My name is Armando Mesías, I'm a visual artist focusing on abstract painting and drawing. I was born in Cali, Colombia, 35 years ago, and have since moved around and lived in Bogotá, London, Barcelona, and am currently based in Madrid. I live with my wife, Natalia, who is also from Cali, who also happens to be in the creative and arts industries. I believe in painting and arts as a means to explore the inner and less conscious self, to propose questions and to establish a dialogue around their (hopefully) universal nature and current relevance.
PIECE WITH ARTIST
JAN 11, 2021. MADRID. SPAIN.
Tell us your story, how did you come to painting? I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. What started as playful exploration later became technical and aesthetic curiosity. Eventually it evolved into a viable career path and sort of came around full circle to become a means of exploration in materials, topics and ideas. I did design as my bachelor, worked for a number of years in illustration, went on to do my MA in London and then classical training in Barcelona for a couple of years. All of that sort of comes together in my work right now.
How would you define your current painting?
Although it is mostly abstract, I emphasize on the use of line drawing and typography to create a more cryptic impression, which may open up more questions to the viewer. I work mostly in large format, and rely heavily on the use of non-traditional materials (household solvents and paints, coffee, dirt, vegetable oil, found fabrics, etc.) and the natural decay of materials and marks created in the studio environment.
Tell us about your style and technique. Any secret that can be told? I try to create a state of flow or automatic action in which conscious decision-making fades to a minimum, and I'm able to come up with unexpected steps of the process and outcomes. It takes a lot of work and awareness to actually reach that point. I've discovered that podcast, audiobooks or studio visits work very well in order to keep that conscious part distracted and let the unconscious mind get to work.
How do you usually start your paintings? With a sketch, a draft or is it just an improvisation?
I very rarely do any sketches. I like to have starting points, but no discernible end goal. That becomes clear during the process, and changes constantly. I usually drop the fabric on the studio floor and wait until something interesting happens while I'm working on something else. I try to take it from there.
What are your motivation forces? And the artists who have been and are an influence for you? That's always a hard question to answer, as influences and inspiration come and go constantly. I think most of what remains intact for me is the influence of abstract expressionism, pop art and visual culture in general, minimalism, romanticism, philosophy and graphic design. I feel like it's really important to keep these influences flowing and I try to be very mindful of what they mean to you. I also try to keep a dialogue with my process over the years and incorporate elements from past stages of my work and life.
What can you tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?
I always envisioned my studio as a place to hang out, to get work done, but also just to get comfortable being bored. A lot of what I could call inspiration comes from boredom. Just sitting around exploring materials and techniques without any particular goal. I really like to have people over for a coffee or a drink or to chat and listen to music. I see it as a part of my work in and of itself, a journal for ideas, marks and experiences. I feel, as time passes, it gets more and more loaded with memories and moments that enrichen the work.
What is art for you?
For me art is the means of communication about everything which language and logic fall short.