Interview by Javier Melian for www.thepalettepages.com
Gateway to the inner Universe by Javier Melian (@jmelianuk)
When you talk to someone, often you do not remember everything they said, you don’t remember all the words, but rather how that person made you feel. Same happens with an image, when it doesn´t matter which material or how it is made, it makes you feel something, when there is a breath of truth in it, when there is something unique, essential and beautiful, it is when you remember it; This also goes for people, gardens, dogs, everyday objects, with all that complements us and the range of objects that we choose to live with.” – Sebastian Boesmi
I experienced the meaning of this beautiful statement the first time I saw an image from Sebastian Boesmi, which was in fact, in a coffee machine. Boesmi’s trademark patterns and colour schemes adorned the image of a top of the range, coveted espresso machine; a prototype design he was invited to create by a very prestigious global brand.
I fell for it immediately as it was the perfect combination of my two addictions. Art keeps me alive and coffee keeps me awake. I live on 3 double macchiatos a day and always carry a handful of loyalty cards with me, which indeed shows my utter disloyalty. The wondrous camouflage of an otherwise mundane object drew me in. It was like looking into a well and falling in. This art was immediate; nothing to decode or infer. It was the expression of the universal communication that is on each living being’s DNA before reason and language applied their reductive labelling to everything.
Sebastian is a wise man, as his visceral and intuitive art allows things to manifest themselves and evolve. He knows that is the way. His life is coherent with his work, with the flow of things. We are not in control. That is an illusion. I wasted much time in thought and fear. Both ruin the enjoyment of witnessing life happening to you. Resistance is futile so they say. We, like the rest of the universe, are made to flow, to let go floating down the river like Ophelia. I can see this reminder in Boesmi’s art. There is movement on it but observed from stillness like me now tapping away in my lap top when in fact I am travelling on a ball with a core of fire, spinning around a star at 70,000 miles per hour, which itself is orbiting around a galaxy at greater speed. Isn’t this crazy?
Call it luck, serendipity, or just pure coincidence. Live is constantly using us as agents for events to which we are mostly unaware of. I like to think that cosmic Karma has made Brick Lane, the
area where I live, pay his dues and redeem itself for the severe accident Sebastian suffered here almost exactly one year ago. The fate that made me stare at a coffee machine, research artwork,
find the artist and contact him for this interview. I hope this humble blog creates ripples, and triggers other domino effects that will make his art known by more and more people, so they can
also feel as I did, fearless and unstoppable in contemplation.
Argentina born Sebastian Boesmi is a Paraguayan artist living in Barcelona. His creative nature took him to study Architecture initially, career that in 2003 he swapped for Fine Arts. Pursuing his artistic vocation, he joined different courses on xylography, digital art, painting and design in Asuncion – Paraguay, Buenos Aires and Nueva York. He started participating in group exhibitions in 2000.
In 2008 the French Government awarded him a prestigious Matisse prize, which led him to move to Paris were he experimented with new media. Then he leaped to Barcelona, Berlin, and ever since the world is his oyster. His art has been frequently imitated, even copied. Currently based in Barcelona, his works are held in private collections in Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Colombia, Italy, Suisse and France.
Self taught or art school?
At the beginning I was self-taught. I rejected the idea of studying fine arts and I began my education with theatre. I thought that by knowing my body and my emotions I would be able to better direct my work in painting and drawing, as they were completely visceral processes for me back then. Far from the concept I worried more on the formal aspects, on mastering the technique and building my own language. At the end of the day I joined the National University of Asuncion and graduated as Bachelor of Visual Arts. I also did a year of art school at The Art Students League in New York, and took some courses in Paris in my one-year stay at the Cite International des Arts. Studying art is not necessary but may help systematize things. What I never want to stop doing is working with the same enthusiasm and curiosity you have when you have not studied, when you are experiencing and playing.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
It has to be something I would want to live with. Like people, like objects, has to be like me and has to make me think about what I am, not asking me what I see. I just have to love it, I must have a dialogue between the art piece and me to own the art work. I have to deeply desire it.
How would you describe your style?
