'' I am convinced that women are the center of the universe, the pillars of society and the greatest strength we have, they are simply my greatest inspiration."
Through the means of painting and modern mosaic, the artist José Cacho attempts to explore the beauty and complexity of contemporary Mexican art, with focus on the feminine. As the artist himself reveals in the interview with ArtRootz, the woman is at the center of his creative process, revealing the complexity of her soul, her aspirations in total harmony with the Universe. It is an interesting and colourful play between nature and the human soul, that one that emerges in all of his artworks. Read below the full interview with José Cacho and find out more about his artistic process, what draws his inspiration and about his vision on contemporary art!
➡ We would like to know a bit more about you as a person. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? Were you already interested in painting and fine art at a young age?
I was born in Mexico City, my mother was a psychologist and my father an engineer. From a very young age I began to draw, when I was 10 I made my first works in watercolour, my school notebooks were my best canvas. My parents always stimulated my interest in art and since then it has been a fundamental activity in my life.
➡ What would you say about the actual art environment in Mexico and how did you experience it while studying art and once you built up as an artist?
Art in Mexico is the result of the cultural mix derived from the combination of visions of native communities and immigrants, which gives it enormous wealth in every way. Art is currently in a process of development; even when there are hundreds of artists with great proposals, most galleries only promote established artists, which makes it difficult for emerging artists to develop.
I have never formally studied art, all my learning has been informal and self-taught. My development and growth as an artist has been based on exploration and direct promotion; since the beginning of the use of social networks my work has achieved a greater reach in many countries.
➡ Did you ever have the kind of life-changing moment that determined you to do what you do? What else motivated you to become an artist?
As for my artistic side, I cannot find a moment that has determined a change, since I was very young I have felt that art is a part of my life and I have never doubted it. Being an artist is an intrinsic part of me.
➡ Could you describe your artworks in 3 words? And please motivate your choice of the words.
If I have to use three words to describe my current period as an artist, the first is undoubtedly "WOMAN", I am convinced that women are the center of the universe, the pillars of society and the greatest strength we have, they are simply my greatest inspiration. The second word is "CONTRAST", both in the aesthetic presentation and in the meaning, my work is based on the contrasts of color, shape, complexity and texture. Finally these concepts are complemented by the "MEANING", unlike many artists who consider that searching for a meaning is not the artist's job, I love doing it, usually I find it when the work is very advanced or definitely finished.
➡ Your painting style can be considered quite spectacular, it brings to mind Gustav Klimt’s technique. You tend to focus on female figures, displaying strong emotions while playing a lot with mosaic that enriches the final artwork. What do you think distinguishes your work from other artists? What makes it unique?
Without doing it consciously, the influence of artists as contrasting as Gustav Klimt, Rafael Cauduro and Banksy began to enrich my work and my style a few years ago. I find enormous satisfaction in combining the complexity of the intricate mosaics with the monochrome tones in a stencil style on the skin of my characters and in many cases with the embossed texture of metallic appearance and deterioration that stands for the backgrounds of much of my work. I've never really thought about doing a unique work, I think everything is connected and when you think you have invented something it turns out that it already exists or has existed somewhere in the universe. I simply mix the ideas that satisfy me the most in aesthetic terms and end up having great meaning for me.
➡ Which artists inspired you the most? Any type of music that inspires you?
The influence of Gustav Klimt on the use of mosaics and golden tones is evident to anyone who sees my work. Without being clear, I started using mosaics largely due to the ancestral influence of my grandparents, of Portuguese and French origin, their house was always decorated with the traditional mosaics of Lisbon and Porto, that undoubtedly generated an influence on my style. On the other hand, my favourite and most admired Mexican artist is Rafael Cauduro. After a visit I made to his house - workshop, I began to bring the idea of deterioration, of the passage of time, to the background of my work. Additionally, my fascination with Banksy's ability to simplify complex ideas in the application of stencils has added to my style.
Music is always present while I work, all kinds of music are a constant companion in my studio.
➡ Do you have any secrets to a successful creative process, any rituals?
From my point of view the key to success is constant work, I don't believe in the concept of waiting for inspiration to start working, I just start working every day with discipline and passion. Of course there are days when things go better than others, as with any other activity in life. A fundamental part of my creative process consists of investigating, reading, seeing, trying, daring to do new and different things.
In any case, my ritual is to get up early, exercise, have breakfast and start working for 10 or 12 hours each day. Every time I have the opportunity I also visit museums and galleries in different parts of the world.
