Antonio López García, artist from Tomelloso, Spain. Photo © Courtesy of the artist and Galería Marlborough

Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

I like my work very much, I feel a great vocation, not only for my work but also for the world of painting, sculpture, music… All this has made me a better person.

For those of us who started out in painting, our dream is to be able to make a living from it. Sometimes that comes early, sometimes late, and sometimes it never comes at all. I have been very lucky because I started very early and, from time to time, I earned some money.

When I got married, at the age of 25, I was already living from painting: living from your work is a dream that sometimes comes true.

When you start, it is inevitable to have influences, no one is free from them. In your formative years, you get to know the things that have happened in the art world. I had no idea because I was a boy from Tomelloso (Ciudad Real) and my uncle did not talk much about art because, although he had studied painting in his youth, he was secluded in the village working in a very isolated way.

Gran Vía: 1974-1981. Oil on board. 93.50 x 90.50. Courtesy of the artist and Unidad Móvil. Private collection

So, little by little, I discovered all the modern art, like Pablo Picasso, and I got to know things that I didn’t think could exist. Some of them excited me and had a great impact on me. I was influenced by Cubism, Picasso, Paul Klee, and Henry Moore, a very complex mixture because, on the other hand, I was also very influenced by the Greeks and the Egyptians.

That’s how it all happened… At a certain age, you begin to understand reality and you start to abandon it, you start to move away from all that contamination of influences. But it takes a while to get there. I already had created my own world in the ’60s (I can see it now).

What does your work aim to say?

In my art, I look for the truth. But I think this does not only happen to me: Spanish art, in general terms, is an art of observation. It is the noble material of the starting point. What is interesting is happening close to you, and you just have to know how to look at it. That is very present in Diego Velázquez’s painting.

And, in literature, in Don Quixote, El Lazarillo de Tormes, La Celestina… If you compare it with Italian art, for example, there is a greater approach to the truth, not to a dazzling, majestic truth, but the pure truth, to things as they are. Sometimes in a very plain way; seemingly insignificant. Everything deserves to be considered. Truth is what we have to work with.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

I get inspired by everything that can help me find a subject or a way to relate to life, to everyday life, and in this field of work, everything comes into play. From the news, to what you read, what you see, movies… but above all the life you lead. One can be a viewer or an inspirer.

There is always something that reaches you, that moves you, even the work of another painter. Everything that surrounds you. I have painted basically where I have lived, in my town of Tomelloso and in Madrid. In other places, I have worked very little and in an occasional way.

I need time to make a painting and I have never spent enough time in places other than those already mentioned.

Sculptures in the studio of Antonio López García. Courtesy of the artist and Galería Marlborough

In New York, for example, I spent several days, in Rome too, but it is one thing to visit and quite another to get down to work. I have tried to use photographs, it’s something I do sometimes, but it doesn’t help me much to work.

Could you give us some insight into your creative process?

My work shifts between drawing, painting, and sculpture in a more or less objective representation of reality, whether representing human figures, interiors, my family background, objects of everyday life, fruit trees, or urban landscapes.

I always work standing in front of the object I want to paint, in works that, on many occasions, I interrupt and retake over the years.

Madrid desde Torres Blancas: 1974-1982. Oil on board. 145 x 244 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Unidad Móvil. Private collection

What are your future projects?

I am working on the doors for the cathedral of Burgos, there are three of them and they are very large; I have been working for about five years of my life at home, making painted reports of me and my family. There are about 30 works that I take and leave, including a pictorial report with my family, and the garden of my house.

In addition, I am now doing something I had never done before, which is to work with religious art, in an explicit way.

I have started with a crucified Christ for the new cathedral of Vitoria. It will be about two meters high. I am also preparing the first retrospective monographic exhibition of my work in Antoni Gaudi’s La Pedrera, in Barcelona.

Interview by Fabio ParianteTwitter / Instagram


Antonio López García (Tomelloso, 1936): InstagramWebsite