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"At the end of each work I have the ritual of throwing the palette to the ground, as a final point, as the closing of a stage. It’s like going to the psychologist, in that work you find states of mind, lived situations, and mixed feelings.

Once I wrote - painting is my physical way of showing that I have a soul. That's what it's all about, it's good for me to paint, and it turns my energy into something material, as if leaving my mark on the earth. It draws from within me what is "left over" emotionally and intellectually. Do not forget that we are only a container that holds a universal energy that after physical death returns to the cosmos to be part of the whole again. I believe that part of that energy is embodied in art. That's why artists are lucky; you cannot buy what comes from inside us, that comes with us".


(From an interview with Pedro Boaventura)

 


Featured Artist Interview

How do you characterize yourself?

A self-taught artist, very self-critical. I am a person who is very sensitive to sound and image. My mood is affected by the processes of my work. I am very cyclical with my work and any controversy with the artwork can get to change my day or week, until I solve what I want to achieve. In short .... I'm fanatic about what I do.
 

What is your most favourite artwork. Tell me everything about it.

I really do not believe in having a favorite artwork, yet my search is still in process, I do not think I have found it, I’m still lacking years of work and will maybe never achieve it. I believe that all painters are in the search for that perfect artwork, but if we got to that point, we might not paint anymore. On the other hand, my favorite work is The First Duel (1888) painted by the French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905).

It is oil on canvas (201 x 250cm) that is exhibited in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Argentina, Capital Federal. It is also known as "The awakening of sadness." It is a biblical scene, Adam and Eve discover their son Abel murdered by his brother Cain, according to the Bible this was the first of human deaths. The artist had lost a child at the time. The picture is strong and the scene has an emotional, anguish and load that really impacts the viewer.
William Adolphe Bouguereau was a neoclassical painter also framed within the movement of Realism. Thanks to that work I decided to try painting. I used to go to see the artwork with a small box of oil paint in hand, to be able to imitate his palette. In those moments, due to economic problems, I made my own oil paint.
 

Your artwork is full of magic. Where does the magic in you life lie?

The "magic" of my work leads me to believe in the fantasies of my childhood, as long as I continue to paint these works, my inner child, will continue to live.

What is the main message in your artwork?

The main message of my work is to never stop believing that there are occult universes in our mind and heart, in which everything is possible.

How do you feel when you paint?

I FEEL THAT I’M ALIVE!!! THAT I HAVE A SOUL AND I WANT PEOPLE TO SEE IT!!!
 

Why Surrealism?

When I first saw the work of Salvador Dalí, it was like an awakening, as if the path to follow was marked down for me. His influence was so strong and helped me in discovering my own style, which is called "Magical Realism".
 

What is a typical day?

I get up between 7:30 and 8:00 am, I prepare my diluents and mediums, I drink a cup of coffee with almonds while I observe the painting, which I am currently working on. I try to enter the same atmosphere in order to face her. It is the process to enter in my world.
Then that war begins, between the painter and the canvas that is fragmented coffee after coffee until around 7 and 9 pm when I start to clean my brushes. My artwork requires many hours of work, and if I do not carry a long pace, it is impossible for me to achieve what I want.

What is your most common thought while you paint?

My common thought is to try to follow a dream, despite the stones along the road, constant work and faith in oneself, will give us the opportunity to reach the goal, sooner or later. It’s not easy, but it can be achieved.
 

You are a self-taught artist. How did you learn to paint, to develop and master your technique?

My way of learning was in front of the works of great masters. I went with a box with small portions of oils to try and imitate the palette of those artworks, and then returned to my house and worked based on that. I have the peculiarity of disarming a work and taking what I technically need from it.
When I could not physically paint in months, in my mind I kept working and solving technique, until I could grab a brush again.

I spent years painting only one or two works every three or four months, that was due to my non-painting profession and life situations in difficult times between 2001 and 2014.
It was only in 2015 that I was able to dedicate myself to painting.
 

What preparations do you do before an artwork? What type of research? What are the concerns regarding the message and the content? And how do you articulate all these elements to create the final composition?

My works begin with a fleeting image in my head, it can be any situation, it is only a fragment, and then I look for a model to originate the idea. I work in various ways, using a live model, photography or video. When I have the images that I want, I place them on canvas as a basic drawing of any human figure and from there... LET MY IMAGINATION GUIDE ME. This way, I enjoy painting situations of magical realism or surrealism that arise with the progress of the work. I can never know where my work will go, it may end up in something totally different from what I started. EVERYTHING APPEARS OUT OF NOTHING!