Describing your own art is like describing everything you feel, think and live daily. I draw on my daily experiences and make art to be the centre of my life and ensure there is consistency between the work I do and the life I choose to lead. It becomes a philosophy, a way of life. I believe in studio work, in commitment and passion, and discipline. In my work everything moves, I rarely paint static elements; rhythm is very important in my images. Also the abundance of elements, the relationship between the micro and the macro and the use of vivid colours in some cases and withered in others. I like to work from the spontaneity of what the work is asking me as I go along making it, asking me without words, through its own composition, colours, rhythm, lines but almost never through perspective: in my work the concept of perspective and figure-background relationship are not formal resources used for depiction, on the contrary, my way of composing is rather through overlapping. I am very interested in the tension between the figure and the background and some issues related to the Gestalt, to how we perceive and beyond that, to how we process the images in our imagination. I like recreating in two dimensions ideas closest to the way we think them and not as we see them in our everyday experience. In my work the dream component is very important, so is the irony, the universe, and inward look.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
On the street, at people’s houses, at some galleries, in artists open studios, in temporary exhibitions in Museums, in fairs, in no places like middle of nothing, or airports, or metro stations. In bathrooms and public spaces.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
My favourite artists are those whom I deeply admire and those who demonstrate consistency between their work and their life, and especially those who work without ultra-intentions as I believe that there are no ultra-intentions in art and everything is too overrated. But principally, my favorite artists are those that demystify contemporary art itself and the actual figure of the artist. I could not name just one, but going through the history of art I could evoke Jackson Pollock, because I think at that time USA needed an artist that painted in a universal language, a style that could be interpreted by anyone regardless of their race or religion. Also Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud that presented the human figure in a very particular way, Cezanne by his structure of the visible forms that would lead to Cubism being introduced by his successors, the Impressionists for their aggressive yet delicate rupture, and primarily Avant-garde artists of the 20th century for teaching us through the constant failures of their artistic manifestos that art exists not to change the world, but to change what we perceive of it.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
My studio is in Barcelona-Spain, in the old Village of Gracia. It used to be a place when artists painted the escenography for theatre shows. The walls are very high and there is a nice light, full of graffiti and tags and when you go inside you find high walls and a light space for work. Last year and this year I am although working in a studio in Berlin, is a full roof in Moabit, full of light because of the windows in the roof and walls. It’s connected to a tinny room to rest and cook.
Do you have any studio rituals?
When I arrives to my studio I play music, think and work, and then a loop of it untill I get tired or hungry. Sometimes I like to receive people and talk and work at the same time, sometimes I prefer to be alone, working in different pieces at the same time or be obsessed in only one. I think my ritual is not have a ritual, is be open to spontaneity.
What are you working on currently?
I am painting commissions and for exhibitions in 2015. Also working with glass, making neon lights. Phrases and designs of my painting imaginarium developed in neon. Sometimes i take photos too. Since 6 years ago I am dedicated full time to studio work, so my production has always been very active, I got used to that. The only time I stopped for a long time, about 4 months, it was last year. On October 5th 2013 I had an accident the day I arrived in London for the first time: a car hit me while crossing Brick Lane, leaving me in hospital for 3 weeks with several broken bones including my right foot, right ribs and humerus, so I couldn’t move my right hand for a long time and couldn’t work either. Anyhow after a month I returned to Barcelona, strong enough to take the plane and walk with crutches. I went back to my studio and started doing color sketches with my left hand. I couldn’t resolve the images as I did with the right hand so I thought I’d take a break to continue researching with the other hand working with color. I thought It would be a good way to avoid not going to the studio and becoming deeply bored. I wanted to make my ill hand jealous to wake it up, hence I used the other to make color compositions or arbitrary lines. I really believed that it could work. Also took private guitar lessons because I thought it might help with the movement of my fingers. Today, exactly one year after I am fully recovered, with some scars and lack of sensation in parts, but with fine motor skills recovered, and a spirit stronger than ever to work on new projects. At the end of the day artists always want to evolve and propose images with fresh style and individuality, we all strive for that, working hard, spending hours and just giving it all … when in fact your own art changes when you change your mind, when you change .
Where can we buy your art
Espai.b galería d´art. Barcelona, Spain, (Villa de Gracia).
Hebert Galerie de art contemporain. Paris,France, (Le Marais).
In South America:
Fabrica art gallery, Casa Mayor art gallery, Veronica Torres art collection ,
Arte Actual art gallery, Matices art gallery,
Exaedro Art Gallery; – Asunción, Paraguay.
What are your ambitions?
Fear nothing and never stop