"I believe that in each human being, nature provides a fundamental tool that needs to be put to use in our lives. In my case, for me, it is painting."
José Sanchez was born in 1952 in Quito, Ecuador. He lived his whole childhood in Santo Domingo, where he was influenced by the exuberant animal and plant life that is undoubtedly the notorious language that he will always use in his paintings.
From an early age, he began to practice the ancient job of painting. Subject to the rigor of the material and an overflowing imagination, he creates worlds that are its own or better, worlds that speak a language that only belongs to them, but that can be understood by all. Many have been the places worldwide where he has exhibited his work. But he has forgotten his travel log and continues as if it were the first day, impetuous in his desire to inventory unknown orbs. Without fear of misunderstanding, José Sánchez, belongs to the very little busy brotherhood of anonymous beings who hide from the extensive word and who prefer to speak through his paintings. Saved are the awards and recognition he has achieved throughout his life as a painter. The important thing for him is to paint and that desire is daily, yesterday doesn't count anymore.
José Sánchez officially began his career in 1975 with his exhibition at the Center for Cultural Promotion. He was well received by the press and from there on, he has maintained a constant busyness through numerous national and international galleries with infinite distinctions. Perhaps the most appreciated is that of 1994 in Chicago, an exhibition called LATIN PAINTS, with the participation of painters from all over South America, and whose main objective was to show that there was also talent and good painters in such a continent.
José Sánchez, through his art, offers us moments of joy. He gives us the opportunity to feel that intimacy between culture, myth and reality. It’s a sweet escape to where nowhere leads to everywhere, and that everywhere simply overpowers your senses. Observing José Sánchez’ artwork, it’s like sitting before our childhood stories, where the impossible was tangible, it was real, and nothing opposed our imagination. His art gives us hope and the desire to never forget that innocent part that resides in each one of us.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. Oh, there were many, but the best was by the river, fishing and watching bright fish jump in the sunlight.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. Always in my mind was the need to paint, always. While for others it could have been playing soccer or singing, etc. For me the act of painting was my primary need. It was to feel useful, creating or recreating beings that only lived in my imagination, in my own bestiary, accompanied by children, lush landscapes and all living peacefully and in solidarity, no one else is in my paintings, everything is allowed. European mythological beings have changed landscape and clothing, but they remain themselves.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. In elementary school. A painting contest with the theme of peace in the world. It was my first prize and consisted of a large box of colored pencils. I couldn't sleep for at least a week because I was afraid someone would take away my prize. I was about six or seven years old.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. At age 15, when the art teacher of the school advised me to study art. The following year I entered the College of Plastic Arts. It´s all that would be my profession.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. Everything is a process, nothing needs to go out of that norm. In life, all is one process. Even today, there are some critics of my work saying that one of them could leave a hundred paintings. After all, the world itself is lush, you look at life everywhere. Although there are those who try to reduce the number of its inhabitants, the world remains self-sufficient. That is why my paintings are like that, they only replicate that infinity of worlds that can be found in one. I place there, Neptunian creatures to reverse the order of things, to question what goes up and what goes down, the established order is not interested in finding an ideal world, with colors that do not bother to look at them and that are possible to translate them in peace, at rest, and at the same time at party, in revelry ... in unusual acts. To get to the viewer with a language that everyone likes and they care about theirs. Where no one feels excluded.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. Love, above all things, love, and solidarity. The world is changing too fast and loses values that were recently important. Here in South America, we still have the opportunity to elevate the human being as the main actor of creation and all other living creatures as collaborators of it. All fit to live harmoniously.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. Solitude, it is extremely difficult for me to endure large numbers of people around me. I feel very good when I am in my own company.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. Family. There were situations that seemed to have no solution. Remember that living from art is a hard thing, because you don't have a stable income ... And if you have a family to care for, well you know what I am trying to say here...
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Without a doubt, I really like Giovanni Segantini's paintings, for the peace and quiet of his characters and colors. The tremendous Bosco for his apocalyptic visions, Bruegel for that telluric force he puts in his characters. Modern I like them all for their bold proposals. The search for a familiar language. Of course, if I am a painter, I must contaminate myself with many. But I try to make my work as particular as possible.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Nothing, in my case I like being alone when I paint. This is a job that requires a lot of dedication to practice it. It is the option we chose and we must have the determination to face it. No one is alone, no matter how remote he lives. Each one is a hero of his own story.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I am a computer expert. Technology is wonderful. Used in the field of Art, it is to advance in time millions of years.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Very simple, freedom, absolute freedom for the artist and absolute freedom for those who enjoy it. Of course, as long as the art maker fulfills his or her work with supreme quality.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Having done an excellent job. Have thought of others to enjoy your effort. The economy has nothing to do with it. Success, it becomes a synonym for excellence. When I consider doing a work that is successful, it means that I am not going to measure the time or what I get paid for it, but that it is worthy of exhibiting in the best places, that is of satisfaction for those who admire it.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Being faithful to the principles, not giving up, being honest with everyone, shaking hands with those who need it. Taking care of nature.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. Said by my father; he used to tell me: "Be honest, never tell lies and be friendly with everyone. Until today I fulfill it."
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. I would say, work tirelessly, without claudication, until you achieve a universal language. After all, we all understand a good picture even if the languages we speak are different. Art serves to unite the world, strive to maintain that language alive.