars really inspire me, and the ones I am a regular at, they will bring me my favorite drink, some napkins and a candle to light what I will write or draw. Now I have changed my habits and I coordinate things around my family’s schedule, because even though I want to keep getting better as an artist, my priority is to be a good father. I get up really early in the morning, and in that deep silence I make my mate like a ceremony, then I start reading and writing. At 7 am I prepare breakfast for my small children while my wife gets them ready for school. They leave, and I go to my studio, that is in the back of my house. I return to the house for lunch, and I go back to my studio (as long as there is no important soccer match playing on TV; here they are usually at noon). At 3 pm the five of us meet again and we spend the rest of the day together. I can spend days without leaving the house, even though I still go out some nights.