Horacio Quiroz is a pop surrealist artist who lives in Mexico City, Mexico. Despite working as a Creative Art Director for twelve years, Horacio perpetually was tugged by the pull and craving for visual arts. After spending over a decade accelerating his art education with different art directors and photographers while working for various prestigious advertising agencies, in 2013 he decided to fully immerse himself into his own artistic endeavors.

Over the past four years, Horacio Quiroz has been delving into the world of finding his identity as an artist- through this journey, he has created mystifying figures within his work.

Horacio Quiroz

I read the texts on your website and noticed that you began as an Art Director for an advertising agency. What made you want to switch completely from that path to solely focusing on an art career?

Desde mi punto de vista personal la publicidad vende a través de mentiras, proyecta escenarios idealizados y arquetipos inexistentes, cimentados mercadológicamente para crear nuevas necesidades y productos que impiden a las grandes corporaciones decrecer en sus ventas, aprovechando de las carencias emocionales de las personas.

La publicidad genera realidades verosímiles, donde no hay cabida a la polaridad y mucho menos a las emociones negativas, presenta una realidad carente de substancia , donde el único fin es hacerte creer que comprando cierto producto serás “feliz”, con la única intención de vender.

Yo estaba muy cansado de ser parte de este circulo vicioso que alimenta el inconsciente colectivo con ideas y conceptos en los que no creo, a esta situación se le aunaba mi gran enojo y frustración de haber abandonado el dibujo y la pintura por tanto tiempo,(estas eran actividades natas y sumamente satisfactorias durante mi infancia y adolescencia), de igual forma me reprochaba el trabajar como publicista puesto que esta nunca había sido una desición planificada, sino que la vida y las circunstancias me llevaron hasta ese lugar.

 

From my personal point of view, advertising sells through lies, projects idealized scenarios and nonexistent archetypes, cementing a market that creates new needs and products that prevent large corporations from decreasing their sales, taking advantage of people’s emotional lacks.

Advertising generates plausible realities, where there is no room for polarity, much less negative emotions, presents a reality devoid of substance, where the only purpose is to make you believe that buying a certain product will be “happy”, with the sole intention of selling .

I was very tired of being part of this vicious circle that feeds the collective unconscious with ideas and concepts that I do not believe in, this situation was joined by my great anger and frustration of having abandoned drawing and painting for so long, ( these were natural activities and extremely satisfactory during my childhood and adolescence), likewise reproached me for working as a publicist since this had never been a planned decision, but life and circumstances led me to that place.

Horacio Quiroz

Do you implement any of the skills you used in your previous job as an Art Director into your current artist endeavors?

Creo que estuve rodeado de grandes creativos, pero yo no considero que la publicidad sea arte y que en una agencia trabajen artistas, para mi la creación artística procede de un lugar muy distinto al brief que te puede proporcionar un cliente que solicita una campaña, sino de una necesidad interna de expresión personal.

Sin duda trabajar tantos años rodeado de talentosos creativos expertos en la gestación y producción de mensajes visuales educo mi ojo y mi concepción estética. Adquirí disciplina y el entendimiento para saber que las buenas ideas toman su tiempo, pero sobre todo en mi caso particular la publicidad me enseño lo que yo NO quería ser.

 

I think I was surrounded by great creatives, but I do not think that advertising is art and that artists work in an agency. For me, artistic creation comes from a place very different from the brief that a client requesting a campaign can give you, but it comes from an internal need for personal expression.

No doubt working so many years surrounded by talented creative experts in the gestation and production of visual messages educated my eye and my aesthetic conception. I acquired discipline and understanding to know that good ideas take time, but especially in my particular case, advertising taught me what I did NOT want to be.

Horacio Quiroz

While reading the bio on your website, I learned that you are from Mexico City, Mexico as well as reside there now. How would you describe the art scene there and are there are any local artists that have and continue to inspire you?

En cuanto al mercado del arte en México creo es un mercado en crecimiento pero que aún le hace falta mucha educación, diversificación y madurez. En USA, Australia, UK y algunos otros países existe un circuito muy bien definido de publicaciones, ferias de arte, galerías que apoyan la nueva pintura figurativa y surrealista, en cambio en México este mercado no existe a gran escala ya que las grandes galerías y ferias de arte están enfocadas en otro tipo de pintura o arte en general.

