Jose Higuera is a Spanish realist painter, who was born in 1966. From an early age he showed a defined interest in drawing and painting, being this a tendency noticed by his school teachers. Encouraged by his teachers and his family, Jose was provided of the needed material to pursue his artistic talent resulting in the fact that at the age of ten years he had already produced his first oil painting. His grandmother decides to put him under the tuition of local artists to initiate him in the knowledge of some techniques of this art and start him painting mainly landscapes; although it should be noted that José is basically a self-taught artist with the inevitable influences of the creative movements that he develops with his own style being realism the basis of all his work.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I suppose that in my case, it was a process from a very young age, painting and drawing was something natural for me every day that I could. I do not remember a specific moment in which I decided to turn this into a profession, it was always my hobby and still is.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I am deeply attracted to reality. The struggle that one has to capture a moment of reality on a canvas. Its atmosphere, its light. As for the style, I try to be loose, not licked in the brushstroke, there is a point of focus, while the rest can be secondary, so look at our eyes.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
It is very likely that the most current and figurative Spanish painting has much to do, it seems to me the most interesting thing that is done today, Antonio López's vision is the maximum expression of Vanguard.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
It is often an idea, a message to be transmitted. That brings me to the studio, the easel is more complicated, I have to process the initial idea until I have it very clear, only then do I start drawing.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
At first, as a child, my family is clear. My mother always gave me paintings and pencils. But it was my grandmother who most encouraged me to make this my profession.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
My methods are very traditional. I have a good bunch of brushes, and used almost exclusively the primary colors, of these five or six I extract the rest.
I always paint on canvas, giving a preparation to it and in different sessions after drying between them.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Well, they are simply ideas and feelings that one wants to convey. I do not limit myself to deciding on something just based on its aesthetics, I always pretend that it has a message, reality is in my opinion the best language to transmit and communicate
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
The form is very simple, first the idea, what one wants to convey, then there is a process of maturation of it, until it is defined within. This process can be even longer and more tedious for me than the fact of painting the work. Once the decision is made, I choose a format on canvas, and start with the drawing, then the stains and a successive work based on sessions, only time tells me if I have succeeded in the process and if the work deserves to be finished.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?
My day starts when I wake up, there is no schedule or routine, I deeply hate the routine, it fits you into a methodology and dwarfs your world. When it comes to work, experience tells me that; To do something that is really worthwhile, it is necessary to paint when the time is appropriate. It is true that in my beginnings I painted 10 hours every day, this for many years.
Having done this allowed me to have a mastery of the profession that I now appreciate. I think that without perfect mastery of the tool, it is very complicated to be able to communicate through art. In these cases, extensive rhetoric is necessary to explain a work, and the work to speak for itself.
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?
It depends a lot on the moment of my life and the commitments. But I generally like to work on a single work until it is at a time that is quite close to what is being pursued. Then I can do another one simultaneously, as long as it is at the same point in the process, very advanced.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
I guess the question refers to the technique. The constant work over the years means that the acquired trade allows one to be able to carry out works whose complexity is increasing, without any reduction in quality. The maturity that one is taking personally means that his evolution as an artist also takes different directions.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
This question is very difficult to answer I suppose that for any artist, the works are different children and each one supposed different challenges at different moments of life.
No work satisfies me after a while. So I could answer that my favorite work is what I am working on, and will continue to be a few days after being finished, until I move on to the next one.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I deeply admire the work of Antonio López, his tenacity and his fight against time, that way of reality, to capture things devoid of beauty and transform them into an instant of time captured forever, loaded with nuances, atmospheres and a magnificent talent.
And the same can be said of Eduardo Naranjo, with his honest and imaginative painting, and with enormous talent as well. I think these two artists will go down in art history with capital letters and without any doubt.
I also love the work of Lita Cabellud, her huge faces and those magnificent cracked giants, their faces are capable of telling each other the story of her life as if it were a movie. Or Ricardo Sanz with his cleanliness in the colors, his magnificently arranged lights, and an enormous tenderness in his doing.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
The nineteenth-century Spanish painting seems to me to be one of the most important art periods, all the knowledge acquired over centuries is added in a period to give rise to works of an incredible size in terms of quality. I also believe that it is a period that has not been given the justice it deserves.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome
The main challenge of the artist of the 21st century is undoubtedly to stop being pigeonholed in a modernity often devoid of meaning and quality, I think that art is much more than that, but there are those who tried to tell us that this false modernity accompanied by Intentionally rhetorical was the future.
I do not think so, art is well above economic businesses and interests of complicated, empty and superficial mystics whose sole purpose is confusion and provocation as a path, and the most absurd explanations as an accompaniment to their journey.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
You cannot aspire to be an artist, it is or is not. If it is, and decides to choose this path as a profession, if you understand that art above all is a trade. I would tell you first, decide honestly towards yourself if you are an artist, if you have something to tell and talent to do it, and then if your answer is yes, fight for it until the end, never seek recognition of mystic charlatans, do it so that it fills the void that you have to have inside you, do it for yourself, and then share it with the public, and always, always, choose the public as the only supporter of your art and your talent, never let any guru " modern and contemporary "decide on you or your creation.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
Of course. Every time he contemplated a work done with talent I admire and envy him, there is no style that I like, I like them all, provided they are made with talent, with quality, with trade. Deeply repudiate the absence of talent in art, banality and superficiality with which some pretend to call themselves artists, when all their achievement is to do the stupid everywhere, using provocation and typecasting as all talent, with the only search of numerical approval in social networks, and of those who need a successful writer every time they have to explain a "work"
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?
As important as knowing how and when to start a work, is knowing when it is completely finished. It is necessary to know how to stop on time. It is not easy, how it is not easy to know when is the appropriate time to start it.
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?
I think that artists have an obligation to give their opinion on current issues that can affect us all. But I also believe that anyone has to do it, neutrality in some issues is intolerable.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on a cadre of cows, I think it is one of the animals that has contributed most to the development of humanity, and a basic pillar of the economy of my land.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
Never until now have I belonged to any such association.
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?
I have in mind not one but several, but I do not have any concretized since I have always thought that an exhibition is not an annual market to be carried out. I take my exhibitions very calmly and only when I have something new to tell, I consider one.