Nelo Vinuesa is an abstract artist working with oil on paper. He was born in Valencia, Spain in the 1980s and graduated from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in 2003.
Vinuesa is inspired by nature, architecture and landscapes. His work consists of interpretations of his thoughts and feelings, encapsulating these emotions in bold yet tranquil abstract statements secluded by the edges of paper.
I am interested in the history of painting and the pictorial medium as a visual language
Currently, his latest body of works “Cavern Fire” is being featured by LAUNCH F18, in partnership with ABSTRACT GALLERY. We had a chance to catch up with Vinuesa to speak with him about his creative process, inspiration and more.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: I have found in painting the best way to express my ideas. I like literature, music, cinema andany other form of artistic expression but it is through painting that I can express myself in anatural way and this is very important to me.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: I am inspired by nature, architecture and the landscape in short. I am interested in the history of painting and the pictorial medium as a visual language and autonomous communication system, but also in audiovisual culture, video games or computer graphics, and I usually try to use the expressive potential of these references.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: It depends on the project. In general I don’t usually do sketches, I like the idea of approaching painting through a direct method. However, I usually do previous studies, generally on paper. In them I investigate the forms or color and experiment with materials and types of brushes. Sometimes, from these essays, I cut out different shapes or structures and combine them in the form of small collages, thus establishing a process that I relate to “play”.
I used to do this with the computer as well, but for the last couple of years I have been enjoying the manual processes more, since I am interested in the physical and sensitive relationship with the materials. I also write and draw frequently, they are quick notes by way of annotations, which I usually review before starting a series.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: My favorite surface is paper, as it allows me to work in a direct way. However, I love it when I work on linen canvas, as it is a good material when you work with oil. Currently I have started a series of pieces on canvas and my intention is to work in the same way as on paper, with the same freedom and spontaneity as when I work on paper.
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
A: I guess if you’re referring to the artist’s profession, I think that today, the artist has to be able to communicate his ideas effectively. Besides developing a personal and interesting work, it is necessary to handle different tools such as photography, design, technology, writing or speaking languages.
Q: What is the reason behind your use abstract and expressionism in your work?
A: Since I was a fine arts student, I have felt connected to abstraction, especially American Expressionism and European Informalism. Masters such as De Kooning, Clifford Still, Arshile Gorky or others closest to me, such as Mirò, Tàpies, Miguel Angel Campano or José Guerrero among others, have decisively influenced my way of understanding painting.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: Some of my pieces are painted “alla prima” and others need different layers so I have to wait and take them again another day due to the drying time. These intervals of time are perfect to reread the piece and transform the chromatism or composition if I consider it necessary.
Later I arrange the pieces as a complete collection and I discard those that do not fit in the set. When I work on canvas, things are somewhat different and sometimes I have complex pieces hidden for months until I find the best way to solve them. Often this happens by distancing oneself from the problem and that is when the solution appears.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: I have a collection of paintings, generally works that I exchange with artist friends or painters that I like. It would be difficult for me to choose just one, since I like all of them and each one has a sentimental value for me. But well, if I have to choose, one of my favorite pieces is a photograph of my friend Maria do Mar Regó, a great Portuguese artist whom I met during my residence at the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid.
Her photograph is part of her series “La Travesia” and in it appears a castle, an austere fortification that seems to integrate into the landscape as another element of nature. It is a beautiful piece of wonderful lyricism and symbolism.
Q: How did you feel when you did your first solo exhibition?
A: It was 15 years ago in Galería Edgar Neville in Valencia and at that time I knew very little about the art world, nor did social networks exist, although a catalog was published and the reviews in the local press were fortunately positive.
This encouraged me to continue working I clearly remember the excitement and nervousness typical of the first time, the doubts about how to install the pieces and the subsequent opening surrounded by family and good friends. Making an exhibition is always exciting and I still have the same feeling of enthusiasm when I prepare a new show.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: The creative capacity is inherent to the human being and living through art is perhaps one of the most beautiful ways to learn and develop it. I am convinced that Art can be lived fully outside the art industry, but it is true that thanks to my profession I have been able to travel and meet very interesting people from different parts of the world, with different ideas but who share the interest of making this world a more beautiful place and this is undoubtedly the best gift.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: I think that social media functions as a great showcase and is a fantastic way to share information and bring the artists’ work closer to the public. On Instagram, for example, I have discovered wonderful artists that I would not have known otherwise, some are very popular and others are not. But on the other hand, there is a lot of junk art, cheap substitutes and insubstantial products that are a clear reflection of our voracious consumer society.
Honestly, what worries me most is that the “success” of an artist can be confused with the quality of their work, because they are two different things that in social networks are not always related. I really think they are very useful, but promoting artists only through social networks involves risks, and the biggest one is becoming a throwaway product.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: I think it is important to share quality content, good photographs, references… in short, it is about building a story, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be honest and do it in a personal way, that is, to be oneself.
Q: Do you have any advice for artists starting and don’t know where to begin?
A: An artist is someone who has something to say and needs to express it in some way. It doesn’t matter the medium or the discipline, but it is important to find the right one to do it. The best way to start is to start. You have to be sincere, honest and self-critical, you must to observe yourself and learn from others, see what forms fit your personality best and eventually a voice of your own will appear. No matter when, there is no rush, true art takes time and is worth enjoying.
Q: What would you say is the best way of getting your art noticed in the age of the Internet?
A: There are many ways to show our artwork on the Internet, each artist must find his or her own style. As I said before, in addition to sharing quality photographs, I think it is important to share content related to references and creative processes. It is about building a story that helps to understand the artists’ discourse. But I also believe that in the era of social networks, it is beneficial to “humanize” that content and create links with people, interact with them and create a dynamic flow of communication.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: I believe that art and technology can and should coexist. Any technological means that allows us to amplify our experience with art seems interesting to me. But in a world where everything works too fast, based on immediate consumption, saturated with images and information, I think it is necessary to reserve time to read the artistic object with patience.
No doubt this depends on the type of art, but if we talk about painting, the best way to appreciate it live. Painting only exists on the physical plane, it’s not just an image, it has its body, its skin and its entrails. For this reason, I believe that authentic painting represents a revolutionary act today, because, among other things, its nature clashes with today’s consumer systems