Each week, we bring you the backstory of work featured in our collection, written by a member of our curatorial team.
"Summer with you", Nacho Frades
by Sara Robertson, Senior Curator
Nacho Frades is an artist who lives and works in Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain. We are excited to introduce his digital paintings to the platform, and have been so intrigued by his fantastical work that we had to know a bit more about the artist and his unique style. Below is an exclusive Meural interview, lightly edited for structure.
What drew you to the medium of digital painting? When did you realize this was the style you wanted to work in primarily?
Well, I started to paint using a computer in 1987. My father's company bought some Amstrad PC 1512s, and I got a pirated disk of games (I was looking for the ‘Prince of Persia’). The disk came with the painting software "Deluxe Paint II". I saw "paint" and opened it immediately. I was fascinated...to paint in a computer! I forgot the ‘Prince of Persia’ and began to work with only 16 colors and a primitive mouse.
I enjoy digital painting because it's like my daily cup of coffee. I think also that in this time, all will end in digital format: paintings, books, encyclopedias. Why then not work in digital directly? I painted for many years in oils. My formation as a painter was while using oil paints, and I love them—their smell, texture and the finish. I love the two mediums.
"Beach Changing Rooms", Nacho Frades
Why do you like to show your work online as opposed to fairs and/or galleries?
I prefer to show my work online because we are in 2017. Is there sense in showing your work to 100 people instead of millions? The brick and mortar galleries are something of the past, and they are not very "artist friendly", in the sense they want to profit from the artist rather than working thoughtfully with them. Also I have had bad experiences with galleries, very bad experiences. I was in Affordable Art London when I was younger, and I sold some works, but since then my main goal has been to reach my audience through the internet.
Your digital paintings of landscapes have a surreal, fantastical feel to them. Where do you look for inspiration?
This is quite complicated since I have studied tons of art—the quantity necessary to be free of masters and influences. I find inspiration perhaps in a particular color I see, in the structure of a street I see. Mainly the images come to my mind as something completed, and I paint my memories. The inspiration is in the process: one color tells me, "I need a green there!", "I need something light here!" and so on. Inspiration also comes from the previous hard work I have done. A lot of hours, days and years of painting is my inspiration. I suppose I have to mention some painters as well. I choose Hopper and Hockney, but in all honesty, I am my favorite painter when I look for inspiration.
"Rose", Nacho Frades
You do work on films as well. How does that work influence your painting?
I have worked in many films, shorts and diverse genres as a member of the film art department. This has been especially useful for speed. In that environment you not only have to be good, you also you have to be fast—very fast. Working with speed while maintaining high technical and aesthetic standards is really what I have learned in this profession. And it completely changes your perspective on animation films—when I see an animated film now, I see it from the artist’s perspective and I start to sweat for the enormous amount of work that goes into each shot!
Can you talk a little bit about why you characterize your paintings in color?
Color is my entire life. The last time I cried was seeing a video of a child seeing color for the first time with a neurological device. Life is in color: the blue days, the red in a cloth, the yellow sun of the south of Spain...all is color. In the structure of a work there are shades of grey, but the soul is in its color. It's the most wonderful physical propriety in the Universe.
From our collection on my.meural.com is there a particular artist that is your favorite? If so, why?
My favorite is Sandro Botticelli, because he is the first metaphysical painter in history.