Rocio Heredia, Metalsmith Artist - Chasing and Repoussé in Metalworks.

Interview with Miguel Cortez - Visual Artist

Conducted by © Rocío Heredia

Please tell us something about yourself, where did you grew up and dreamed of becoming as a child?
I arrived in the USA at the age of 8.

When did you discover your talent and decided to become a full-time artist?
I guess when I was 14 I discovered I enjoyed drawing and painting so I decided to go to a fine arts highschool until 18. Then pursued it further in college until age 22.

How did you feel when you discovered that you had art talent beyond others you knew?
I guess that idea of having art talent beyond others is part of an artist's ego, but one soon meets other talented artists and you realize you are not that special.

What was your first painting and might you have a picture of that first work?
I do not have a picture of my first painting. I think it was a done with tempera paint when I was 14-15 years old.

What is your formal training? How did you acquire your knowledge and skills as a painter?
Many years of school and learning on my own.

Did your parents give you the encouragement you needed? Were there other artists in your family?
My parents would have liked that I would have studied a different trade, more into business, but they have accepted my decision since then.

How do you conceive you having a formal art education has affected you as an artist?
I think it has improved it.

If someone has your gift of art, should they go to art school and why?
To learn various techniques as well as art history and meet other people to interact and share ideas with.

Which cultural, artistic, and/or political movements have you been influencing you the most?
There are too many to mention but some are: DADA, FLUXUS, Mexican Mural movement, Abstract Expressionism, etc.

Are you inspired by particular places or spaces?
Various things inspire me. It could be visiting a historic building, or a new city, new culture, or finding a rusted object on the street. Anything could inspire an idea.

Which present or past artists do you admire?
Malevich, Duchamp, Basquiat, Warhol, Pollock, Kline, Dennis Oppenheim, etc.

What is the inspiration behind your painting?
Life, the daily interaction with everything.

Would you give us your personal definition of art?
Art to its basic definition is just a form of expression.

What is your favorite medium for your paintings? What are your favorite materials?
For many years I have used acrylic and oils.

Tell us about your use of color.
It ranges from using earth tones and getting an aged rustic look to the paintings to using more bright colors/pastels on my recent series.

There is a fascinating relationship of your work to abstract art. Please define your style. Would you explain how you have developed it to its current, very unique status?
I started by doing figurative work all throughout school and gradually started dissecting the figure until all you saw was interesting forms using color and texture.

What is the relevance of the abstract art today?
Abstract art may or may not have any relevance today. I think it is just a style or a way of doing art and will exist as long as artists continue to do this type of art.

Do you think the Internet has contributed to the promotion of your artwork?
Yes it has. I receive emails every so often by people in other countries who come across one of my web sites and enjoy certain paintings.

Does the Internet have a positive or negative influence on art?
I think it is very positive, and it is another type of medium for the artist. One can build an interactive web site based on programming and html, and that in itself is the art, not just putting up JPEGS of your paintings.

What challenges have you found in your work?
I constantly push myself into experimenting either within painting or using other materials.

What aspiration as an artist is most important to you?
To interact with the viewer on some type of level and inspire or influence someone.

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
I continue doing new series of paintings but have been working in doing more digital collages and designing political or absurd stickers to be placed in public areas as well as doing more installations and experimenting by getting away from 2D art.

What advice would you give to young artists?
If you have talent continue and never give up.

Finally, how do you feel you have been blessed personally as a result of embracing the life of an artist?
The life of an artist is tough because it does not guarantee financial success only spiritual well being.


Miguel Cortez, Visual Artist

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