HIRÁN FRANCISCO LOMELÍ BUSTAMANTE
"Art is a kind of universal empathy in relation to the passage of humanity through this land, it is a connection with the past and all kinds of life experiences expressed through artistic disciplines."
Hirán Francisco Lomelí Bustamante whose professional name is Hirán Lomelí, was born on Dec. 5, 1972, in Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico. He grew up in a middle class family, and already during his childhood he showed an ability to make plasticine figures into replicas of all kinds of comic characters. Introverted and passive, he focused more on creativity than physical activity. Throughout his school term, from elementary to graduation, he tended more to making drawings in his notebooks than to paying attention in class.
He began painting at the age of 17, and two years later he studied painting under Maestro Manuel Iván Centeno from (1991 to 1994). His composition teacher was María Luisa González Aréchiga, and his human anatomy teacher was Jesús Carrillo Tornero. In 1997, he took an advanced painting course with Master Luis Nishizawa, and from 1996 to 2001 he exhibited in public spaces such as; Centro Cultural Patio de Los Ángeles, Casa Museo López Portillo, Ex Convento del Carmen, and Casa de las Palabras y Las Imágenes de la UdG.
In 2005, his exhibition of “El Jardin de los Femenores” at Ex Convento del Carmen coincided with another exhibition dedicated to Lucha Libre, a very popular subject in Mexico. This caused a great quantity of people to attend and also see his show. He was deeply appreciated by the attendees and his peculiar style was quickly identified. This is how Hirán Lomelí became known to the local artistic community, thanks to the attractive exhibition dedicated to Lucha Libre. This was a very favorable circumstance in his career. The next opportunity was in 2007 at the Vertex Gallery in London, where he had the chance to make himself known outside of Mexico and go on to sell work in England, Germany and Czech Republic.
With delicate and alluring precision, Hiran exposes us to a tantalizing world of youthful frolic. There is a sense of something slightly sensual and all the while carefully contained, leaving mainly a state of unease and discordance. His art makes us face ourselves in a debate over morality and principle. Pieces like his are of a powerful, enveloping nature, and can leave us pondering and evaluating the world inside and around us long after the artwork has gone.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. To project a specific and general perspective of some or several aspects of the world, depending on the place and time that each artist has had to live. We have a peculiar way of seeing things, not superior or inferior to the rest, simply different. It reflects thoughts or feelings based on a creative gift, an ability channelled into an artistic discipline that allows you expression. Our role is to grant a cultural legacy to society, not only for current times but for future generations.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. Well, I have several, I have had a privileged childhood, but one of my favorite memories was of my field days in a country development called Agua Escondida. I remember it as a place of huge green areas, small terraces with their brick grills and cement tables and benches. The atmosphere was fresh, with a pleasant feeling that invaded everything. Its peculiar sources made that place something special, along with the family and children with whom I played. This place and time is one of my favorite memories.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. At 6 years old I said that I wanted to be a 'plasticist' because of my abilities with plasticine, but my mother quickly corrected me by saying that maybe the word I wanted was 'sculptor'. In my life, I have never done a sculpture.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. One of the first works in which I felt gratitude and satisfaction was when I was 18 years old. I do not remember the measurements but it was a large format and the subject was the farce of the occult sciences. I took a photo that came out half blurred, through the years I lost both the photo and the negatives, and the person who acquired the piece, in turn, sold it. I am almost certain that if I were to see the piece again, it would make me laugh and I would have no further interest in seeing it again.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. At around 14 or 15 years old I liked to read about topics related to universal history and from there I focused on art history. I believe it was from that time forward that I became aware of art as a means of transcending concepts, beliefs, ideas and personal or collective experiences, and that fascinated me.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. It was when I was a student. Our teacher, in a sharp tone, said that no matter how good we were at drawing or painting, if we did not develop our own style, we would not serve as artists. He also said that style is something we had to look for in ourselves, in our ideas, beliefs, or in our dreams. I sleep a lot, so I started to paint some repetitive dreams I had been having. I began with three themes, the first one was sailing ships from colonial times. The second was of deserts with divided waves and illogical elements. The third was a dream about pale and fragile girls with naked clothes, in a context of gardens and old houses, that, between their laughter and activities, cracked as if they were of plaster with jasmines sprouting from their heads. They were dreams of an atmosphere between Eros and Thanatos. In the end, it would be this last line of women that would become my style of painting.