GUILLERMO MARTÍ CEBALLOS
"A WORK OF ART IS NOT GREATER OR SMALLER DUE TO ITS DIMENSIONS, BUT DUE TO ITS CONTENT."
Guillermo Martí Ceballos was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1958. His contact with art was initiated by family inheritance. Through the house of his paternal grandfather, antiquarian and poet, the atmosphere of the art gallery, the antiquities and the contact with artists and unique characters permeated in his blood the passion for art. Without a doubt, the influence of his father, Oriol Martí Valls (1925-2006), also a painter, was another reason why art marked the essence of his life from the very beginning. He recalls with nostalgia how in his childhood, his father - landscape painter of impressionist tendency- dedicated his free time to making orders of copies of old paintings. This memory was engraved in his being, instilling a desire to become an artist. Later on, he also remembers his time in the art gallery of which his father was a director and in which young Guillermo helped with the various tasks involved in the exhibitions, more contact with artists and more contagion in what would become his destiny. A delay in his destiny and advised by the good intentions of his parents to embark on a career of profit, he studied law, but this lasted a little over a year until he was called to do military service. Upon his return, after 14 months of what he considered "captivity", he decided to abandon this "career of profit" that by innate logic did not satisfy him in any way.
He then studied graphic design and drawing at the Massana School in Barcelona. A profession that although it was not properly Fine Arts, had a certain relation with the colors, the illustration, composition, and ultimately, with artistic creation. During some years he alternated his facet of graphic designer and illustrator with painting and later became part of the Cercle Artístic de Sant LLuc. There he made numerous studies of the natural and nude female. Later, he entered the Boter-Santaló school, consolidating his academic training.
Since 1996, he regularly exhibits his work in different galleries in Spain and France. His work is also distributed in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Russia, Mexico, and the USA. He has also participated in various art fairs (FAIM- Madrid / National Exhibition Center ADNEC - Arab Emirates / MAG'10 Montreux / Switzerland). Some of his works are covered in different publications and books. Recently he has published a monographic book about his work "The emotion of color". He has a blog of his own, "The emotion of art", where he writes his ideas, criticisms and artistic perceptions (especially current art) and tries to convey his way of conceiving and enjoying art.
"Painting should be like music that nobody dares to explain, it simply has to please or excite us."
Guillermo Martí Ceballos's work evolved towards Cloisonnism, a style which suited him in his quest to express the essence of the objects in his art. In our day to day, we do not consider how color affects our daily life, but when we see Guillermo’s pads stimulate the visual appetite through its strong colors, thus impacting the emotion in our minds and evoking all kinds of emotions in a different way. His figuration is reshaped by his own point of view of feelings rather than realities, which transports the viewer to participate in the created universe of Guillermo Martí Ceballos's authentic personality and onto his work.
Q. Do you remember the first piece of art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. That is something very difficult since a "work of art" is a very superior concept and at that time, and even now, I find it difficult to describe one of my works as "work of art". However, since I’ve had use of reason, I have always drawn. I remember a specific event when I was 14 years old when I won a drawing contest at school. I made a copy of a painting by Goya that impressed me a lot, "The executions of May 2". I drew it with graphite pencils, that is, in black and white. I remember many hours of work since its dimensions were quite large to work with such a fine point. My surprise was winning the first prize. The mathematics teacher who organized the contest, who always reproached me for my ineptitude with numbers, praised me and changed his perception of me. I will not forget this.
Q. Why did you decide to become an artist?
A. In my case, this is not a decision that is taken from one day to the next. One feels that need, feels that it is what attracts him most, but doubts always lurk. Will I serve for this? Can I earn a living? Will I be good enough? Little by little you are banishing your fears. Life is not as long as it seems and one must do with it what comes closest to its true essence. Have a purpose You already know that aphorism: you will never regret what you have done, but what you have not done.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. Without a doubt the economic security of a fixed salary. I left a stable job as a graphic designer for the adventure of painting. The artist (not all) usually live in uncertainty and that uncertainty is perhaps his sacrifice. In addition, the artist is always with a challenge on his shoulders: to surpass himself day by day in his work and this in a certain way is a bondage. In fact, your mind never stops working. Although when you achieve something that excites you, satisfaction is very great.