Creo que a pesar de la situación del mercado del arte en México existen grandes artistas haciendo trabajo figurativo en México, y para nosotros como artistas es  importante la validación y reconocimiento de publicaciones, intercambios y exhibiciones del extranjero donde muchas veces se valora el trabajo más que en nuestro propio país.

 

Regarding the art market in Mexico, I believe it is a growing market but that it still needs a lot of education, diversification and maturity. In the USA, Australia, UK and some other countries there is a well-defined circuit of publications, art fairs, galleries that support the new figurative and surrealist painting, whereas in Mexico this market does not exist on a large scale since the large galleries and art fairs are focused on another type of painting or art in general.

I think that despite the situation of the art market in Mexico there are great artists doing figurative work in Mexico, and for us as artists, it is important to validate and recognize publications, exchanges and exhibitions abroad, where work is often valued more than in our own country.

Horacio Quiroz

When you began your path fully immersed in an art career, how long did it take you to discover what you wanted the subject of your work to be? Did this happen naturally?

Aunque pintar era algo que deseaba enormemente el miedo que sentía era proporcional a mi amor por hacerlo. El proceso fue como salir del closet una vez más pero esta vez como artista, no supe lo que era hasta que pude experimentarlo, antes de ello todo era una vaga idealización, un mundo desconocido por descubrir en el que yo me había planteado que no habría vuelta de regreso a una agencia de publicidad.

Arme un pequeño estudio en mi casa y me encerré a aprender a pintar de forma autodidacta, conforme se dio el cambio tuve que replantearme que quería de mi vida, hacia donde me dirigiría, que tipo de persona quería ser y me di cuenta que ahora mi vida personal estaba estrechamente ligada a mi quehacer profesional.

A través de terapia psicológica  y trabajo introspectivo arregle muchos temas de índole personal, (nada fuera de lo normal, problemas existenciales que todos tenemos) y fue la pintura quien empezó a acompañarme en ese proceso como una herramienta de catarsis. Y así como cuando era niño y me refugiaba en mis dibujos para darle un sentido a mi existencia, la pintura empezó fungir esta misma función dejando salir, la frustación, el enojo y el miedo.

Aceptar que estaba petrificado de miedo para poder avanzar fue clave, de la misma forma me di cuenta de que cuando se actua con amor las puertas se abren.

Parte del resultado de este proceso personal de introspección al aprender a distiguir y etiquetar mis propias emociones fue contemplar los constantes cambios emocionales que se manifiestan en el cuerpo humano como si este hiciera las veces de un catalizador de las mismas. Me sorprende en sobremanera como emociones tan divergentes pueden convivir fluctuando dentro de un mismo organismo y como nunca estamos estáticos, siempre esta presente el cambio oscilando de un hemisferio al otro de la polaridad.

 

Although painting was something that greatly desired, the fear I felt was proportional to my love for doing it. The process was like coming out of the closet one more time but this time as an artist, I did not know what it was until I could experience it. Before it was a vague idealization, an unknown world to discover in which I had thought that there would be no turning back to an advertising agency.

I built a small studio in my house and I locked myself to learn to paint in a self-taught way. As the change occurred I had to rethink what I wanted from my life, where I would go, what kind of person I wanted to be and I realized that now my personal life was closely linked to my professional work.

Through psychological therapy and introspective work, I arrange many personal issues, (nothing out of the ordinary, existential problems that we all have) and it was the painting that began to accompany me in that process as a tool of catharsis. Just as when I was a child and took refuge in my drawings to give a sense of my existence, painting began to function this same function of letting go, frustration, anger and fear.

Accepting that I was petrified with fear in order to move forward was key, in the same way I realized that when you act with love, the doors open.

Part of the result of this personal process of introspection in learning to distinguish and label my own emotions was to contemplate the constant emotional changes that manifest themselves in the human body as if it were acting as a catalyst for them. It surprises me greatly that emotions so divergent can coexist fluctuating within the same organism and that we are never static. The change is always present oscillating from one hemisphere to the other polarity.

Horacio Quiroz

You tend to lean toward sketching and painting as mediums for your work. Do you think drawing and painting pair well together, or do they compete with one another?

Creo que el dibujo esta al mismo nivel que a pintura, pero en mi proceso personal de trabajo el dibujo o boceto funciona como una antesala a la pintura. Para mi son complementarios, para pintar primero se debe dominar la técnica del dibujo.

 

I think the drawing is on the same level as painting, but in my personal work process the drawing or sketch works as an antechamber to painting. For me they are complementary, to paint first you must master the technique of drawing.

