The Divinity of Realism: An Interview with Harold Muñoz

What could be more inspiring than having the Louvre in your backyard for inspiration? As an impeccable realist painter, Harold Muñoz shares his experience of seeing and depicting the divinity of human beings. From the late night streets of Paris to the enchantment of the forest, his influences appear so relevant to the natural beauty of his portraiture.

“There is something sublime in human vulnerability…in the veins, skin, blood, sex, wounds, and scars; a tender and true sensuality that leads you to the eternal, totally removed from appearances and fetishes…that reminds me of God, and I seek to recreate it in all of my work.”

Harold is one of 25 artists participating in the upcoming beautiful.bizarre curated exhibition, Bitter | Sweet at 19 Karen Contemporary Art Space [18 March – 29 April 2017] in Mermaid Beach, Australia. If you are in town, join the beautiful.bizarre team and many of the artists for the opening reception from 6 – 8pm on 18th of March!

Below Harold shares a glimpse into his life in and out of the studio, serving as living proof that classical painting is still alive and well.

Harold, can you tell us a little about the work you are showing for the ‘Bitter | Sweet’ exhibition at 19 Karen? How did you choose to interpret the theme?

When Danijela informed me that the general topic of the exhibition is sweet / bitter, it filled me with a lot of enthusiasm because these two words summarize what my work is in general. Because of this choice in topic, I knew it would be very easy for me. My work is very autobiographical and I project into them what I am going through in the present moment (or some important recollection). I usually base them on a poem that I like, in this case “Harmonie du soir” and “l’ange gardien” (I changed the name to: “I will wake the dawn up”) of Baudelaire and Mihai Eminescu respectively.

Work in progress: “Je Réveillerai L’aurore” for the ‘Bitter | Sweet’ exhibition

“Je Réveillerai L’aurore” 2017
Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

It is as well as it happens: a sublime moment arises, a kind of epiphany such as a beautiful light that enters sideways or a sweet and sensual look, the sensitivity of the bosoms, a few clear or reddish eyelashes, a coppery spot on very white skin, thick reddish hair surrounding a small bouquet of roses. Everything is beautiful and mysterious. Then I want to capture that specific moment so I pick up my paintbrush.

Is this your first time exhibiting your work in Australia? If so, how does it feel to have your work showing in a new continent?

It is exciting and comes with a lot of expectations. For a Venezuelan who has lived in Europe for so many years, Australia has a romantic and exotic aura, with all these beaches, the sun, the surf…nevertheless, my work has had a lot of receptivity with Australians and I am very grateful!

“Harmonie du Soir” 2017
Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

What has it been like working with beautiful.bizarre as curators?

beautiful.bizarre has been the best curators I have worked with! They have taken care of every detail, given me brilliant coverage, guided me through any doubt, etc! In addition, it is an honor to have been selected by Beautiful Bizarre and to be with so many extraordinary artists!! Again, it is an honor for me.

If you are interested in the above paintings, please contact 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace’s Gallery Director, Terri Lew terri@19karen.com.au

How long have you been living and making art in Paris?

Ten years, almost eleven. I arrived in Paris the summer of 2006. Immediately began to paint and exhibit in the Daniel Besseiche gallery.

Where are some of your favorite places to look to or go for inspiration?

First of all, my favorite places to look for inspiration are the louvre museum and the museum d’Orsay. But also in the forest of Boulogne, in the Atelier, touring Paris at night, in the subway watching the faces of people, while listening to music alone or during my dreams.

You mention that your work reminds you sometimes of God, can you elaborate on this?

I could talk to you about this topic throughout the interview, but I’ll summarize it. There is something sublime in human vulnerability, In the veins, in skin, in blood, in sex, in wounds and scars; a tender and true sensuality that leads you to the eternal, totally removed from appearances and fetishes. That reminds me of God, and I seek to recreate it in all my work…

For me, beauty is composed of different elements and if one of them is lacking an imposture: Beauty must have something of death, life, eroticism and spirituality.


Do you typically draw from life or do you just use photographs?

Sometimes I prefer to paint from live because it is easier and faster, but I also use photography because it is very practical. Since I can resume painting as often as I want, whenever and whenever I want. I do not like to limit myself to one place, if I decide to travel I can take with me the painting that I am working on.  I paint both live and with photography: it depends on the work and the model.

What part of the painting usually takes you the longest?

I like the lace and very elaborate draperies but they take of time. What I like to paint is the human body, especially the face because my specialty is the portrait. Everything else demands of me a little more will.

How many hours do you spend in the studio per week?

Between twelve and sixteen hours, from Monday to Saturday. Currently, also on Sundays.

What kind of things to you enjoy doing when you are not in the studio?

I like running, reading, walking in the woods with my family, cooking, and going to the theater.

Harold_Munoz_beautifulbizarre_015Harold Muñoz










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