Felix Gonzalez is a painter and printmaker based in Spain whose works have been widely exhibited nationally, as well as in Germany, Mexico, Egpyt, Ecuador, Russia, and the United States. He describes his artistic style as being figurative and responding to poetic realism. Gonzalez creates using mixed techniques and begins with the application of layers of primary-colored acrylics, followed by oils to complete each piece. We sat down with Félix Gonzalez to talk about his current projects, inspiration, and the start of his artistic career.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Since I was a child, when I was about three or four years old to be exact. I used to draw and paint with crayons. Remembering the excitement I felt when I did it and the satisfaction when I saw that everyone who saw it liked it very much.
I am from a small town, Cebreros, in the province of Avila. At that time, there was nothing not even material to paint with. I made a brush with my own hair. After taking a lock of hair, I cut it, tied it to a stick and with that I painted.
When I was 11 years old I started a correspondence course of drawing and painting in which they sent me the materials to paint. For me, that was a joy. I devoted my full attention to it all day long.
When I was 15 I entered the official art school in Avila. At 17, I entered the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid. I did all of this because I enjoyed doing it, but I was not aware that I wanted to be an artist.
Since I was a kid, I have always believed that there was a hand guiding me and leading me along the path to become a professional painter. I have given painting all my love, enthusiasm, and dedication. It has given it back to me gratefully with all kinds of satisfaction, success, and recognition.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
In my first course at the School of Fine Arts, the great painter Antonio López was my teacher. At that time I was very young, I came from a small town and I did not understand his aesthetics. Today I really admire him.
I also admire Turner in his watercolors. His technique is “half done” and simplified to the maximum. I would like to reach that degree of simplification and abstraction, but I tend to put too much detail. I have to fight to restrain myself and not to put more detail than necessary.
It’s funny, but the painters I admire represent what I can’t do or what I have a hard time doing.
That’s why I also like Mark Rothko a lot. All of his feelings and his spirituality is expressed with maximum abstraction and simplicity.
I also admire El Greco for his rapturous spirituality, and Sorolla for his fresh and spontaneous brushstroke and his luminous color.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
I have never collaborated with anyone in painting. For me it is very difficult for another person to do what you feel.
I have collaborated with my partner in the sense that I knew the subjects that she could paint well and I took photographs thinking of paintings that she would paint later. It is true that I used my aesthetics and sensibility when I took the photographs, but the paintings were completely her. However, this is a completely exceptional case, mainly because she was who she was.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
Technically, I’m always trying things out. I try to obtain different results. I try to simplify the details of the motif I paint as much as possible, although honestly I think I will never achieve it.
In my compositions, I try to trace a path through the painting. I intend to guide the viewer, subtly inviting him to follow the path I mark. I choose an area as the main focus of interest of the painting and this area is the one I “finish” with more detail.
Normally, I play with the effect of different terminations so that the different areas of the painting enhance each other according to the interest I want to give them. In my SINGULART page I have a video in which I explain the technical development of one of my paintings in all its stages.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
The truth is that I have never asked myself this question. I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I were not a painter. The only thing I have done all my life has been this, painting.
It is also true that I lack time for other hobbies that I like very much, such as reading. Although, I think I’ve found a way to not give it up and lately I’ve been supplementing it with audiobooks. So I can paint and read at the same time.
Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?
There are many artists on SINGULART that I like regardless of the style. When the author puts sensitivity and emotion into his or her work, we viewers usually recognize it and enjoy it.
There is an American photographer, Ysabel Semay, whose floral compositions I like very much and a Spanish abstract painter, Pablo Rodriguez Guy, who I also like and admire.
What advice would you give to young artists starting out?
I can speak from my personal experience.
First of all, that they must feel enthusiasm in what they do. They must invest in their work and give it love and full dedication. That they must take the risk of working exclusively in what they love. I firmly believe that if you believe in yourself fully painting will give back to you.
When I finished art school I worked for 5 years without anyone seeing what I was doing and without knowing if what I was doing was going to be accepted or not. I had to take the risk, believe and bet on my work.
Looking back, I practically had the exhibition ready when I went out with three paintings under my arm to look for a gallery to exhibit.
I went to three art galleries, and all three said yes. And so began my journey through this profession that I love so much and to which I owe everything I am.
In short, love what you do and if you are able to get the viewer to feel your passion, then you have done it!