Where Beauty meets Horror
The Chilean artist Guillermo Lorca is known for his large-scale oil paintings loaded with (sur)real narratives and dreamlike sequences, so when we asked what inspired him to become an artist, we weren’t surprised when he stated the French artist Gustave Doré (1832-1883).
Like Doré, whose talent was discovered early on (he came to Paris when he was 13 and by the age of 15 was already working as an illustrator for the journal pour rire), Guillermo Lorca was 16 when he started training under the Chilean painter Sergio Montero.
Lorca´s painting style triggers on-edge feelings by mixing razor-sharp realism with lavish baroque brushstrokes, with the result being both terrible and beautiful or just terribly beautiful.
When asked in an earlier interview about his childhood, Lorca said he was very introverted and paranoid and even thought somebody wanted to kill him:
“I had a strange sense of death that could not be defined; I was in persecutive anxiety all the time. However, one learns to live with that kind of feeling and its complexities, so I expressed myself through art.”
So with death and an often playful secret reality probably existing in the unconscious shadows of his mind, Lorca gives the viewer a hell of a ride taking no prisoners.
Which of these elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) would you choose in relation to your practice or yourself, and why?
Water. Fluids in general are present in my work;
in fact, I think they obsess me.
Is there a particular person or situation you remember that inspired you to become an artist?
As a child I had a book of fairy tales with illustrations by Gustave Doré, and they inspire me to this day.
I think they were my most significant inspiration, but there were others – my mother motivated me, and was showing me work by Rembrandt and Edward Munch as far back as I can remember.
Plus I was obsessed with drawing dinosaurs.
Do you consider yourself spiritual and how does this feed into your work?
I would say yes, at least in the sense of what we commonly call spiritual.
All paintings mean something important to me; they are a kind of diary of my psychic life, and that gives a symbolic meaning to my life.
Surely they occupy the place that religion cannot fill.
Aesthetics and process aside, which emotion do you want to trigger with your work, and why?
Maybe something similar to the emotions of traditional tales and myths, but they are difficult feelings to describe.
Others come to mind – tenderness, violence, beauty, fear and affection all interest me.
What would you change in the art market?
It would be nice to have more space for contemplation instead of all the euphoria only, though the latter shouldn’t be lost.
I think something more creative could be done with how space is set up at fairs.
To me the worst thing is that many buyers see the works as financial assets.
Hopefully that attitude will change over time, bringing about a greater incentive to create deep and authentic works rather than a brand.
The future is … ?
I think we will use technology more wisely so that it can make us happier rather than more addicted.
I think we are going to achieve a balance with the environment and the way we consume and use energy.
I don’t know how high the price will be for us to learn all of these things, but I hope it isn’t going to be too destructive.
Header: Guillermo Lorca, The girl in the peacock room, 2017, oil on canvas 75×140 cm
Author: Esther Harrison