➡ People often say that a mixture of talent, luck and perseverance leads to long-lasting success. Which factors do you believe to have had a big impact and contribution in
your case? Did you ever question your path to success as an artist?
I believe that to be successful as an artist it is necessary to diversify your vision, there are many artists who have high quality work and dedicate all their time to production but do not attend to promotion, commercialising, relations, access to the market. When the objective is to live from art, it is very difficult to succeed if you do not work both inwards and outwards.
In my experience, the use of social networks has broken the barrier that prevented the general public from having access to the work of thousands of artists. I think that emerging artists must understand it and take advantage of its use. On the other hand, traditional galleries have to be reinvented, they are no longer the only way to promote artists.
Every day I question the path I am following as an artist, this leads me to reflection and gratitude and allows me to enjoy my work and constantly grow.
➡ Where do you draw your inspiration from? Any places, people or cities that inspire you?
Throughout my life I have found inspiration in practically anything and at any time; when you keep all your senses awake you can find a new idea in an image you see on the street, in a newspaper, a magazine, in talking with someone, in visiting a museum, everything I see and hear can be a source of inspiration. A practice that I have developed for some time is to relax the mind before sleeping, the ideas before and during sleep are also a rich source of inspiration for me. But undoubtedly the biggest inspiration comes while I'm working.
➡ What materials do you prefer to work with?
The materials I use the most are paints, inks and acrylic media, canvas and paper, however I really enjoy experimenting with other media, I also work with metal, plexiglass, mirror, glass and resins among many other materials.
I have recently developed a technique that I call DeepArt, which consists of working in several layers of epoxy resin with different materials to achieve three-dimensional works with a transparency and depth that cannot be achieved with other materials.
➡ The kind of technique you use is impressive. We are big fans of your creations and the elements you use, the mixed media paintings. Really makes someone lose himself in the artworks. How did you manage to master this technique? Are there still things you would like to learn or improve?
One of my disadvantages, not having formally studied art or any technique in any school, has become my greatest advantage: all my techniques have been the product of experimentation with materials and ideas that are not used traditionally as far as I know. .
I consider myself a curious person who likes to constantly look for new things, I get bored quickly by doing the known, the traditional, I think that is my greatest strength. The improvement of the techniques that I have developed are the result of insisting despite the failures, many things have gone wrong, I have wasted a lot of material. In the use of new materials you never stop learning, the key has been to never be afraid to do and try new things. I am convinced that I still have a lot to learn and discover.
➡ Would you say that, as a visual artist, it is necessary to have a particular trademark or a unique style?
The most important thing for me as an artist is constant experimentation, the development of my own style is a consequence that is found over time. Except in exceptional cases, the meeting of personal style is not achieved in a single step, it is a process that requires patience, vision, a lot of work and keeping yourself open to lifelong learning. I do not think that achieving a single style is essential for all artists, although it is not what I do; there are many artists who enjoy following a style or trend in groups and workshops to which they belong for a long time and in which they share ideas and styles (and are very successful). I think this is just as valid as the individual search for style.
I prefer to work on my own, although I respect the idea of those who do it, I have never attended any class or any art workshop, I think that my solitude during the creative process is a strength, I cannot bear anyone else, I have what to do by myself and this is something that I really enjoy.
➡ Do your creations convey a particular message? Or is your work open for interpretation? How important is, in your view, for art to create debates, questions, mixed feelings..?
Many years ago, when I started to work formally as an artist, I was convinced that everyone should interpret my work, I refused to share my own reading, but now this position has changed, now I share my own interpretation with each work, in fact I include it in my certificates of authenticity that accompany each of my works. At the same time, I love that people develop their own interpretation and share it with me, I believe that this interactive vision offers a very enriching dimension and feeds me in the creative process.
➡ How do you think you have developed yourself as an artist in the past years?
I feel that the most recent years have been the best in my artistic career. I have learned to develop curiosity to dare to experiment, to lose the fear of failure, to understand that everything around me can be part of my creative process. Discipline in daily work has been my best ally, I have learned not to wait for inspiration to arrive but to attract it while I am creating. I am also convinced that the best is yet to come, I am a believer in continuous development.
➡ What can we expect from Jose Cacho in the near future? What would be the ultimate achievement for you?
What can be expected of me is the development of new ideas, concepts and techniques. People may like it or not, be successful or not, but I will not stop proposing, not because of a commitment, but because it is what I enjoy the most. I hope that my last achievement will be on the last day of my life.
Exclusive prints and original artworks from José Cacho, for sale on Artrootz website. Stay tuned!