On art and dreams with Madrid-based artist Fernando Vicente.
Born in Madrid, Spain, artist Fernando Vicente has been painting and illustrating since the 1980s. From his own phenomenal series to illustrations for journals and magazines, Fernando's repertoire certainly spans wide. Yet, while he is indeed immersed in the art and publishing industry, throughout the years, Fernando has still maintained a firm grasp on his own artistic beliefs, desires and endeavors.
“It does not interest me so much to reach more people than to satisfy my creative needs.”
Despite his busy schedule, Fernando was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us to give us and our Utopiats some insight into the world of a seasoned artist such as himself, an artist situated in the art world who reveres above all else passion and raw expression. This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English.
Q: Who is Fernando Vicente?
FV: Even I don't know. I have too many different personalities but, basically, I am a painter and illustrator who lives and works in Madrid.
Q: What kind of creative patterns, rituals, or routines do you have?
FV: I work a lot; I have a very long day of 9 in the morning to 9 at night. So inspiration always catches me while I'm working. I don't have special manias nor creative patterns.
Q: What things inspire you?
FV: My exhibitions are themed and reflect my obsessions: things that I collect — those who walk by the studio. That finally forms part of my work.
Q: A lot of your paintings explore — both realistically and surrealistically — the internal
side of humans in a very vivid way. What are you trying to communicate with this
FV: I am very interested in the human body and all that it suggests. I am interested in both the outer (The Atlas series - the orthography of the body) and the inside of the human body (The Vanitas series - Venus), even including my series of Anatomies where I explore the terrain of the cyborg.
Q: How do you define beauty?
FV: I believe that beauty is something subjective. For me, inner beauty is the final frontier that pierces through the human body.
Q: Being a seasoned artist, what about the evolving art industry has been the most
surprising to you? Do you agree or disagree with the way things are evolving in the
FV: I believe that the present is passing through a phase of change. The Internet has revolutionized the art industry, the same as the rest of our lives.
Q: Some of your other illustrations include caricatures of politicians and literary
scholars. In addition to art, what is your agenda in both the world of politics and
FV: I have more portraits of writers than politicians, during the many years I have worked with cultural supplements of periodicals and magazines. During these years, I have come to draw more than 200 writers.
Q: What is your favorite piece by any artist?
FV: I like great classics of painting. I find it very difficult to stay with a work of art, but I believe that Madame X by John Singer Sargent defines very well my idea of beauty.
Q: The human journey and the artistic journey often go hand in hand. As you evolve as a human being, how has your art evolved?
FV: Yes, I also think that their path is very interrelated. As the years have passed, I have been mixing more of my obsessions and my desires with my work.
Q: Who do you want to be known as in the world, as an artist and a human being? Is there any difference between the two?
FV: What is most important is to be true to yourself and your way of understanding the world.
Q: At Utopiat, we don't look at how many followers an artist has or how renowned he
or she is; it's about seeing the soul behind the artwork. As long as we can see that the person does what they do because they have to do it, not because of external reasons, we find there to be a genuine beauty to their art. How do you, as an artist yourself, gauge whether a piece of art has soul or not? How do you judge whether a piece of art is good?
FV: It is not something that I have considered before. I don't look to create something popular. It does not interest me so much to reach more people than to satisfy my creative needs.
Q: What would be the perfect day, the perfect 24 hours, for you?
FV: Any perfect day is when you leave from work at the studio and don't think that you have wasted time because you have discovered something new... and then finish the rest of the day surrounded by family.
Q: Since being an artist is part of your professional career, what are your feelings
towards the relationship between art and money?
FV: I believe that we need both things to live; but in my opinion, I do not understand working only to earn money.
Q: What type of advice for someone who really wants to make a living doing art?
FV: Work hard. Art, as well as other professions, is a long-distance race, in which after persevering, you arrive at the go