JAVIER SARMIENTO INTERVIEW
RANZI EDITORE & ÆMERGENT
1. What's your type of art? The main genre and typology? And how did you get into it? How did you learn it and refined it?
The only way I would categorize my art is figurative. Some would say I’m a portrait artist, but I disagree. I fall obsessed on people, qualities I might admire, aspects of their life that are similar or contrast my own, pushing me to explore on connection. The scenes I paint from moments lived with my muses are always an attempt to represent them, that which we share, agree or disagree on.
I always had an affinity to the human body, to its seductive nature. My first paintings were self portraits, which allowed me to explore emotions and space through a muse I understood easily. Nowadays, my projects depend on whoever I fall for. The way I paint, the intricacies of what can be done on a canvas depend on the incessant dance between me and the muse, until I capture that which I obsessed over.
I don’t know how I learned to do what I do, I’ve just always done it. When I was a little kid, I didn’t want to be outside playing sports or video games, but I’ve always had a need for interaction, for human connection, so I would observe, and and then translate with a brush and paint.
2. When did you realize you were and artist? What's your education and background? Did you have interesting and related experiences or did you start from scratch and you are a self-taught artist? Describe it.
I don’t know if to call yourself an artist, every work you do must be considered a work of art. Most times, I fail at this, since only a few of my paintings succeeded their goal.
So, I prefer the term painter, aiming to one day become an artist.
Nobody ever taught me how to paint people, but, I’ve had an extensive journey with education of the arts. In 2011 I became the pupil of a renowned abstract artist in Guatemala, Anai Martinez Mont.
Then, on 2016, when I went to study engineering in Mexico, I continued my painting practice alone.
I didn’t go back to studying it until 2019, when I did a bachelor on Painting and Visual arts in NABA.
Even though I consider myself self-taught, given I will always do the contrary to what my teachers tell me, the most I’ve learned has been from the people creating close to me; from Anai, to the creative people at engineering school, my friends at art college, and the muses I paint.
3. Someone said: doctors cure people and engineers build houses, artists don't. Do you think art is useful? Had it been? Will it be? And where do you consider yourself positioned in this? is there any role of art nowadays?
Art motivates, enlightens. Art is reflection on inspiration.
Without creativity, innovation would not be possible.
Art will always be useful, though it doesn’t always save lives, it can definitely change them.
4. As an emergent artist, do you think you developed or achieved a style/ Savoir Faire? If so, describe it please. If not, are you trying to find it?
I Guess that when you paint long enough, you develop your own language.
You stick to a pallete of colors, a set of brushes or a subject.
I think I’ve adapted into a style of painting, but it still keeps evolving, there is still much that I have to learn.
I like to look at my paintings as pieces that are ‘never and always’ finished.
Every time I work on a piece , I do so on its entirety, until one day, when it might appear finished.
I go from very diluted oils, to thick brushstrokes. I enjoy that at the beginning, the wetness of the medium with gravity’s help, creates casualties of its own.
With every time I paint on top, it becomes more controlled.
My aim with my works is for them to be finished with as little control as possible, to capture what I wanted in the early stages. That’s when they are the realest.
I do not use black or white paint because it doesn’t exist in reality. This allows me to interpret darks as colors and whites as empty spaces.
However, I think that my process with the muse is the only ‘style’ I’ve married.
Sometimes my language is space, sometimes it’s color, but it’s always obsession.
5. What's your environment? It can be family, relationship, school, work, etc. Describe your personal space, studio, room, creative space where you actually think and create.
My environment depends on the work I’m doing, or vice versa.
Nowadays, my environment is a couple good friendships and my boyfriend. My work depends on those close to me, and I’m happy with what I’ve found here in Milan.
6. Do you think young artists needs a support like the platform ÆMERGENT? And how this must be done in order to make you develop your own experience as professional?
Emerging artists need all the help and support they can get, so, yes.
As to how it must be done, I have no clue, but I think that a platform which promotes its artists should also aim to connect them.
7. What are you actually working on? Future projects?
Currently, I’m working on my first solo exhibition, which should be in November. It’s focused on a specific subject and muse, so to not get bored I’ve also been doing other works exploring different things, to get distracted but also trying to find what I’ll do next.
8. To end this interview, choose your favorite work and talk about it. Can be the best on to describe you, your sensibility and methodology. The flagship one.
Currently my favorite work is ‘32 days of Amanda’
I think it encapsulates my process in the best way.
This is the first painting I finished from the ones of Amanda. I worked on it during a period when we were around each other every day, I remember that for at least a month we slept every night on the couch, we cuddled and got to know each other obsessively.
It was quite romantic
During this time, I would paint a little square of the painting every other day. And when I would move on to the next, I would cover the last one I had done. So I had no reference to how the painting looked as a whole.
I experienced every piece of her individually, I’m proud of how such intimacy can be seen on the final piece.
Javier Sarmiento, Alvaroenmovimiento, 2023,
oil on canvas, 180 x 100 cm
Javier Sarmiento, Anais, 2022,
oil on canvas, 165 x 100 cm
Javier Sarmiento, Antonio, 2021,
oil on canvas, 165 x 100 cm
Javier Sarmiento, MiPau, 2020,
oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
Javier Sarmiento, Cuerazo, 2023,
oil on leather and canvas, 100 x 120 cm