In Raúl Lara’s pure, striking and distorted art pieces, he seeks to portray the multi-faceted nature of human beings; the sides we show to the others and the sides that are private to us, through various transference techniques. Combining figuration and abstraction, the contrasting, nude figures in his work represent the purity of what we are; the interior and the exterior in a beautiful, honest way.
The purity of what we are; the interior and the exterior; the contrasts between what we are and what we let others see
Tell us, who is Raúl Lara? How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I am a painter from Seville who tries to be the best person I can. As an artist I would say that I am a worker, although sometimes it is difficult for me to start working. I would say I am constant yet dispersed, determined yet insecure. I don’t know, like my work I suppose, I am a mixture of opposite things.
You have described your work as portraying two worlds: abstraction and figuration through contrasting images. How do these worlds appear in your work?
My work embraces two worlds; for quite some time I have worked on figuration and abstraction simultaneously. Beyond that through focusing on figuration there is a contrast in the images, both in the texture, the colour or the technique used to represent them. I try to represent what we are in contrast to what others see, and in comparison to how we know ourselves.
What does the action of layering and transferring images represent to you? Does this relate to your concept of “the skin of my work”?
When I talk about “the skin of my work” I refer to the textures created on the canvas by the products I use for the transfers, this texture has also been used as a base for my abstract painting which has served as a link between both. With this superimposition of images I try to show different realities of the same person; it’s like showing the “me” that is seen but also the hidden one, the “me” that we carry inside and that we don’t always show to others.
What draws you to capture the female form, and focus on the nude?
Well, what I try to represent with my paintings is the purity of what we are; the interior and the exterior; the contrasts between what we are and what we let others see; our weaknesses, our fears and our insecurities, etc. But also our strength, our certainties or our determination, that purer whole that each of us are and I can’t think of anything better to express it than the woman from whom life is born, and in a naked way, without adornments or compliments, just as we are.
What I would like most is to get to know the world and its people through my work
What and who have been inspirations for your work?
My inspiration comes from many things; I like to pay attention to what surrounds me and try to look beyond. When I see someone I often wonder what is behind that person in that moment, what are they feeling etc. On a formal level painters like Caravaggio or Velazquez are inspiring to me among many other great artists.
How have things been for you as an artist amidst the Covid-19 outbreak?
Here in Seville, the situation at a health level is not as serious as in other parts of Spain but the level of stress and worry is also very high and it is difficult to create in such an enormous period of destruction. Personally, I continue to paint at home, although due to mobility restrictions I am not able to finish the works because I cannot print the images for the transfers and other inconveniences. Everything has become a little more complicated, but I try to be positive and hope that things can continue as soon as possible.
For the emerging artists out there or those looking to venture into art, what advice do you have for them?
That they work – that they work a lot. This profession is very nice but it is very hard, you have to work to find your own personality and then develop it. The good thing is that these days thanks to the internet and social media, it is easy to show your work to the world. There are also a lot of online galleries to eventually sell your work to and start living as an artist, but first is work. As Picasso said “let inspiration come to me by working”.
I try to show different realities of the same person; it’s like showing the “me” that is seen but also the hidden one
What are your hopes and dreams as an artist…
Well, what I would like most is to get to know the world and its people through my work. I would love for my paintings to reach more people and to be exhibited in different parts of the world. I would also like to inspire other people to create more art, not only in the form of painting – I have discovered people who have written poetry inspired in my work, which is great! Art creates more art.
What have you got coming up that we can look out for?
Right now everything is very much at a standstill in terms of events. In principle we have a workshop postponed for the end of June which should have been in March and I am due to have a solo exhibition with the gallery that represents me in London but that is still undated. Let’s hope that activities can be resumed as soon as possible, we’ll see.
To view of Raúl’s work: