MARIO RENE MADRIGAL-ARCIA
"I AM A POET WHO WRITES WITH IMAGES"
Mario Rene Madrigal-Arcia (born in 1957) is a painter, graphic designer, and an art mentor at his own workshop. He grew up in Managua, Nicaragua. Rene recalls how Art caught his attention from a young age: "I was already marked by the vocation, I grew up surrounded by some old paintings in my aunt Haydee 's house, she was a collector of Art and Antiques. This collection and the influence of my father who was a professional photographer and a very cultured man who liked and loved art helped me to have a glimpse at my future as linked to art." Rene often drew, painted and watched exhibitions that came to Nicaragua from international artists such as Vasarelli, Calder, Omar Rayo, and others. He read art books and he looked at magazines and discovered new artists he had never heard of. Rene Madrigal-Arcia never missed a single exhibition at the School of Fine Arts and he often was spotted at the workshops of national artists.
Rene studied at the School of Fine Arts of Nicaragua. In 1978, he moved to Costa Rica to study Plastic Arts at the National University (UNA) where he spent two years and then study for three more years at the Autonomous University of Centro America (UACA).
In 1984, Rene Madrigal-Arcia became a Costa Rican citizen and has lived there ever since, a place where he dedicates his time developing his artistic career, exposing and sharing with colleagues and friends. In 1993, he won the Hispanic and Latin American Award at the Museum of Art in Florida, United States. Rene Madrigal-Arcia has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions, both in galleries and museums in Costa Rica and abroad.
"Two things deeply marked my life: the Managua earthquake of 1972 and the cancer of my father."
Q. Why did you decide to become an artist?
A. I was already marked by vocation because at 8 years old and seeing some old paintings in my aunt Haydee 's house, I told my cousin Pablo Dubo'n that I would be an artist. My aunt’s collection and the influence of my father helped me foresee my future and its involvement with art.
Q. Do you remember the first work of art you did? What was it and how old were you?
A. The first work was in pastel chalk and it is kept in very good condition. It is a still life signed on November 2, 1974. I was 17 years old. Some portraits in charcoal done between 1975 and 1976 are conserved. Many drawings or studies of previous years were destroyed by the earthquake of 1972.
Q. Are you inspired by the work of your colleagues or someone in particular?
A. My influences are diverse. For example, being still a child, I remember the first paintings I saw of Odilón Redon and Morandi and they impacted me. I also admire Giorgo de Chirico. And from the closest ones in Latin America to Maestro Rufino Tamayo, Alejandro Arostegui, Fernando de Szyszlo and Elmar Rojas. And some colleagues and close friends have influenced my work directly with their classes and advice as Hernán Pérez, Rolando Cubero, Adolfo Silezar and Jorge Korea or more recently, Jorge Crespo Berdecio, artists that I admire and appreciate. I consider that there are many artists who in some way left traces in a direct or indirect way that I transmute in my works.
Q. Is there a particular painting tradition or "old masters" that have influenced your work?
A. Rembrandt, of course, has been one of the great masters I have always admired. Goya as a painter and engraver. In fact, the first stage of my painting is influenced by the dark clearing. My drawings of the 80s have that magic of the dark clearing. And I admire others like Vermeer and Velasquez.
Q. What does success mean to you?
A. The success of an artist I think is related to the permanence of his work through time to the influence that in some way our work has for the next generation of young artists, for our society and our culture.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? And if so, what you do to counteract it?
A. The artistic creation is solitary, but not necessarily the artistic life it is. I do not think the artist should always be alone. Loneliness helps to elucidate the changes that our work is making over time. I often counteract it by working at the workshops with friends, or in the art classes I teach -which are spaces that allow us to share with others and learn from them too.
Q. What does your work intend to say?
A. They are open metaphors that speak to the viewer without imposed speeches, dogmas or ideologies, and that this draws their own conjectures or conclusions.
Q. What is your philosophy in terms of art?
A. I think that the end of art has to do with the creation and the language that each artist prints in his works as a personal seal. It does not matter if it is hyperrealistic or abstractionist, or whatever. But that language has to be our own, honest, sincere and recognize where our art comes from and what our influences are.
Q. Apart from doing art, what do you like to do?
A. I like teaching. I really enjoy teaching painting or graphics. I consider important the formation of young values that are emerging in art. Shared knowledge -I like reading, good movies and watching documentaries and I like swimming.
Q. What is the best advice you have been given?
A. My wonderful teacher, tutor, and mentor Wilbert Villegas in Costa Rica, who helped me study at his School of Arts gave me the advice to follow my intuition in art. Advice that I have always followed.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation of artists?
A. The advice I would give them is the importance of studies, reading, and research because the artist must be educated, enlightened to be able to create and develop a personal work because art is not just trade. Art is an intellectual work.