Interview with pop surreal artist Juan José Surace - 1.part

To discover more about the living life behind the Art Wonderland I started interview series featuring artists all over the world. Today I’d like to introduce you to Juan José Surace, a talented pop surrealist.

Hello dear Juan, tell us a bit about yourself and how you became aware of the artist within you. How long have you been making art?

I was born in 1977 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Currently I live in Barcelona, Spain. 
Since my earliest recollections I have drawn, but it was in 1995, when I first travelled to Europe and became fascinated when I saw the works of the greatest artists throughout history: Velásquez, Goya, Bosch, Picasso, Dalí, Van Gogh, etc. It It was like an explosion in my head, I bought some oil paints and started to paint. Since then I have remained inextricably tied to the world of creativity.

What was / is your greatest influence? Other artists, books, films, music or any other medium… What inspires you to create a work of art?

I have already mentioned some. I think there are too many influences, many talented people I admire. If I had to draw up a list, I’d be at it all day and still not finish. Sometimes ideas pop up while chatting with a friend, or stem from something I see in the street, or a memory. Sometimes the idea is in my head for weeks until I find a way to bring all the pieces together, but usually they come up when I sit down to work and start doodling on a piece of paper until suddenly out of the tangle of lines an interesting shape emerges, which suggests something else.

What’s a normal “day in the life” of the artist like?

A normal day for me varies.  I usually start off with a shower, a good breakfast, I go for a walk with Lola my dog and then I get down to drawing or painting. I take the odd break and then carry on painting.

What media do you mostly use and why?

Lately I’ve been painting a lot with oils or acrylics on canvas. But I try to maintain a constant process of renewal, surprising myself with the results you can achieve with the different tools and techniques – including digital techniques.

How would you describe your pop surrealist style? What themes do you pursue?

It’s hard to define my pop surrealism, given that I’m constantly changing. Normally I create a series of works on the same topic and when I feel that I have fully explored the idea, I start on a new series with a new theme., aesthetic and technique. Constant renewal is fundamental for me. I worry about becoming trapped in just one style and my work becoming something mechanical. The subjects that preoccupy me also change, but I think I feel the need to talk openly about uncomfortable topics, such as abuse of power, bad manners, se٭xuality, religion, illness, death, etc…

What most fascinates you about pop surrealism? What "pop surreal art"  means to you as an artist?

Pop Surrealism is a liberating movement where there are no frontiers, where each artist defines his or her own universe and the rules that govern it.  The viewer in turn plays mentally, trying to decipher the clues and symbols that the artist places in the piece, thereby giving it a new meaning. Pop surrealism is a wonderful game.
What do you like most about the act of creation? What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative is avoiding this reality, which is sometimes so linear and unjust. It’s a kind of therapy, a marvellous exorcism and sometimes an unsettling introspective calmness.

Can you describe your typical artistic workflow when you’re working on a piece?
My way of working is a bit chaotic. Sometimes I start a picture and then I abandon it for a couple of months. Sometimes I find myself working on a number of pieces at once or on an animation. During periods I work in the day time and then suddenly everything changes and I find myself working at night. I try to pay heed to my inner monster.
What is your personal favourite artwork from your portfolio and why?
Always whatever I am currently painting. But if I had to choose a series, it would be “Nice to meet you!”

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what is your aim?
I see myself painting, making short animation films, enjoying my work, my friends and my life. Carrying on, always carrying on…
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career?
Paying the rent, ha, ha, ha! But seriously, I think my greatest challenge was finishing a short animation that I made in 2009, called “Saduj: His Confession”. 

Saduj: His confession from Juan José Surace on Vimeo.

Thank you dear Juan for an excellent interview and dear readers, stay tuned, the second part of this interview is coming soon :)

PS: If you are around Barcelona in December, do not miss Juan´s exhibition in Fousion gallery on December 13.