Review of Javier Quinapanta's Art

Javier Quinapanta’s art is difficult to define. Windows into alternate worlds, his works give one the opportunity to dream awake as well as to come face to face with the nightmare of reality. Each painting is a separate endeavor, a universe complete on its own, in which reside distinct ideas and emotions, landscapes, figures and creatures. Quinapanta's surrealistic art fuses the organic structure of the human anatomy and the natural world directly with the mechanical, the geometrical and the architectural. The result is the expression of a fantasy world rendered with distinct precision, in which elements of reality meld with dreams.
Quinapanta does not do plans or preliminary sketches. His works take form naturally and spontaneously, conceived of and created in the moment. Quinapanta explains:

"I like to deliver myself into the imagination. The first idea when I paint is with a brute energy that densifies in the process. Day by day I begin to understand, the veils falling, and I can make out the clearest idea, because it is starting to become concrete. Line transforms into figure, the colours into volume, the cuts into ravines, and I begin to create my microworld, because I begin to live in it. While I paint, everything disappears. For a few hours, the only thing that exists is the canvas and its orbit. I believe the only way I know how to paint spontaneously is to lose myself in a moment. I find myself when the painting is finished."This organic method of creation seems directly at odds with his works, which appear painstakingly realised in minute detail and ultimate precision. "I like to work like the classics, the old masters, not in the technique, but with the patience and the passion," explains Quinapanta. "For a run-of-the-mill person, who doesn't understand anything about art, what they will see reflected in my art is strength and work and detail. It's visible that there is a lot of dedication."

Quinapanta works with a diverse range of materials, and likes to have many available from which he can choose, but does not believe they are necessary to create a moment of inspiration.
"I don’t follow the parameters of a plan. Day by day I have constructed my works with the material that I had available, which often was not very much. Everything that I see is an option for me. My particular vision is to see things beyond functionality. Automatically, my mind gives movement to inert things. I like to improvise and try to get to know the essence of the materials and, in this way, I can mutate them and change them into something else. I like natural materials like stone and wood as well as working with materials that others might consider rubbish and have discarded, recycling them and turning them into something different and beautiful. It’s like finding many pieces of a puzzle and fitting them together, giving them meaning." Old bicycle chains, spoons, computer parts, animal bones, coins, scrap metal, discarded children’s toys and bits of plumbing have all been utilised in his collection, transformed into something completely different. As well as more traditional artists’ techniques and mediums such as oil, acrylic and etching, another material favoured by Quinapanta is, surprisingly, the humble ballpoint pen. A Bic is something that everyone has at their disposal and this serves to highlight the fact that it doesn’t matter what material you use, but what you do with it. Says Quinapanta, "the thing that I love most about working with pen is the speed. I can make sweeping strokes or miniscule details. I must work with certainty because it is not possible to erase or rectify a line once drawn. When I was little, I liked pens a lot. It was a luxury to have pens in my family and even now when I have a box with all of the colours, I feel like a child again. Maybe it is the way in which I connect with my childhood."

It is this childlike awe that plays itself out in the essence of the artist’s work, translated into symbols, figures and forms. "My emotion transforms into a volcano, my sadness into an octopus, my joy into a tiny being, patience into millions of labyrinths, into geometry, my doubts into mist, into pastel colours. My love too, the love for life itself, transforms into strong colours. When I look at those immense volcanoes, I feel the power of life. When I look at the sea, I see the infinite ignorance that I have and when, from time to time I have the bravery to look at the sky and feel worthy to have eyes to see it, I feel committed to life."

This profound internal process is externalised in a way that all humanity can identify with, expressing fundamental human truths. Seemingly opposing concepts coincide harmoniously in Quinapanta’s work, showing two sides of the same coin simultaneously. Construction and destruction, the natural and the man-made, logic and madness, life-force and death, innocence and horror, violence and tenderness, the modern and the ancient, freedom and entrapment, complexity and simplicity all interact with one another and are unified in contrast. As Quinapanta remarks, "these are the most basic principles of existence – the instinct of a living being. When there is already so much pain, I would prefer to give people a little beauty, an opportunity to dream awake. But the human being also has a dark part and I like to elaborate on every corner that my mind permits me to. I like to enter deeply because it is the only way to see images in a distinct aesthetic. They are facets that everyone experiences in life. I’m not painting things that don’t exist."

Quinapanta believes that art should be able to locate and find answers to the unknown things that from time to time drown one. He would like people to approach his art without so many prerequisites or intelligent explanations, and to simply enjoy a tangible, palpable dream, discarding our intrinsic fear of losing ourselves. "My art is for those who can feel fear without feeling ashamed, for those that want to scream, without being afraid to be heard, for people who want to forget about adult responsibilities and simply enjoy like a child. My art is for making concepts uncomfortable and inconveniencing ideologies. My art wants to provide a window through which to distract oneself from reality."

"Perhaps," concludes Quinapanta, "I simply want to create a small piece of poetry and translate it into graphics."

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