Julio J. Crews [juliocrews]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I do abstract figurative work resulting from a lifetime of painting. I started painting when I was 17 years old and never stopped, even while raising a family and having a career as an architect. I would define myself as a programmed (by my lifetime dedication to painting) computer with set defaults that yet may be overidden. When I start a canvas, most of the time I have not an idea of what I will attempt to do, I throw paint on the canvas and try not to be rational about it. After a while I find a direction to follow. The actual painting results from refining that discovered idea or scheme, adjusting and strengthening it until I know that it is complete and nothing more should be added or taken away. I find after sixty years of painting a tremendous joy in the execution of works that seem to flow, at this time, effortlessly. It is wonderful to be an artist, I am thankful!
What is your message?
It is essential mystery that I search for as a painter. Intimations of a deeper reality inform my art. Using line and color in chromatic transitions of varying levels of intensity I create works that are signs born of my life journey.
Your biography in four lines.
I was born in Havana Cuba and live in the United States since 1961. I am a Cuban American painter and express in my work all the fire of my tropical island of origin.
I worked as an architect for 35 years but at no time stopped painting. Retired from architecture in 1995, my days are now fully devoted to my passion: painting.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
As an artist inspiration is innate, it comes with "the territory" of being an artist. It results from the perception of realities at the level of our deepest self.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
Technology influences and permeates the current world. It is thus an influence in terms of new imagery which surely affects my work but still, I paint abstractly in traditional oil on canvas.
What is art?
Art is a result of the artist's perception of a deeper reality, a glimmer or reflection of beauty. The spiritual encased in the material.
When do you get your best ideas?
In the doing of the work itself. I do not paint an idea I have had before I paint. I find the idea in the process of painting.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I do not paint ideas...........I either succeed in the act of painting or not.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
This does not apply to me..........the ideas only come to life in the proccess of doing the work.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
Since early childhood but new it without a doubt when I entered the university at 17 and began to paint
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
It is not an easy life.......the artist is usually insecure even if the work is outstanding.
Selling one's work is an annoying and frustrating endeavor. So much of the person is wrapped up in his or her art that the artist may be socially inept and undeveloped.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
How should a work of art be evaluated?
By the integrity of its execution, the appeal of its form and colors, the strength of its composition and its spiritual-emotional content.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No, he reinvents his work every time he executes a new piece.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Francis Bacon, Picasso, Matisse and Wifredo Lam. Their influence results from the effect their works have on us. An artist absorbs influences and they are transmuted in his own work.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
It is essential since art is not a commodity easily sold.
Is art necessary?
Art is inevitable, it comes with life, out of the need for something greater than the everyday.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
That is typical of a beginning artist where you want to hang on to little triumphs but when you have created art as a lifetime endeavor, if you I sell a piece you particularly value, it only spurs you on to create again.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
An artist is for sale only from a huckster's point of view.......its the art that changes hands.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
Paint, paint and paint again. The answers will reveal themselves in the process of doing.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
Sad that they sometimes had no success during their lifetimes.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
Not a very good one. I find gallery owners pedantic and prejudiced, pretentious and greedy.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I do my own work of painting: canvases in oil and works on paper in gouache and/or watercolor.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
I love to paint!
Do you personally collect any items?
No, I have four pieces from two artists friends only.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Do it only if you love it and cannot not do it.
Julio J. Crews