HERNÁN JAVIER MUÑOZ
"ART ALLOWS ME TO EXPRESS MYSELF WITHOUT FEAR OF THE VULNERABILITY OF SHOWING MY SOUL, THEREFORE, WHOEVER SEES A WORK OF MINE MUST ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE VULNERABLE TO IT AND LET HIS FEELING BE FREE."
Hernán Javier Muñoz has been living from his art for about four years when he decided to leave everything for painting. Before he was a technician in computers and computer networks. Luckily, one day he changed his course and now he can enjoy this artistic career.
He was born in Argentina (April 5, 1983) from a middle-class family in a neighborhood called 'Mataderos' that remains in Buenos Aires in the Federal Capital. It is located in the central-eastern region of the country, on the western bank of the Río de la Plata, in the middle of the Pampas plain, in South America.
His childhood was simple and humble, he attended a state elementary school and with friends spent his afternoons playing soccer in the fields. "You have to imagine that there were no cell phones, tablets or anything that children have today, so all I liked to do was get together to play soccer," Muñoz adds.
Hernán Javier Muñoz has barely appeared in any contest or particular event. He paints for private collectors and galleries around the world and has been interviewed for several magazines and books such as “Master of Painting” by Artgalaxie, "Ophelia” -magazine that interviews great Masters from around the world, "Of the Great Art” in Chile, "Gulfshore Life" -a prestigious magazine from Florida, United States and the gallery "CLATIA” in China. He was also a judge in the Bindaas Artist Group (BAG) contest in India among others. He has also exhibited nationally and abroad such as Italy, Panama, the United States, and Spain.
Hernan Javier Muñoz offers us through his paintings the joy of purposely sinning. He manages to throw us to the depths of our own emotions, carefully selecting what we should feel. Hernan has the power to evoke in us what we don't want to say, yet so desperately seek to express. An air of innocence combined with lust can often be felt in his paintings. Getting lost in a painting of his gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding a reality that has yet to exist.
Q. Do you remember the first work of art you did? What was it and how old were you?
A. I don't know if it was a work of art, but I remember one of my first works that I did was when I was about 21 years old. I did it with oils made by me, a single brush and a wooden board that I found on the street and it was a small portrait of an old man ... the particular thing about that work is that I did it when I lacked materials and my country was in its worst economic moment. That led me to look for ways to paint with what I could. I remember that portrait because the only motivation I had was the love of art and painting.
Q. Why did you decide to become an artist?
A. Emotional freedom and the ability to express myself constantly helped me decide, without painting or art I am not what I am. I had no ambitions or projects and a great lack of motivation to face life. When I decided to be an artist, I found a path that I had long forgotten and that really was most of my happiness ... that path was to create.
Q. What has marked your artistic journey since then?
A. The works mark my journey, each one is a new project that takes me to another where I research, experiment and dedicate my life. After finishing the work, collectors and galleries ask to see it and that brings me to another destination, it can be another country or meeting other people.
But I think that what mostly marked my path was persistence and confidence in my work.
A. What have you had to sacrifice for this race?
Q. The most important thing I have had to sacrifice for this career is time with friends and family. The type of painting I do takes many hours because of the thoroughness of the technique and composition.
Q. What do you intend to express with your work?
A. I paint my works based on my dreams, but I also like the viewer to be free to define them. I want my works to take people to their own dreams. Let them find their own emotions in them.
Q. What are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your classmates or someone else in particular?
A. The great teachers were my influences, from them I obtained all the knowledge. In particular, Michel angered Merisi da Caravaggio, Diego Velázquez, Georges de La Tour, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Juan Salvador Dali among others.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how did you get there?
A. My inspiration comes from my dreams, in which there is a great need to experience supernatural, magical, surreal situations. The rawness of reality sometimes deserves a break and in my works I try to make that happen. I am self-taught; therefore, I have a very personal style where I got all the technical part of the work by trial and error. My style of study is based on "disarming" works of great masters and by intuition trying to understand their technique and composition. As a young man I visited the museum of fine arts and spent hours observing some works of Bourguereau and then returned to my house to try to imitate the skin tones used in his characters. In that I differ from other artists is not a question that I can answer. One must paint and look for their own style and if somehow people can differentiate your work from those of other artists it is because you have managed to capture your essence in them.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. In my case, my career is very lonely. I am several hours in my workshop and for the thorough technique of each of my works I dedicate a lot of time.
I also think it is according to the artist. Some work in a way where they have more connection with society, having students or offering art seminars. For my part, I enjoy the solitude of the workshop and when I finish a work I dedicate time to friends, family and travel. I really like interacting with people from all over the world on social networks, that's my way of counteracting loneliness. They comment on my works, ask me about my work and generate relationships that, despite the distance, are worthless.
Q. Apart from making art, what do you like to do?
A. I really like to travel, they are those experiences that are marked in the soul. Every time I finish two or three works I start to organize a new trip. At the moment, I am organizing a trip to Europe. I have already gone, but I lacked many places which are usually linked to my artistic branch ... painting.
I also like to spend time with friends and family, as long as I am not in the middle of production of work. Soccer and swimming would be my other pleasant activities.
Q. What is your philosophy regarding art?
A. Art is part of each one before we know the definition of the word. Before understanding what art is or what it means, our senses are attracted to it.
I think we have a rational part that handles the "crude" (the collective reality of each society and life) and another part that is responsible for finding the beauty of that, or at least give the senses a little more room and emotions to that rawness.
There are people more susceptible to the small details of life and that uncontrollable sensitivity must be expressed through art. Perhaps the "eyes" of art see a more real truth than the eyes that concentrate on the reality that they culturally instill in us. Nietzsche said that the truth is the most efficient lie, that is, the truth that most convinces most, but since art has a large metaphysical part, it is considered at a lower level than what we see as reality. As if when we use the feelings we were less logical ... maybe we are more lost than we think.
As a child, music, shapes and colors generated too many emotions. Life situations led me to existential questions and I learned to manage feelings through drawing or painting. We channel that energy that passes through our body and mind to end on a canvas. That canvas arouses emotions in less susceptible people who are "machined" in a society of very specific goals ... those canvases give recreation to those people, awaken feelings and make them vulnerable to simplicity, giving the possibility of opening your heart to new sensations, in a way ... to feel alive. Love does the same to us.
My philosophy is the love to create art based on my feelings using painting as a medium.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. I think that we only see success at the end of the road, our achievements will have meaning when the goals no longer matter to us. Death is part of life and when we are in front of it there will be no choice but to look back; therefore, to give a concrete meaning to success would be hypocritical of me, that meaning is changing according to our experiences. I think it is positive to have goals and the path to them will make us realize that life is full of small successes and failures. Maybe it is already a success to be alive.
Q. What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
A. We seek advice directly and indirectly and sometimes some that others are recorded in our memory. Once after losing most of my work due to the theft of a gallery, I ended up depressed and almost broken. I went to a great artist from my country called Roger Mantegani, I entered his workshop and in the middle of my stressful story, he told me ... don't worry, you are your own factory, just keep painting that you have the talent and strength to recreate...
The issue with the advice is not the complexity of the word or the depth of the message but the phrase said at the right time that one should listen to it.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. The same one they gave me, "keep painting." That must be applied to all areas. Fight for what one believes, create without thinking so much about the future or economic satisfaction and enjoy the process more, because life is simply that, a lot of processes that ultimately are the result of beautiful memories and possible works of art.