A Cut Above with Joaquin Regalado

A Cut Above with Joaquin Regalado

March 27, 2018

Joaquin Regalado is more than just an artist, he is an acclaimed hairstylist, inventor, educator and a seeker of deeper meaning in the faces of those around him. As a hairstylist his role is about bringing out the best in a persons features, however, as an artist he strives to understand what those same features are really telling us. 

"I want to keep the first traces of my pen and not be lost over layers and layers of oil or acrylic painting"

Joaquin Regalado was born in Mexico City and grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, today he is a resident of Southern California. Regalado went to art school in 1984, where he learnt the basic techniques of sketching and painting. Regalado has always admired the great Mexican artist Frida Kalho, Diego Rivera , Rufino Tamayo and Sergio Bustamante.

Artist Joaquin Regalado

Regalado's inspiration has always been to follow surrealistic and figurative art. Joaquin used his sketching knowledge and practice as a unique technique to discover the visual perspective of hair-cutting  and later created the book of 'The Art of Hair-cutting Diagramming'. Today Regalado keeps creating sketches, with his unique perspective of people, using only ink and acrylic on paper.

What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

I was 17 years old when I found that I could draw, it was then that I realised this could be the best way to show my emotions, whilst also being a great way to communicate anything I feel.

How would you describe your own personal style?

Figurative or Surrealistic.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

I like sketching because it's the beginning of a painting, sketching only faces or people can bring forward so many feelings and emotions. In the future I can see my art moving in a more classical / traditional manner. Focused on anatomy but with splashes of colours / colourful geometric shapes bringing together a combination of both classical and contemporary art.

"Mother", Joaquin Regalado, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 2015


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

People and life ....... life it's everything .... it's here, it's this moment .... I think it is amazing to share this time, this moment with other people it's very amazing. Humans are pretty amazing but we can be extremely stupid by creating wars or conflicts .... in my sketches I want show people to enjoy LIFE at this moment and to care for others.

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

Every single person is an inspiration, because each one is having their own journey - they are all survivors in time. When it comes to artists the following spring to mind - Mark Chagal, Mozart, Miguel Bose , The impressionist , Picasso,  Rufino Tamayo ,Fruda Kalho 

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I like ink, acrylic and paper for the most part but I like to use wood panel and acrylics. I can work in oils but it takes forever to dry.

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

Portraiture .... I like facial expressions. Facial expressions can showcase your emotions and reveal your mental state. A lot can be read from a persons face in any given moment. 

"Lady", Joaquin Regalado, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 2016


Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

Sometimes it is very random, I can start sketching a face and visualise a facial expression and then try to connect with that mental state in order to create a unique individual in my work. Sometimes a picture inspires me to go deeper into that facial expression, striving to capture that unique moment in time 

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

Well, by profession I'm a Hair Stylist and I also teach hair education. Sketching has helped open a new door in hair education, because I make sketches in a 3D perspective to help create blueprints for haircuts. People need to see a haircut as if creating a cathedral.

On a daily basis we create designs / blue prints like an architect or engineer. When cutting hair we use angles and mechanics ... this process is exactly the same process as when it comes to building any structure. So, I work everyday creating blue prints for hair, using sketching techniques with / ink acrylic on paper then when I get home I create my own art only concentrating on one piece at a time.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today

A few years ago i had a personal loss and it opened my mind to see how nothing really matters in life other than really taking care of other people in your world, so my sketches are an expression to the world. Mental health is a big issue in the modern world - now I'm learning how the brain works and why people act in the way they do because of various mental conditions. My art is about that, it's about seeing a facial expression and penetrating into someones personal live for a brief moment of their experience. That is why I don't want to have any other element or composition in my artworks, no distractions, just a person ... a face.

"Untitled", Joaquin Regalado, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 2016


Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

Not really .... I like to see other people's work but I'm generally not curious about learning about the artist ... I want engage with the artwork as a unique creation.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

The Renaissance, back then artists knew about design, engineering, mathematics, really building their art. They also studied sacred geometry and combined all this knowledge into their work to create amazing artworks. I have a presentation I do from time to time called 'THE MISSING LINK' and I talk about how us, as artists, are missing an understanding of design, science, mathematics and techniques.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

Printing & technology .... nowadays anybody can print out any image they want, making art very difficult to sell. Only a few people know the value of having an original artwork hanging in their home or office. 

The big problem with art it's call Marketing and education. We need to educate people and help them understand the real value of art, it's sad to see prints hanging on walls, these should be original pieces created by the artists. 

What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Be yourself  and use any media you want .... break the rules and paint anything you want in any material, object etc 

"Make Up", Joaquin Regalado, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 2016


Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is their another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

Surrealism - I like the classic sketches and personal life / world that exists inside surrealist artworks. 

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

That is the brilliance of art, sometimes an unfinished piece can be beautiful. My philosophy is very simple ... it's not about the finished goal ... it's about the process ... meaning every time you use your brush, every line, it has to be perfect at that time, in that moment ... the art work calls you and says 'this is it'

I have a few artworks that look unfinished but in that moment the call came and 'this is it ...no more' and I enjoy them. Sometimes less is more.

Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

My art is about people, that's it, my personal expression, people see my art with their own perspective and receive a unique message. Some artists want to have a mission to send a message and some don't care. My message is live the moment, care about others, learn about how the brain works to understand and tolerate others. .   

"Intellectual Conversation", Joaquin Regalado, Ink & Acrylic, 2016


What are you working on at the moment?

I am continuing to make sketches but I think my style is changing to a more classical human anatomy based format. 

When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

Recently I have been so busy teaching the 'Art of Hair Diagramming' and the science behind hair engineering, that I don't have any immediate plans to have art shows. However, now that I have a hair salon in an art district in California I'm thinking about showing my art during the Art Festival in this community, plus once a month they have art walk where I'm planning to show my art every month. I had many invitations to art exhibitions / festivals, but for the moment there is nothing written in stone regarding upcoming exhibitions but I will keep you informed if that changes. 

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