Q. What does your work aim to say?
A. I am not a conceptual painter. I tend to think that there is no need for great epic motifs or elaborate mysteries of the subconscious. Nature itself, the world around us, can provide us with enough material if we can create "this new element" - as Paul Gauguin expressed it - or that "encounter of the two tones" that so moved the great Cézanne. Actually, little matters the anecdote, the description, the motive, the technique, a painting is first of all colors, lines, and shapes that move our emotions and transmit sensations through beauty, rhythm and chromatic harmonies. My pretension, the truth of art, in my opinion, is simply the satisfaction and emotion that your contemplation gives you.
The motives of my paintings are the reasons that nature offers me, both landscapes (also urban) and figures, although especially the figure and the female face acquire special relevance in my work. These feminine faces are sometimes extracted from real models, but many are also products of the imagination. For me, they are not portraits in the conventional sense, but are rhythmically colored surfaces that convey through tones, shapes and contours the human character and personality of the portrayed. The strong colors that I use, in any of the motifs, whether landscape, figure or abstraction have the purpose of showing more expressively what I want to convey in the work.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. In my early days, I admired, and I still admire, the classics: Velázquez, Goya, Rembrandt, Vermeer ... Later I discovered the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, the Nabis (Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Émile Bernard, Sérusier ..,) that opened the way to German expressionism, to French Fauvism and in general to the first avant-gardes of the 20th century. Names like Matisse, Modigliani, August Macke, Ludwig Kirchner, Jawlensky, Van Dongen, Picasso are enough to inspire many generations of artists as they have done with me.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. You get to a style based on the influences of the artists you admire. It is clear that I could be labeled in Fauvism and Expressionism. I think that these influences are inevitable and necessary to enrich the development and creativity of the artist. Only when the legacy of all these genius artists is combined with the contribution of personal individuality is it possible to develop the calligraphy itself. I have not invented anything, just as the blues, jazz and rock musician do not invent these styles, but rather plays them in his own way creating his own music. That is the difference with other artists: your own uniqueness.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. I think there are many topics for artists. An artist is a person like any other, is related and needs to relate. But certainly, his work (in the case of plastic artists) is usually done alone and in this state, you are always looking for (or finding) the overcoming, the challenge with yourself. That is perhaps his isolation.
Q. Apart from making art, what do you love doing?
A. I love music (blues, country, flamenco, and classical music). In general, the root of this music. I almost always paint with music and I think it influences colors and shapes. In fact, painting is music in colors. Reading is also an enrichment that I have never stopped doing. I take walks contemplating the landscape, always in harmony and a source of inspiration, as nature knows how to masterfully offer this. Obviously, the human relations and a good conversation with gastronomy included, like all mortals.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Something simple but emotional. Certainly, all good art (painting, sculpture, cinema, poetry...) must transport us to a state of inner depth and move our emotions, but at the same time find a balance between reason and intuition, since one without the other leads either to boredom or chaos. There is also a phrase by Paul Gauguin that summarizes in a certain way my principles: "The artist must not copy nature, but take its elements and create a new element."
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. There are two kinds of success: material and emotional. If you get both, it is undoubtedly ideal for an artist. If you achieve material success (the success of the public and economic) but at the cost of prostituting your most intimate work is a very superficial success. On the contrary, if material success does not come to you but you are consistent with your artistic principles and you manage to realize your expectations, then it is a much more authentic success as an artist. Picasso expressed it with a phrase: "A painter is a man who paints what he sells, an artist, on the other hand, is a man who sells what he paints".
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. When I was studying at the Massana School, my drawing teacher, Ramón Noé, told me: "You Martí, you have to continue with this drawing and painting, do not ever leave it." And I listened to him. But I could list many quotes from painters that I admire, who did not give me the advice directly to me, and who have also helped me a lot.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. I do not know if I am qualified to give advice, but perhaps I would tell them to study the past, to learn the artistic trade to which they dedicate themselves and to be themselves without being swept up in fashions or by those who manage the threads of contemporary art.