Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola

How did you get started doing what you do?
I have always been interested in artistic expression since I was born in a family with a love of letters: my father wrote folk songs, my mother wrote poems, and my two sisters are published authors. However, I am the only painter in the family. Luckily, I have always had unwavering support of my family. Motivation and enthusiasm are the most important things for children, and later in adulthood it is the need for expression and communicate the real “self” through art – these are the two most important factors in the life of an artist every day.

Art has always had a presence in my life. I have been painting and drawing since I was a child. I was 7 when I saw in a language textbook an image that marked me for life: it was a painting by Roberto Matta. I still remember how I sat at my school desk as a child, completely astonished by the colors and shapes. However, it wasn’t until my adolescent years (at 13) that I began to participate in painting workshops at the Museum and Archives of Carmen under the tutelage of professor Juan José González. I started with portraits, landscapes among other things, but it wasn’t long until I invented my own style. I was known for breaking the rules (in fact I don’t follow any) and I began to paint my own inner worlds, my own self. Later I joined, in Carmelo, an artistic group called “De la Vuelta”, created by Maximiliano Garcia (Salvador Biko) and Alvaro Acuña. We put on shows of all kind: movie screening, juggling, circus, rock recitals, painting and sculpture exhibitions, and all kinds of social events… those were wonderful moments that shaped my artistic identity in my teenage years.

Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola

How would you describe your creative style?
I hope the viewer can enter my dreamy world of ethereal, weightless landscapes and leave behind their everyday existence even for just a while; I want to convey positive vibes through the colors and shapes I use and the love and kindness embedded in every stroke but above all, to show a world a endless possibilities and give a glimpse of the divine spark, inspiring the viewer to create, to make something out of the most beautiful and sacred part of human existence.

I would define my work as a manifestation of self, an extension of my spirit or subconsciousness, which is still beyond my grasp and lies at the deepest sphere of pure self. In particular, I try to minimize intellectual inclinations when I create to prevent the ego, the fictitious self from intervening, and hence my works are the most loyal reflections of who I am (dreamer, fantasy-prone, sensitive, sexual and a bit dark and gloomy sometimes) and my work is who I am.

My works feature images of imaginary landscapes, empty or inhabited by unknown beings – landscapes that externalize a constant inner struggle of being human, that visualizes conflict between good and evil, between light and darkness… hence, the best way to describe my work is – landscapes inhabited by my own self, where a step forward is eternal light and a step backwards is total darkness.

In reality, my work refrains from saying too much: it was never my idea to talk about politics or social matters in my work. More than anything, my paintings are an invitation to enter the world of dreams, where the viewer can escape from the mundane for a few moments – like some kind of hallucinogen – being in there and being as oneself, and see things in a different way. This is why I have chosen an abstract approach which provides such resources. I am convinced that these images exist somewhere in the universe, and that I have seen them in the many previous lives I have lived as a particle of cosmic dust and am now only re-creating these worlds, never before seen by others, with luxurious details and narratives.
Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola

What’s your inspiration?
It is important to understand the responsibilities we have as artists in the society. I happen to think that it is extremely important: I am interested in helping, contributing, building, promoting and above all, educating – by which I mean teaching and showing artistic language to youth and letting them know that art can free them, guide them in their self-expression, develop faith in themselves… which is why it is important for them to do art. This is also why I always motivate people to paint, sculpt or write regardless of their profession – it is so that they can exit their routines and secure boredom.

However, we must be clear on the most important role of artists in society, which is to contribute with our artworks to future generations. We must be aware of the power we have in our hands to influence and change certain aspects of art, culture and society. In my case, my works can be thought of as futuristic, which is why they are not quite understood by society currently nor quite accepted by the contemporary art scene. I am not discouraged, however, because many artists have a future-oriented spiritual vision in their art, with a sublime and universal message.

Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola
What is art to you?
Art is a constant in my daily life. I follow certain rituals and routines (not every day, but when I create). Besides painting, drawing, I also spread my artwork through social networks and connect with the international art scene as well as promoters in the UK, the US and Asia.

I have been exhibiting since 15, and every year that goes by is a step forward in life and in art: I think art, imagine art, eat and drink art, even dream art. It is an obsession that grows with more art.

To answer the question more precisely, the role of art in daily life is to educate and to demonstrate my existence (as my artwork exists, in which I am manifest). The most beautiful legacy any artist can leave is not only their artwork, but also their philosophy and outlook on life for many generations to come. Therefore, art is an inexhaustible fuel that feeds the fire of culture.
Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola

What does your typical day look like?
I have never gone to art school – I am mostly self-taught, which is why I have a free-spirited approach in my work. When creating a new painting, I focus on freedom, fluidity, and movements… I do a dance before I paint – I usually do some kind of rituals before I create, and I usually paint after 2pm; my other ritual is listening to music to develop an approach to a new work – it can be ambient music (such as Kitaro) and lately I’ve also been listening to electronic music, sci-fi movies and video game soundtracks to get myself in the mood of creating fantastical pieces – if music be the food of imagination! Recently I’ve also been creating series of painting, and also mini series within series to manage my creative anxiety, and results of these have formed “Mundos acuáticos” (underwater worlds), “Essentia” (essence) within the series of “La Nada en el Vacio” (Nothing in the Void). My style can be characterized as “action paint”, but I also experiment with other styles such as deformism and surrealism, using pastel, charcoal, ink, oil painting techniques – such as can seen in the series “Retratos Deformistas” (Portraits, deformed), of human faces in 2004, and “Dark and Black” created last year.

