"A PAINTING SHOULD BE VIVID, AND NOT A MERE COMPOSITION OF PAINT."
José Luis Corella was born in 1959 in Valencia, Spain. He describes his childhood like that of any other kid, within the parameters of normalcy. A noticeable difference though, is that he spent most of his time engaged in painting, modeling or drawing. All this done by his personal choice and freedom to do so. Corella recalls that at age six, on the Day of Reyes (holiday where it is believed the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ on January 6), his parents gave him as a gift a wooden suitcase with paints, brushes, oils and some cardboard. For Corella, this was the most appreciated treasure because it contained new material with which to paint aside his watercolors, gouches or pencils that were his usual materials.
Originating from a family of non-artists, Corella had to use his own intuition, desire and hard work in order to learn how to utilize oil paintings. Corella had a firm belief that in order to achieve what he wanted, if he had to work and study hard to achieve it, then he would. At the age of nine, his parents enrolled him in a technical drawing academy because due to his age they could not enroll him in avant-garde artistic drawing. He then continued to study drawing of statues and stone carving and restoration until he entered the Faculty of Fine Arts of San Carlos de Valencia.
"For me, it is of great importance in work, to differentiate what we want to say and how to say it, and what would be the technique. If you only have technique you would be an artisan and that is not enough, the soul would be lacking -and that is what gives the meaning."
Corella won the popular vote in 2008, 2009, and 2015 in the BP Portrait Award in London as a result of his hard word, perseverance, and amazing talent. In 2015, he exhibited at Pauly Friedman Art Gallery of Misericordia University in Pennsylvania after Picasso, Dali and Miro. This same year he was invited to give lectures at two universities in Ecuador and his work is studied in some universities in Mexico. Additionally, his works have also been published in important magazines in different countries.
Over time, Corella has been involved with various subjects, always with a focused technique and exceptional drawing base. Starting with a colorful painting bordering on impressionism, he successively experienced different stages until achieving a realistic painting with a quality that depicts perfection. Corella allows the viewer an intimate moment with his paintings. A moment of truth beyond all understanding. Almost as if experiencing a frozen moment in time that has divinely captured your senses. Right before your eyes, a stare into perfect details that define the story of an individual that most likely you will never meet, but somehow, you feel you know them.
"It is my way of life. My life revolves around everything related to art."
Jose Luis Corella is a notable and prominent representative of Contemporary Spanish Realism. The subtlety of the realism of his portraits encompasses the profound complexity of the human being, with everyday images transformed into wonderful works of art.
Q. Do you remember the first work of art you did? What was it and how old were you?
A. My first work, I cannot say it was art, was a landscape with some boats and a booth copied from a sheet, I still have it. I was 6 years old.
Q. Why did you decide to become an artist?
A. I did not decide, I had it inside and I always knew that I could not dedicate myself to anything else, that I had to fight to paint.
Q. What has marked your artistic journey since then?
A. One exhibition takes you to another, knowing a collector opens the doors of the next.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for art?
A. All. The time that I dedicate to my work is important and it is ahead of everything else.
Q. What does your work mean?
A. I intend to surprise, call attention, say "I am here" to the viewer. It would be very sad that in front of a painting of yours nobody stopped. I try to tell what happens to me, what I think. Many times, I see my works as my diary. I reflect what I think, what surrounds me and how I see society and my family.
Q. What are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your colleagues or someone else in particular?
A. I do not have clear influences consciously or in whoever supports me at this moment. I cannot think of a name. Yes, I am open to all the information that surrounds us, be it publicity, audiovisual, etc. I like many painters of all kinds and I try to keep up to date with what is done. I am interested in visiting many museums and I love analyzing the works of the great masters.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. I work from light to dark, keeping the color as clean and vibrant as possible. I do not consider that I have a clear or defined style, I have never looked for it. Maybe I'm differentiated by the themes. My evolution in painting is linked to life. One is maturing, being interested in different things, discovering and seeing the world that surrounds us and those are my themes, my family, friends, my environment, what excites me, and I am able to understand.
Years ago, I sent an email to the gallery owner with whom I worked, a joke email making me go through an emerging painter who was looking for a gallery with a work that has just ended. I was surprised that he knew that the work was mine, he told me that he had my stamp and way of doing, that I had not deceived him.
Q. What advice would you give to the next art-generation?
A. Living from art is very complicated because there are many interests and there are many artists and more in times of crisis, but if one is convinced that he wants to dedicate himself to it he must persevere and have the conviction of being the best in front of the easel and giving everything. There are always good and bad moments and disappointments, but you have to have the strength and above all the illusion, to move forward. We must maintain the curiosity and innocence of when we were children.