Do you plan the figures and rearranged subjects you draw or do find yourself just going where the painting takes you as you are working on it?

Es una combinación de ambas partiendo de un dibujo o una fotografía que detona la idea de la pintura. En ocasiones la imagen es planeada meticulosamente antes de entrar al lienzo pero muchas veces la pintura ya acabada termina siendo distinta a lo planeado, dejo fluir lo que se vaya presentado en el lienzo mientras pinto. Es decir si existe un boceto antes de empezar la pintura pero no siempre lo sigo al pie de la letra, casi siempre hay  cambios y flexibilidad.

 

It is a combination of both starting from a drawing or a photograph that detonates the idea of painting. Sometimes the image is meticulously planned before entering the canvas but many times the finished painting ends up being different than planned.  I let what is presented on the canvas flow while I paint. That is, if there is a sketch before starting the painting, I do not always follow it literally, there are almost always changes and flexibility.

Looking at your work, the figures you conjure are fascinating as well as frightening. What do you hope your audience takes away from the contorted and rearranged anatomy in your art?

Considerando que el ser humano esta conformado dualmente por elementos antagónicos como lo son el  cuerpo y el espíritu es que puedo abordarlo as a mechanism that not only functions physiologically, but as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

In my work these apparently discordant dual forces of reality are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity como una representación del movimiento en el cuerpo humano this permits the incarnation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies, similar after a fashion to x-rays of the experiences that we undergo as people while evolving.

Everything around and inside us has a dual manifestation This is so obvious that it is taken for granted. Consequently everything, absolutely everything that exists, has to be composed of the duality of aparentemente opposites, porque es a través del opuesto  que podemos entender lo accesible y por consiguiente la unidad. No hay forma de experimentar el amor sin conocer el miedo y viceversa. Tampoco existe la posibilidad de entender el concepto del “día” sino conocemos la ¨noche¨ .

Lo que me interesa después de todo es que quien vea mi trabajo lo confronte y se cuestione.

 

Considering that the human being is conformed dually by antagonistic elements such as the body and the spirit is that I can approach it as a mechanism that not only functions physiologically, but as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

In my work, these apparently discordant dual forces of reality are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity as a representation of the movement in the human body. This allows the incarnation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies, similar after a fashion to x- rays of the experiences that we undergo as people while evolving.

Everything around and inside us has a dual manifestation This is so obvious that it is taken for granted. Consequently everything, absolutely everything that exists, has to be composed of the duality of apparently opposites, because it is through the opposite that we can understand the accessible and therefore the unity. There is no way to experience love without knowing fear and vice versa. Nor is there the possibility of understanding the concept of “day” unless we know the “night”.

What interests me after all is that whoever sees my work confronts it and questions it.

Horacio Quiroz

Do you feel as if the transformation from youth to adulthood has influenced or led to personal reflection in your art?

Si totalmente, y no solo la etapa de transformación de joven a adulto, sino también la etapa de cambio de niño a adolecente, de director de arte a pintor, y salir del closet. Reconocer el cambio en a través de las distintas etapas de mi vida ha a sido inherente a mi cuerpo de trabajo. Change is the only constant.

 

If totally, and not only the stage of transformation from young to adult, but also the stage of change from child to teenager, from art director to painter, and come coming out of the closet. Recognizing the change through the different stages of my life has been inherent in my body of work. Change is the only constant.

Horacio Quiroz

What direction do you see your art moving in in the future? Is there anything you can tell us about that you are currently working on?

 

Estéticamente puedo decirte que me seria difícil no seguir pintando cuerpos humanos. Ahora bien, en cuanto a la temática no tengo idea hacia donde se desarrollaran los contenidos de mi trabajo. Actualmente abordo temas como la transexualidad, el feminismo, la homosexualidad, o la discapacidad emocional porque son las cuestiones de índole social sobre las que me interesa reflexionar, en el futuro supongo que seguiré tocando temas que afectan a la sociedad dependiendo el momento.

 

Aesthetically I can tell you that it would be difficult for me not to continue painting human bodies. Now, on the subject, I have no idea where the contents of my work will be developed. Currently I address topics such as transsexuality, feminism, homosexuality, or emotional disability because they are social issues on which I am interested in reflecting. In the future, I suppose I will continue to touch on issues that affect society depending on the moment.

Special thanks to Horacio Quiroz for this interview. Check out more of his lovely work on his website and social media.

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