You have developed your career as an artist between USA and Europe. How did this two worlds influence your work?
I started my career as an artist in San Sebastian. I have always admired Chillida, Oteiza and Basterretxea. I love the colors of Zumeta’s paintings. The daughter of Eduardo Chillida organized for me 4 exhibitions, all was sold out even before the opening.
At the age of 21 I did my first solo exhibition and when I was 28 I opened a studio at Fortuny Street in Madrid. That’s where my artist career really started.
For me Madrid was a practical school, but I never got inspiration there. After two years in Madrid, I had the chance to go to Florida. I didn´t know if I was going for a month or two, and finally I stayed 4 years.
I lived in Miami and worked in Palm Beach. Sometimes I used to go to New York, California and South America. Miami is an open city and very easy to live in.
I worked many years with one of the assistants of Larry Gagosian, one of the most important gallery directors, that is why I know well all what´s related to the art market. Nowadays I work with two American dealers: one of them organized Gianni Versace’s collection and the other one lives between New York and Colombia, that’s why I have to travel more than I wish I had to. Traveling doesn’t motivate me anymore that much. I like to be calm.
The first time I went to USA I was young; at the age of 19 I got enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was always visiting museums. I used to experience everything with infinite passion: photography, painting, installations, video, design, architecture…
In terms of plastic qualities, I admire American painters. I love Jonathan Lasker, Kaw and some of the American historical avant-garde, which I redefined, adapting them to my work. Banksy is one of my favorites: he is a genius, a profound and enlightened being, one of the best contemporary artists because he transmits a universal solidarity message. I feel very close to him.
Your first steps were in architecture and landscaping. Which is your current link to these two areas?
I love painting, but projecting beautiful spaces fascinates me, it´s pure vitamin. I consider myself an aesthete, a beauty creator. It doesn’t matter if it´s about decorating a house or designing an oriental garden for a 15th century palace in Navarre, which is what I’m working on right now. I studied interior architecture, I have decorated houses and companies and I continue doing it currently. For me it’s really easy to create beauty. I could do it with my eyes closed. I make Feng Shui, I channel the energies so that all my projects become attractive and people, without knowing it, experience wellbeing through it.
At present I am redefining the image of an architecture and design company, which has its own team of building engineers, architects, decorators… They commissioned me the integral development of the project.
Decorating makes me happy; I enjoy choosing the lighting, furniture, art pieces, colors, textures, vegetation… Decoration is the marriage of many parts: the aroma of the interiors, the melodies, the silence or the noises produced, even the way the gardens welcome people towards a building, the arrangement, the tidiness… it’s an art. It’s my world. It’s my gift.
Six books have been published about your work. Which perception do you think people have about your paintings?
People easily recognize my work, which means I have my own style. Now I am thrilled preparing my seventh book. This new book will be a Catalogue Raisoné: it will display my 25 years in the field of art, linked to the oriental thinking and aesthetic, which I am passionate about. My intention is to turn the book itself into an artwork.
Scenography for operas, space design, collaborations in video clips… Your projects go beyond painting. Which is the most interesting area in which you want to go deeper?
When you are gifted with good taste, many doors open. You have the possibility to work close with others, for example, this time with Basque Luxury, and many synergies arise with a common denominator: the try to embellish everything.
Recently I got involved in a project with BMW, a very original alliance. I expressed my work on a motorcycle and got very satisfied with the result.
I am a personal friend of the soprano Ainhoa Arteta. Once, she came with the president of Iberkonzert to visit my studio and to propose me to lead the art production of some of her recitals, designing minimalistic sets that were full of drama. The experience was fabulous, our collaboration was a success. In fact, we are now working together on new projects.
The collaboration in video clips is part of the art and photography direction I do for many artists.
An artist visualizes everything, perceives all kind of details and raises it into a superior aesthetic level.
Which will be your next projects?
For 2018 I am preparing a wide retrospective, a selection of my paintings, sculptures, videos and photography, conceiving it all as a grand installation. This exhibition will travel from a Spanish museum to Paris and then to Mexico.