We sat down with Mexican artist Esteban Fuentes de Maria to discuss his inspiration, achievements, and the hardest thing to get ‘right’.
How would you describe your art?
It’s my way to be free and express what i feel about our times, it’s a very honest chronicle of what we are living, framed by a romantic point of view, that shares my world full of birds and surreal animals.
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as an artist?
I believe that for me, Art is a mother language, because it’s my way to communicate even before speaking, and the “mother language” is not only the first to be spoken, but also the one you inherit, my family has a tradition of more than 250 years painting the diversity of México, I was raised among brushes and canvases.
Do you have a favourite piece, and if so why is it your favourite?
It would be so hard for me to pick one because of the attachment I have with them. In all of my pieces I leave a part of my soul, and I consider them all mirrors, but I do have one that I’m particularly jealous with, and it’s the first horse I composed with butterfly wings, I made that piece the first day of this year and represents a metamorphosis for me.
What is your process when painting?
Always waking up very very early in the morning, before the sun so I catch the first light, to have a glass of Mezcal next to me, and then I can start, but before that I think that the beginning of the process is when I sleep, I’m always dreaming what I will paint the next day.
What are your tools of choice?
To paint I use achrylic, and to guide my lines I use a pipe, I smoke always some tabaco in my pipe when I paint, so the moving shapes that it creates, perform a dance with the strokes of my brushes.
Tell us about the colours on your palette and anything new you have been experimenting with.I’m based in the space that surrounds me, my studio is about to turn 490 years old this April, it’s one of the oldest houses in Mexico, and the walls are so full of history, when I pick my colors I get always inspiration from how my studio reflects the light. Also I’m moving to sculpture since last year, and the use of silver in my work is very important, as important as the gold leaf in my paintings, both to reflect as much light as posible.
When you create art, what sort of physical, spiritual, mental or geographical place do you have to be in?I need to be in a place that can speak by itself, the most important part of creating is to be sensitive towards our surroundings. And it’s easy to find those places when time has passed, so an old house, and old building, specially the ones in ruins or that have suffered with history are the most inspiring to me.
What are the hardest things for you to get ‘right’?
The perspective of politics against my work, I always rise my voice though my paintings, but I also try to allow others to speak though it, specially because in my country there is a lot of people that live in hard situations.And some times politicians feel threatened by it, many of my murals have been erased by the new government of México, many of my pieces removed of museums, or banned from exhibiting, but I truly believe that I’m doing well if they feel so much pressure from my work.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Seeing the smile of people from so many diverse backgrounds when they recognize themselves in my pieces.I prefer always to have work in the streets that in galleries, I paint for people and I want them to always feel identified with my work.
Professionally, what do you aspire to ultimately achieve?
To take my country further trough Art, I want México to be recognized as the capital of culture of our times.
What makes a great artist?
Love for himself, not only an artist but a great person, you can only share what you already have, and Art will always be about them both, loving, and sharing a point of view. Passion defines the piece and the creator.
What advice would you give to emerging artists entering the art world?
The world needs more young people creating, we live in a crisis of identity, and only Art can help us develop as a society, making our differences more rich and tolerant. Art is the way to open a collective mind towards the future.
Esteban Fuertes De Maria is one of the contemporary artists that startup Millecent has taken under their wing. Millecent is an art consultancy that connects businesses with the best new artists worldwide to create meaningful, powerful and innovative collaborations through wall art, paintings, illustrations, installation, digital art and more.