How do you manage the difficult equilibrium between the soul, the heart and technique?

"Technique can sometimes be a disease". It is necessary to stop correcting the heart with the mind. Sometimes the technical quality doesn’t matter and the sensorial quality is preferable, the intuition. You have to find the balance between technique and heart so one does not "kill" the other. I don’t know if it still achieves that balance, but I'm going down that road.

Do you fight a lot with your paintings? Do you have difficult days?

ALWAYS!!! It is a constant struggle, I am a terrible self-critic, and sometimes difficult weeks pass, where I fail to reach my goal. But that is painting, a combination of feelings (sadness, joy, happiness, frustration, conformity, rejection ... etc.)

What do you feel when finishing an artwork?

At the end of each work I have the ritual of throwing the palette to the ground, as a final point, as the closing of a stage. It’s like going to the psychologist, in that work you find states of mind, lived situations, and mixed feelings.

Once I wrote - painting is my physical way of showing that I have a soul. That's what it's all about, it's good for me to paint, and it turns my energy into something material, as if leaving my mark on the earth. It draws from within me what is "left over" emotionally and intellectually. Do not forget that we are only a container that holds a universal energy that after physical death returns to the cosmos to be part of the whole again. But I believe that part of that energy is embodied in art. That's why the artists are lucky; you cannot buy what comes from inside us, that comes with us.
 

Your models and characters appear frequently repeated throughout your artworks. Who are they?

Usually they are friends or people, who are very close emotionally, such as my current partner that is in several works. Every person in my work generates something, some kind of physical or emotional traction. It can be their hands, their feet, their skin texture and color, their way of being. These are many reasons why I look for them.

I am very grateful for their collaboration, they are part of my works, just like the oil or palette or canvas, without them I could not create the artwork, my work depicts the human figure a lot.
 

What are your influences? What artist do you admire most?

My Influences were the great masters, they are no longer here, but they left a mark in all of us painters. Whole generations influenced by Caravaggio, Velázquez, Tiziano, Rubens, Durero, El Greco, Turner, Canaletto, Miguel Angel, Leonardo ... etc. My greatest influences are: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Salvador Dalí and William Turner.

What is your biggest objective? Your greatest dream?

My goal is to be able to paint and create until the last day of my life, and my dream would be that despite the passing of the centuries, my work is recognized in the world just as the great masters that I admire.

What is it like to be a painter in Argentina? (especially in moments of profound crisis)

It is very difficult, art is not really valued and it is very hard and tiring to try to live from the artworks. Very few can. I feel sad about that, because I love my country, but the power and ambition of the politicians do not have the people as a priority. That's something I see all over the world.

Lennon wrote:
"Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people,
Sharing all the world."
 

What inspires you more?

There is no better inspiration than a blank canvas, virgin of color and drawing, defiant before. The painter's imagination!
 

Painting is a form of communication. Is it also a way, not only to express ourselves, but also to find oneself?

Painting simplifies, in a single image, thousands of things that we mean and much of what we feel - part of the quest to find a way is to get lost. Sometimes in a work we are lost from the beginning until almost the end and in the last brushstrokes, we collide against what in us is the finished work.
 

What is your relationship with an artwork?

I always had feelings, before I knew how to paint. Now we have to add the two things, technique and feeling. For each artwork I feel that I have grown. I'm solving things in the artwork, and when that happens, I find myself in another world. I’m having a challenge with the palette that makes me uneasy - a thing of painters. In other words, I spend 30 minutes looking at the painting and 10 minutes actually painting. There are times that happens. That's the day. See what I did… no ... never, it's like following an idea that bores me, because I think an artwork changes on the days that one is painting it.
 

In a personal conversation with the Collector Carlos Aragón, regarding the preparation of an important exhibition, Hernan confessed:

“I did everything, did not leave anything out: I painted, I exposed. I did not sleep, I did not take a bath. I did not eat, lost relationships, weekends, got sick, painted and drew with floaters*.
 So I gave EVERYTHING!!!! Perfect year-end. "
 
*flying flies or floating bodies, they are an ocular defect that manifests in the vision as a set of spots or filaments suspended in the visual field.
 

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