with Raúl Valladares
to Artist by © Rocío Heredia
How has been
your experience as an artist in La Habana?
This is the most difficult
question but at all. You can figure living in a country like Cuba that
has been blocked and has the most difficult economic situation and I work
doing sculptures in silver, one of the most expensive art techniques.
What contradictory, right? Many of my clients and people who admires my
artwork can't believe that I live in La Habana, to tell the truth, it
has been extremely difficult to develop my work, but I can´t complain,
I've been received support from galleries and institutions from La Habana
city, in spite of the economic problems, the Cuban artists are very creative
and enthusiastic, who inspire you to create and develop your artwork.
you become interested in art?
Since I was a little boy I got interested in painting, later
was music, I studied guitar and violin. Finally, when I was 17 years old
discovered my interest for metals.
How did you
discover your talent for metalsmithing and sculpture?
I studied the Technology of metals, but already I had an artistic
interest, so I combined my technical knowledge with the artistc ones,
until I decided to became a full-time artist.
understand you are self taught. How do you conceive you not having a formal
art education has affected you as an artist?
I do believe that a person borns with a natural gift, and this is a sign
about what is going to become in the future, it doesn't matter if has
or not formal background, if you were born to be an artist, you must polish
was your first sculpture? I'm curious...Do you have a picture of that
My first artwork was a sculpture made in wood, I was too young, so I don't
keep any photo of this piece.
plays an essential function in your artwork. What was your first introduction
When I was studying metal's technology, I discovered all the ways that
metals can approach in the sculpture's world, you may express a form using
its texttures, hardness, durability adn solidity.
movements have you been influenced by?
Any art that has to be with the future, or rather, any futurist expression
in cinema, theater and painting, the image itself influences my work.
wonder if you are influenced by a particular space or place around you?
Yes, there are two special places that influence in my work, my home and
my workshop, have arranged and decorated in such way that I can spend
long hours working without leaving it, even for a couple of days.
there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?
There are some. I admire Roberto Fabelo, a visual artist from Cuba and
internationally, Picasso. Both artists worked in a futurist way, this
is very important for me, an artwork that finds meaning in the future
rather than in the present, then it is even more creative. That was one
of the great successes of Picasso. But above at all, I must mention another
artist who has been my most important influence, the Director and Film
Maker Steven Spielberg. We had been talked and we both were agree about
the effect of his work and imagination have in my art. It made me feel
very proud and satisfied.
do your ideas come from?
Would you tell us about your creative process?
Recurrently I draw a project with a serie of pieces for a deternined event,
I do sketches, drawings, and then, I work on the piece. But sometimes
I just go to my shop and Istart to work and I try to develop an idea in
such way the metal requires it. I enjoy both of them.
textures and materials are a temptation to the sense of touch. How would
you describe your artwork?
This is a difficult question.
When an artist talks about his/her artwork is one of the great challenges.
I dare to say that I try to create an artwork that finds meaning in the
future, working with several textures and forms, trying to go over the
us what role recognition and Awards have on your career?
Recognition and awards are surely ones of the crucial moments for any
artist, indeed that's why we work for, but I consider as a great prize
even when the most humble person of the world said a praise about my artwork.
have been the favourite projects to date in your career, and why?
My favourite project will be to have one of my works in the Vatican in
the future, because this is the place where you can find the greatest
sculptors and goldsmiths of the world.
Please tell us about your sculpting technique. What are the materials
that you prefer to handle?
I would describe it as a technical collage, I work several methods to
obtain a specific shape: chasing, casting, laminating, etc. For me any
kind of metals has the same status.
do you enjoy most about working in this medium?
Create an artwork beginning from nothing.
What challenges have you found in your work?
The challenges are many, but the most hard is to impose your artwork on
have you found the popularity of the Internet to affect your work?
It didn't affected my work at all. I am one of the persons which thinks
that art and technology need to go hand by hand.
Internet have a positive or negative influence on art ?
Positive, the Internet connects
artists and allows to enjoy any kind of art in a short time. The computer
lets you see any artistic movement from around the world. Internet has
practically become the informative medium of the art, where you can approach
the galleries and museums, well, everything that is art related.
is your greatest ambition as sculptor?
That my work would be remembered eternally.
are your working on at present? Would you give us a preview?
Next year I will have a solo exhibition at the Museo de Arte Decorativa
(Museum of Decorative Art). Actually, I'm working in an artpiece for an
auction that it will be carried out in next February.
advice would you give a young sculptor just starting and wondering where
The advice that always I give, to work every day indefatigably. The work
is the foundation of the man.
Raúl, our viewers, and I appreciate your time and responses to
my questions. Sincerely, Rocío
Interview © September 2003 Rocío Heredia.
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BTDesign Art Gallery.
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