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. Something like The Song of Songs, a slight and subtle sensuality, but with that implicit sexuality that in our society causes a very characteristic duality of the west throughout history. From the strict and repressive vision of the conservative, to the denigrating and decadent elements of the liberals. In my work, there pretends to be the balanced side, the one that does not exist, nor will exist, therefore being the idealized one.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. Troubles? Well, none, fortunately. The troubles I face are usually adverse circumstances, such as when external factors ruin my projects and I have to make changes on the fly, things like that. But my character doesn't cause any inconvenience, at least to me, I don't know if for others.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. I think that, like most artists in Mexico, the sacrifice is at the disadvantage of not having social security, benefits, paid vacations, Christmas bonuses, or retirement.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Well to simplify the answer and be clear, I will only say that pre-Raphaelism artists have in their work, beyond simple aesthetics, a very rewarding atmosphere. For me, there is no point painting something aesthetic, as the atmosphere is the main thing. With respect to the colleagues of which I am fortunate to live with, knowing their methods and styles is enriching and I can learn a lot, but more than applying the word "inspiration", I would say that they are a "motivation".
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Well, I think that many artists are designed to work alone and loneliness does not make us feel so bad. I have family, friends, and colleagues with whom I can make a social life with, enough, to not be considered a hermit or talk alone.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I like to assemble scale models, and make extracts and oils with medicinal plants. I read and watch documentaries on universal history, epic battles and prohibited archaeology. I also enjoy recreational activities in green areas.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. My set of reflections is to assess the cultural legacy of each nation, town or individual that was embodied in any of the artistic expressions. Art gives you a lot to think and feel, and seeing it in a universal way is more enjoyable.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. In the field of art, it is to transcend. May future generations identify and captivate with my work. Not in vain did the ancestors make their works of art in stone, because they knew very well the importance of it transcending, and effectively, even now, we are captivated with their artistic legacy. Although the interpretation changes from generation to generation, the essential thing is to transcend. No matter how much fame, or how many exhibitions you have had in life, if in the future you are forgotten, success has not been achieved.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. It is no secret that we all seek happiness, and I believe that happiness is knowing how to satisfy all your material, physical, personal, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs. For this, wisdom is most useful in achieving this, more so than doing it through ideologies or philosophies. It is no accident that in the media the concept of wisdom is mainly used as sarcasm, mockery or oriental cliché. More promotion is given to ideologies and philosophies that fulfill a function of social indoctrination, which is temporary and inefficient. While an ideology is mass, wisdom is something individual and particular, each person may or may not develop it and learn to meet their needs without negative consequences. A very simple social example is when paper, cardboard, glass and metal were used for bags, plates, glasses and utensils, which then implied ecological damage, then someone had the "great idea" of using plastic as a substitute for the aforementioned materials. Now it is unknown what to do with so much contamination by plastic. It was an idea without wisdom, like almost everything thought of in science and technology, they do not foresee the consequences. What happens at the social level also happens at the personal level, wisdom is essential for happiness and to avoid suffering.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. For me the saying, “nobody learns in the head of others” applies, I do not usually listen to advice, only the experience of life teaches me. I don't despise the advice they give me, I simply cannot integrate something that I have not lived. Obviously, by common sense, I know there are things that I have no case to experience because they are self-destructive. Perhaps one of the best tips is to know how to enjoy day-to-day responsibilities, do not see them as a burden or something tedious, feeling satisfaction and joy in fulfilling a responsibility, however small or large, is something that requires re-educating the mind.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. If you refer to young artists, I would say, do not be dragged by the relativism that anything is art. That's like the story of the Tailor and the King, where only fools could not see the invisible cloth the King was dressed in, and although everyone saw that the King was naked, as long as they were not labelled fools, they continued to pretend to see the non-existent fabric. So, if you don't want to look ignorant, you have to accept that a lot of garbage is art. Art has immutable qualities such as creativity, ingenuity, skill, innate talent and technique. It communicates an emotion, belief, thought or concept. They can change styles, themes, even technique and materials, but not the essence.