Mantra, oil on canvas, 2014, 100cm x 70cm, contemporary abstract art, Mauricio Paz Viola.-DSC_5490

How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
One of the most important cultural influences in my work is the Uruguayan carnival – the longest in the world and with two predominant influences – Murga from Spain and Candombe from Africa. The carnival (especially the murga) is a colourful, vibrant and joyful occasion, further enhanced by the surreal and dramatic costumes outfits. I think the carnival culture has been an undercurrent in my work since young, inspiring me to create magical worlds from a Latin American point of view, with colours, rhythms, music and eroticism that are characteristic of Latin American life.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
Art is of utmost importance for the world: it is an instrument and an important form of human dialogue. Art is the cornerstone upon which culture is built, and throughout the history of art we see the most significant manifestations of being. Art has transformed, from political and social critique and voice of advocacy to a more universal, spiritual and cosmic expression. If we pay attention, we can see that art has gone back to focusing on its prehistoric roots, on abstract forms, on collective intuition more than reasoning. The artist who is best at revealing this development is Gerhard Richter, who has gone from a rational and academic approach to a more abstract, intuitive one that is at the same time more primitive and emotional. Picasso has also said that he painted like Goya when he was a child and then had spent most of his life learning to paint like a child again – to me, this is what new art is about – art of the new millennium, and it is my quest and what I hope to give. As a fully committed artist, I hope to help people learn about themselves and to grow spiritually through my art.
Work of 2014, oil on canvas, 40cm x 40cm, untitled contemporary abstract art, Mauricio Paz Viola,-DSC_6355

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I received was from Javier Gil, a Uruguayan artist and a friend of mine, as well as from Felipe Vilches Rubio, a great friend and an art critic. They have given me a lot in terms of motivation and contributed to my search of new styles. Javier taught me through his artist talks on how to deal with my own work and go into the depths of creation, sometimes even going as far as destroying the work… those were words of wisdom. My series “Essentia” and “Dark and Black” was born thanks to Felipe, as he suggested that I transpose “Nothing in the Void” onto paper, and the experimental process led to the creation of these two sub-series.

I have received plenty of advice as I enjoy listening to people. The worst I’ve got is that the art world is full of selfishness and jealousy. Humanity’s dark side seems magnified in the word world and the result is that much advice received through this channel is not constructive. The absolute worst I received was from a gallery owner who said that I should paint in red and blue because that is the hot trend right now. The person in question also said that if I don’t sell a work in a year I should paint on top of one and create a new painting. This is as if art is a money matter, is about pretty images, while I believe art to be something different.

Dreams, oil on canvas, 70cm x 100cm, 2014, contemporary abstract art, Mauricio Paz Viola-DSC_6994

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
First of all I would advise parents of artistically inclined children to motivate and encourage them, take them to art studios, buy them art supplies. And secondly, I’d tell teenagers that if they like art and believe that there is a path in art for them to participate in seminars, lectures, visit other artists and go to museums and galleries. But more than anything, I’d tell them to get formal training, and to refrain from the temptation of drugs and alcohol – there will be plenty of time to dabble in that later in life, just saying. (laughs)

To aspiring artists, especially ones whose families are against their career choice and the self-taught ones, I’d say to trust in their own capacities, their intuition, their higher self. Absorb everything museums and galleries have to offer, see other artists’ work, share their own work without feeling ashamed, because only time and talent will tell. Van Gogh could finish 3 paintings in a day and yet sold none in his life – so just go ahead and paint. One must be loyal to their heart and recognition will follow.
Interview with Painter, Mauricio Paz Viola

What’s your process like?
Through my paintings, I recreate dreamlike images, mixing abstract techniques, surrealism and so forth. My imagination has taken me to explore more than one style at a time. Throughout my artistic journey I have experimented with more than 10 different styles. As of now I am developing 5 styles in a parallel manner (different but interconnected in some way) in order to fully unleash my creative freedom, and keep my mind stimulated and entertained.

The most important thing in my work is to create worlds of fantasy that allow the viewer to temporary arise out of the mundane and transform them into creators who can enter these wondrous worlds beyond the reach of reality.

My work is a constant state of flow, reflecting a dynamic interaction between emotions, spirituality and physicality, superficiality and profundity to achieve a state of harmony through artistic expression.

Thus, every piece of my artwork is like mirror, reflecting the inner worlds of the viewer and memories of past lives, if you will. My paintings are a window into the great beyond, where the viewer is free to create and re-create images and shapes according to their emotions and past lives where they existed as a simple cosmic dust particle, and to reminisce and revive sensations through playing with light, colours, energy and vibration that resonate with the spectator.

Follow Mauricio Paz Viola on Facebook, and Tumblr.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s