Artist talk with Josias Figueirido

'I Found It By Accident, Now I Keep It', 2021

Acrylic on Bristol paper

48 x 61 cm 

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Santa Eugenia de Riveira, a small fishing town in the northwest of Spain. When I was 19 years old I moved to London to pursue my studies in Fine Art, first at London Metropolitan University and then at the Royal Drawing School. I completed my MFA in 2017 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (USA), and I am currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas (USA). I am an artist mainly interested in images, and I work primarily in painting, drawing, and printmaking.

 

Where did your passion for art begin?

For as long asI can remember, I have always drawn. I don’t really know where this passion comes from or how it started. Growing up, nobody in my family or in my immediate environment was interested in art. However, I recall my parents being very conscious of my drawing practice and very supportive at the same time. As I look back, my enthusiasm for art and artmaking was fed by learning about a new painting, a new artist, a new book, visiting an exhibition or museum, and other similar experiences.

How would you describe your work to someone?

Most of my paintings are imaginary narratives in which I combine biographical and fictional elements. I channel personal experiences into the work with a sense of both humor and horror. The figures are invented and are usually engaged in a situation of struggle.

'Don’t Let Anyone Tell You How to Build Your House', 2021

Acrylic on Bristol paper

48 x 61 cm 

What are you currently working on?

Since I moved to Laredo, Texas in July 2020, I have developed an interest in channeling my experiences of living in this border city into my work. I am fascinated by being in a bilingual and bicultural place. In this respect, I feel I fit right in. Currently I am doing research about the South Texas – Mexico border and its history, culture, and immigration. I am planning on making a new body of work that is influenced by the unique geographical, historical, cultural, and political characteristics of this place. I am also exploring digital tools more than ever before. Ever since I taught basic techniques with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Animate in 2018, I have started to use these applications in my works. I am interested in the possibilities that these tools offer me in looking at a subject or form from a different perspective, and in the ways they force me to consider paint application differently.

'I Was Told Something Else', 2021

Acrylic on Bristol paper

48 x 61 cm

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?

In my current work, I combine both spontaneity and planning within my creative process. In recent months, I have begun to organize my process into three stages. I start by researching a topic and materials through readings, talks, and visiting key places. Once I feel I have enough information, I channel it into multiple quick drawings. This part of the process is really free and anything can happen. After that I translate my favorite drawings into digital ones before painting from them. This final step is the most planned, although there are always variations between the digital version and the final painting.

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

I have noticed that my work has been hugely influenced by the places I have lived in, the way I am forced to move through space, the architecture, the colors, the people around me, their way of life, their concerns, the ideas of the moment, and the art of the place. I believe this shows through my work in aspects such as the imagery and colors I use as well as in the scale and materials of my paintings. Artistically, perhaps my most immediate and significant influence comes from Picasso and his explorative boldness towards art making. I admire his courage to move in the direction his curiosity took him. Philip Guston’s search for creative freedom while moving from abstraction to figuration has also been influential in my attitude to making art. I am also passionate about medieval painting and Sienese painting. I find these works to be very inventive and original in the strategies they use to tell stories.

What are your plans for the remainder of this year? I am currently visiting family in Spain and learning more about Galician painters such as Laxeiro and Urbano Lugris. I just opened a solo show at Estudio Abierto, an artist-run space, in Vigo (Spain) on June 11th. In July, I will spend two weeks at the Millay Colony as a resident, and I will try to see as many shows as possible in New York. I will go back to Laredo, Texas at the end of July to continue my own work and research and to prepare for the fall semester.

'Red Nose and Red Peak',2021

Acrylic on Bristol paper

48 x 61 cm