THE ARTIST NOT ONLY SNAPS PIECES OF PAPER INTO COLLAGE, BUT PHOTOGRAPHS THE IMAGES THAT HE THEN BREAKS DOWN.
We know that your father has passed on to you the love for the art of collage, tell us something about your family enviroment.
Yes, my father as a collage artist himself has been a fundamental key in what I do today, my family environment has always been creative and free. There were many dinners at home where the artistic circles of Málaga that surrounded my parents came and discussed, laughed and danced. I’ve been lucky to experience that as a child. Both my sister and me have always tried too many different artistic medias, from theatre to painting, dance, music… Now my sister is a professional flamenco dancer and I express myself with very different media.
How did you become passionate about collage?
I had my first contact with collage through my father, since in my early childhood I saw him playing with little pieces of paper, glue and scissors. Later, I went to college and I studied audiovisual arts in college, photography was my favorite subject. I loved composing the images, choosing the tones and the backgrounds. I worked many years as a photographer for different fashion magazines, but very early I felt the need to break with the structure of it. I wanted to break with the expected. I thought of a background but I saw a mix of sea and hands for example, I wanted to mix the colors, make the unbelievable! And I guess that that’s how I was attracted to this technique. It permitted me to compose the landscapes that I had in my head without limits. Break reality to rebuild it in my own way.
Which artist or artistic period has had a greater influence on your choice to communicate such in a personal way?
I’m inspired by many different periods and artists, starting from the closest ones as my father, my sister or friends to classic sculptures, Renaissance portraits, impressionism or Instagram culture. But I must admit that I’m a huge fan of Picasso, Paolo Sorrentino and Lola Flores.
What environment works best to create?
I have my studio at home, the mix of personal and creative space works perfectly for me. My personal life influences a lot my work and it’s really related to it. So some music, my dog by my side, the natural daylight and some beautiful royal palaces or Madrid views is everything I need to start working.
The key inspirations for your work, and which designers inspire you?
My inspiration really changes with time, it changes with my everyday experiences. For example, I just came back from a trip to Dubai and everything I saw there is going to have a huge influence on my work from now on. But it’s true that there are some huge pillars, like the classic sculpture and mythological icons for example…I like the power in simple lines and the warmth in minimalism that it achieves. The icons and the story behind them, I try to bring that to my pieces. Also, my birthplace, Málaga and the culture in the south of Spain has a great part in my work, the laughs and sense of humor, the roots and character. I always try to bring that to my work, the joy of living and loving what you express with passion and strength.
What are the creative steps that are essential in your creations?
It depends on the type of artwork, I do a lot of digital work but I like to get my hands dirty of paint as well. Manual or digital, I want to be the creator in the whole process. If I use an image it’s a picture that I’ve taken, from a model that I’ve chosen, and sometimes I even do her hair and make up!
I usually start with a main picture and start playing with things that attract my attention, for example a face, hands, strange flowers, arms and legs, landscapes…and then I try to tell a story through the composition of these elements. I mix them in a different way each time, what I really love is to experiment with the structured reality of everyday perception. My head starts to play like a child with a puzzle and I try to forget about boundaries and limits, I reflect the images from my imagination into the piece and try to project as close as I can to the picture in my head.
You said that collage is a way to change reality and lead to something that goes beyond, tell us about your vision that blends balance and chaos.
Collage is a way of breaking with reality and making the pieces something new. I like to translate that also to my life experiences, politics or ideas. The middle point between total chaos and balance could be represented by a collage according to my point of view.
What is surrealist art for you?
For me surrealist art is pretty realistic as it just shows what is inside our minds. It’s about our thoughts and for me ideas are among the most sensuous and interesting things you can ever show about yourself.
The most important message you want to convey with your creations.
Learning to dissect yourself to understand what’s inside.
Photos courtesy of Ernesto Artillo