Conoce al artista: Renato Chacón

Algunas veces lo que pareciera ser un muro es en realidad una entrada. Cuando las dificultades de la edad y la enfermedad dejaron a Matisse imposibilitado para trabajar con pintura y lienzos, él cambió a las tijeras y al papel, creando algunos de sus trabajos más reconocidos, en la última década de su vida. Cuando Frida Kahlo quedó confinada a estar en su cama por meses en adelante, ella pidió a sus padres que montaran un espejo en el dosel arriba de ella, así pintó una serie de auto-retratos que la definirían como artista. Y cuando Renato Chacón perdió temporalmente el uso de su mano útil, el descubrió que su voluntad para pintar trascendía el dolor, y de igual manera encontró una entrada.”

Flamboyan ©Renato Chacón

Flamboyan ©Renato Chacón

Renato Chacón se muestra como alguien que ha estado en la montaña, y a diferencia de la canción de U2, encontró lo que había estado buscando. Alto y delgado, aparentando menor edad que sus 51 años, su auto-profesada búsqueda de una vida en paz, parece haber rendido frutos. Su taller y su casa son un estudio en serenidad, fluyendo juntos como su pasión por la arquitectura y la pintura. Renato ha dibujado y pintado desde que era un niño e incluso aunque trabaja como arquitecto, la pintura se ha convertido en su vida. Al tiempo que él me lleva por su casa y jardín en el Centro Histórico de Mérida, me platica acerca de su vida, y su volver a dedicarse a la pintura.

¿De dónde eres y cómo fue que decidiste venir a Mérida?

Yo vengo de la Ciudad de México, viví ahí la mayor parte de mi vida. Fue donde estudié Arquitectura, me enamoré, me casé, y construí mi carrera como arquitecto. Cuando mi matrimonió terminó, pasé mucho tiempo reflexionando sobre qué era lo próximo que haría y comencé a recordar lo sueños que tenía cuando era joven. Vivir en Mérida era uno de esos sueños- vine aquí de paseo justo después de que me gradué como arquitecto y me gustó mucho la ciudad. El cambio es siempre un catalizador para más cambios, así que me mudé a Mérida, compré esta casa y comencé a hacerla un refugio propio. Fue aquí donde comencé a pintar seriamente de nuevo. Me enamoré una vez más, pero esta vez de la pintura, del color, con cómo el color me hace sentir.

“El color no nos fue dado para que imitáramos a la naturaleza. Se nos dio para que podamos expresar nuestras emociones”- Henri Matisse

¿Entonces dejaste de pintar por un tiempo?

Danza ©Renato Chacón

Danza ©Renato Chacón

Antes de que me volviera arquitecto viví durante un tiempo en Nueva York y en una galería de Washington vendieron todas mis pinturas. Desafortunadamente, olvidaron pagarme por ellas así que me desilusioné un poco con la idea de ser un artista. Regresé a la Ciudad de México y dejé de pintar durante 15 años casi por completo… estuve enfocado en otras cosas. Mudarme a Mérida me permitió simplificar mi vida y encontrar mi voz de nuevo como un pintor.

¿Crees que muchos arquitectos se vuelven artistas?

Playa ©Renato Chacón

Playa ©Renato Chacón

No estoy seguro, pero eso parece suceder en nuestra familia. Mi abuelo fue ambos, arquitecto y pintor; él amaba las acuarelas y se lo tomó muy en serio que incluso descuidó a su familia. Mi padre también es arquitecto y pintor pero quizá debido a su educación él decidió centrarse en lo primero. Yo estoy tratando de vivir una vida más balanceada- a pesar de que amo la disciplina de la Arquitectura, necesito la libertad que la pintura me da. La Arquitectura es una forma muy rígida de ver el mundo, con muchos parámetros, y mi pintura es la antítesis de eso.

“No estoy enferma. Estoy rota. Pero estoy feliz de estar viva mientras pueda pintar.” – Frida Kahlo

Y entonces… nosotros llegamos a la montaña. Tú tuviste un accidente que te dejó imposibilitado para pintar durante un tiempo ¿cómo has encontrado tu manera de recuperarte?

Por supuesto que me sentí mal al inicio, pero luego me sentí agradecido de haber tenido otra oportunidad en esto que llamamos vida. Pintar viene tanto del corazón como de la mano, y mi corazón es fuerte. Yo creo que de alguna manera es como un nuevo comienzo pero pienso que me estoy volviendo bueno en eso.

Una vez más, la Merida English Library será anfitriona de un tour por alrededor de 25 estudios de artistas nacionales e internacionales en Mérida. Este tour en el que tú eres tu propio guía, el Tour de Estudios de Arte, es una oportunidad única para conocer y platicar con artistas como Renato. Este evento se llevará a cabo el sábado 18 de febrero del 2017. Visita la Merida English Library  para más información sobre los artistas y detalles del tour.

Meet the Artist: Viviana Hinojosa

This interview was conducted in December 2014

“My friends think I’m crazy because I live alone with six cats”, laughs Viviana as she scoots them from my feet. “What will they say when I tell them I just rescued two kittens, only days old, that were dumped in a box on the sidewalk? Am I just to step over them? Now I am their mama and that is the way it is.”

