L’Entretien avec Álvaro Marzán – When creation allows introspection

Dans cette nouvelle édition de la rubrique “Interview”, Art Work Circle s’est entretenu avec l’artiste plasticien Álvaro Marzán. L’occasion de parler de l’introspection à travers la création artistique.

Introduce yourself in few words: 

I’m a Spanish artist, mainly painter. I’m vegetarian on and off, I love yoga and eastern philosophies. 

How and when did you get in touch with art?

I was always drawing when I was a child. My family, my father particularly, supported me a lot so I continued. At some point, I just knew I wanted to be a painter. I’m really happy that I kept that dream alive. 

Tell us about your artistic approach : 

It’s about the process of painting. Process is very important, I always begin with some ideas on my mind, some colours I want to work with. That’s the starting point and the process usually takes me somewhere I didn’t expect at the beginning. There are lots of accidents, mistakes, trials, all the experimentations during the process are like a sediment for the image. They make it more rich and complex.
Usually, the results surprises me. I don’t expect what I find and I try to keep that element of surprise and spontaneity in the artwork. The process of painting itself directs everything. I also ask myself a lot of questions; what’s the interest of this image, what’s the interest of painting today? Is this intense enough, is it too abstract, too realistic, too easy or too difficult? At the end this pressure makes me go beyond my initial limit.

Where do you find your inspiration ?

 What I try to do is to avoid realistic things or common images. It pushes me to find new things, that’s the motivation. Finding new images that are close to the unconscious. I want to reach this particular part of the mind when I work.

What message/emotions do you want to give through your artworks ?

I don’t know if I want to communicate, consciously, any emotions, but what I expect is that the people who see the paintings are going to experiment something similar to what I’m feeling. My feelings about painting usually are about surprise, joy and mystery. I hope the visitors of my exhibitions sense a bit of these elements. As my images aren’t very realistic, I often have people who project themselves into the painting, telling me “that’s a bird”, “I see a face”,etc… Perhaps my idea was a completely different thing but I like that they are completing or giving a personal interpretation to it. 

Do you have a creation memory you would like to share ?

I’m very fond of the paintings I did for the exhibition at Neimënster this year… I think those artworks appeal to me in a special way because the process was very intense, it pushed me to grow as painter. I used new colours I wasn’t using before (funny thing, it was a very “yellow” period), I experimented a lot with the material (oil) and its possibilities. I also switched from oil on paper to oil on canvas, which was a total game changer. It was great, those pieces gave me a much better understanding of what I wanted to do with my painting. 

If you can choose only one artwork that you are the proudest of ?

Any of the artworks I did during my residence at Neimënster this year. I’m very proud because for this residence I experimented with volume. I made sculptures, using canvas to create them. It has been a super fun experience and I think I have learned a lot, opened my mind about what I can do as an artist. It’s not only paintings, I can do other kind of pieces, sharing the same principles. It has been super inspiring. On the project I had three collaborators and that made me understand other approaches to the creative process. It’s not just myself in the atelier: being with other people giving you feedback, having different points of view, that’s fantastic! I’m very proud of the whole experience.

What are your futur projects ?

In 2021 I receive the support from l’Oeuvre Nationale Grande-Duchesse Charlotte and Focus to develop a three part project. One part has supported the exhibition at Neimenster, other one the recent residence. The last part supports my work during the next three months, when I’m going to develop a series of paintings or perhaps sculptures… The idea is to have an exhibition later and give the public an idea of what I have done in this period.

  • What was the first thing you did this morning ? I talked to my wife
  • What is the principal subject of your work : Emotions and colours
  • You never leave your house without… My keys 
  • Your “happy place” ? My home or my atelier
  • Your favorite word ? It’s an Italian expression “stemm bene”. It means something like “stay well for me” 
  • Your guilty pleasure ? Playing chess and video games until late 
  • What’s your dream project ? An exhibition with huge paintings and sculptures, something big