Thursday, July 2, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marco Vazquez

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Marco's painting, "Golden Reflection" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Marco's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a self taught artist, born in Mexico City in 1979 and working in California, USA since 2001.

My interest in art started early in life, I used to spent hours drawing portraits with pencils. I never thought art could be a career, I choose accounting with little success, but an event that revolutionized my life and made me see art as a way of life happened the day I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Art became the most important part of my life. Since then, I have spend time searching and learning about the art of painting. (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Like many artists I started to have an interest in drawing early in life. I used to spend hours and hours with pencil in hand trying to get the smallest of details done in my drawings. But it wasn't at that time that I started to paint.

It was really a process that took me a long time. I lived the first twenty years of my life in a small town in my country, Mexico. There was very limited information about art in my community and even more limitations on getting art supplies. Internet was in its early stage.

It was really a blessing when I moved to the USA. Everything changed and it became easier to discover the great world of art. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by galleries, museums, schools, artists... I went to the art store and bought pencils and a big box of prismacolors as soon as I got my first paycheck.

I don't know exactly when I started to paint, but I know that my beginning in art started with those pencils and those color pencils.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I have a full time job in a marketplace and it has nothing to do with painting.

I love painting so much, but I haven't being able to establish myself as a full time painter. There are times when I have to stop to organize my painting projects. I don't completely stop my art. Sometimes I sketch, sometimes I go out with my camera and collect reference photos or surf the internet for the same purpose. There are times when I just can't finish painting worth showing, I often blame the little time I have free after work.

Golden Reflection
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Marco's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have used many mediums; all of them are very traditional and nothing out of the ordinary.

I started with pencil and color pencils. Then I started to look for a medium that could give me more satisfaction. I tried watercolors, acrylics, gouache, then I tried pastels and I thought this was my medium. I learned all I could about it and I feel that after a year of failures, I became fairly good at it. Actually, I've kept painting with pastels, but three years ago I had to try oils. Now most of my works are oil paintings. Oil is the most important medium in traditional art for a reason. Colors are vibrant, easy to manipulate, you can have a limited palette and make hundreds if not thousands of color combinations and after the painting is done, the painting is easy to frame and care for.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I paint mostly oils; they give me great satisfaction, so I've stuck with them.

There are times when I feel like getting dusty and go get my pastels. The colors always stay vibrant and having direct contact with my colors makes me feel more intimate with my art. I wonder if that is the reason my pastels are mostly portraits and figures; I want to feel a direct connection with the people on my portraits even if I don't personally know them.

Child and Cat
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am sure there will be a time when I'll have to explore new horizons. Right now, I have so much to learn about the few mediums that I work with.

In the future, I hope I can try sculpting. Art has endless possibilities and so there are many tools one can experiment with, but time is a big issue for me and one has to learn how to control the anxiety of wanting to learn new techniques.

I have painted in the realism genre from the beginning and I feel comfortable doing so. I don't have plans to change genre now but like I said, there will be a time to explore some day.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature. Nature in all ways and shapes.

I always try to paint something that makes the viewer feel happy and relaxed. I want my collectors to feel only positive feelings when they hang my art on the wall.

I like the way that nature delivers its greatness, and the fact that we are part of that greatness makes me feel so inspired.

I am not against artists that paint sarcastic or pessimistic images because I know negative experiences are real and a part of daily life. But if I can get away from bad experiences with my art and in the process show people the beauty of life, then I prefer to focus my energy on that direction.

In Profile
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I have a furious battle with time. I know it's a lost battle, because time never stops, never waits for us to be "ready", but the time I spend painting or the time I spend learning about art I try to enjoy it as much as possible.

Unfortunately, I procrastinate a lot; procrastination to me is me trying to do a lot at the same time and ending up doing nothing.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I try to have my painting materials at hand and ready. I paint around the same hour of the day and I guess that works a lot for me, because when that hour comes and I am not painting I feel like something is wrong.

(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I trained myself in painting from life in the beginning, but lately, because of time issues, I paint mostly from photographs. I sketch from photos and when a sketch feels right, then I paint it.
Sometimes my sketches and paintings are a combination of many references. Sometimes just one reference does it and other times they are a combination of a reference photo and a bit of imagination. It comes spontaneously sometimes, but I mostly prepare what I am painting with care.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Keeping positive. As business, art can be very difficult and one can easily get frustrated. I see art as something I am accomplishing. Every time I create something I stare at it for a while and I feel happy with myself. For me, painting is not a job, it is life and so I live through my paintings.

Feeling good with what you do helps a lot. I compare my beginning works with what I paint today and I see a difference. My paintings now have more light in them and it's because now I feel confident and happy with my artwork. In the beginning, I was trying too hard, trying to be a little more classical and I ended up stressed many times and that showed up in my early works. They look grayed and darker.

(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

There is always something new to learn. There is infinite information about painting techniques, selling techniques, different, new mediums to learn, but I am trying to focus my curiosity on more personal interests now.

I question myself more about feelings and emotions. I am trying to learn things about other cultures. I live in a multicultural city and that grew my curiosity. I want to know what make us similar but at the same time so different. I hope after I satisfy my curiosity, I can give much more meaning to my art.

So I could conclude that I am learning to be more human through my art.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Everything makes me feel happy about my art. The whole process is fascinating. I take the canvas or paper and prepare it, knowing that I will turn that white colorless piece of space into something... hopefully something beautiful.  The best part is when someone sees what I created and likes it, sometimes likes it so much that they buy it and after they receive the painting a few days later they feel good with what they got. Most of the time, I get emails letting me know that the painting was better than what they expected. That energizes me to continue with the next painting.

Thanks, Marco!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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