Viviana in her studio ©Ric Kokotovich

Viviana in her studio ©Ric Kokotovich

This is how Viviana Hinojosa is—direct, strong, convicted, clearly compassionate, and as evidenced by the room I am standing in, a very talented painter.

We are at her home/studio for an interview and she immediately apologizes for the mess. All I see are canvasses—propped on chairs, the floor, on an easel. Next to her easel in the dining room is a giant square high top table literally covered in drawings. Viviana has been busy.

©Viviana Hinojosa

©Viviana Hinojosa

What do you love about being an artist?

I love the freedom it gives me and the different perspectives I get of the world, of reality, of everything around me. When I am drawing and painting I have to examine things in a different light, try new things if they aren’t working. By looking at things differently I broaden my preconceived ideas. Art has helped me to become less rigid.

How long have you been an artist?

I have been painting seriously for about 15 years now. I started with oil paint, which is my favorite medium, but then I experimented with acrylics. I recently started exploring drawing with charcoal. I’ve always drawn within the context of the painting, but over the last year I have created a distinct body of work that is purely charcoal and pencil. I am missing the colour!

What music do you listen to when you make art?

I find it difficult to concentrate if there are lyrics. I like medieval music a lot and I especially like Mozart.

Do you have a routine when you work?

I try to be disciplined with my hours. I usually work through the morning for 4-5 hours, have lunch and then I sleep in the afternoon. I am religious about my siesta! I work again from 6 to 10 or 11 pm. Usually.

Where were you born and why do you live in Merida?

©Viviana Hinojosa

©Viviana Hinojosa

I was born in Mexico City and lived in Puebla. I was tired of living in central Mexico and wanted a smaller city, close to the sea. Some acquaintances invited me to spend a month in Merida and I liked it very much and decided to move here. To live well in most big cities you have to have a full time job and a full time job means no painting. Merida allows me to have the lifestyle I have and is a very supportive community for artists.

What do you hope people experience when seeing your work?

©Viviana Hinojosa

©Viviana Hinojosa

Joy. Somebody told me once, “you make me laugh”, and it was the best comment for me. It’s true some of my new drawings, because they are in black and white, are dark and a bit creepy because they relate back to the stories I am drawing. But many of them have a sense of humour, even if it’s dark. Not everything has to be whimsical and joyful but I do like a sense of humour and I hope people experience that when they look at my work.

When did you know you were an artist? Was it a person or event that inspired you to paint?

I was always very imaginative. Although I was raised with a twin sister, I loved playing on my own and creating my own worlds. Fortunately my parents were always supportive and encouraging. When I decided to study literature, which I majored in, they said ‘Go for it’! It was then I decided not to have a normal life and I became a painter. (laughs)

So literature led to painting and then painting led back to literature?

©Viviana Hinojosa

©Viviana Hinojosa

I think my painting has a lot of links to literature. My painting and drawing has a very of narrative quality and my paintings are always telling a story. I’ve never been far away from literature and working with writers has been an awesome experience for me.

Do you have any exhibitions coming up?

We are presenting the Ephemera Project in January at Galeria La Eskalera. I have been collaborating over the past few months with Mexican writer Mina Polen, illustrating short stories, originally published as tweets. We are publishing a book and Mina has designed jewellry, some based on my drawings. I will also be on the 2015 Merida English Library Artist Studio Tour.

Who is your favorite artist, living or dead, and why?

Hieronymous Bosch. His images are so strange and fantastical. When I discovered him I was fascinated, and now I see links back to his art in everything I do.

©Viviana Hinojosa

©Viviana Hinojosa

If you could say one thing to people when they look at art, in a museum or a gallery or a studio, what would it be?

Enjoy it. Kind of like poetry, you don’t necessarily have to understand it. Just enjoy it for what it is.

http://vivianola.tumblr.com
Footnote: Despite a Herculean effort in Vivi’s part, the little kittens did not survive, but neither did they suffer.

Sins of a Blogger

Forgive me blogfather for I have sinned. It has been 45 days since my last post and in the world of blogging, that is apparently the deathknell. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say. Quite the contrary. I have too much to say, ergo, I’ve started thinking about taking this blogging thing seriously, once I get my shit together of course. I began by researching ‘How to Quit Screwing Around and Become a Real Blogger’. Plus I talked to some people who actually follow real blogs and let me tell you, I’ve been going at this all wrong.

It appears 45 days between posts is not my only sin. Oh no. I’m also too verbose, loquacious, voluble. People don’t like to read (I just read), but they love pictures. And lots of them. My blog titles are all wrong too. “Saving Mama Luna” really should have been titled “How Not to Drown in the Yucatan”. I’m also not linking to other blogs (rectified here thank god, so that’s one sin off my list). I haven’t yet digressed to Plagarizing Other Bloggers although I guess that could happen if I start blogging once a day. I kind of doubt it though. Chucking in one’s life and moving to a foreign country where they speak a foreign language and everything is foreign, is pretty ripe fodder for blogging, I figure.

I just have to find my focus amongst all this stimulation, wax poetically (with pictures of course), and hope that my metatags are in line with my chakras. 

Content suggestions welcome.

 P.S. I had no picture for this blog so here’s a piece of art I made instead 🙂

making art in Merida, hecho a mano

Getting in touch with my inner artist, inspired by living in Merida