Staring Through…

Dear Marcelo, first we want to congratulate you for your fantastic artwork. Can you tell us how do you begin work on a new painting? Do you look for a muse to drop by or...?

Technically I'm waiting for that right moment to start work on a new piece... muse or not, it’s something that takes place in complete loneliness, just me, my thoughts and some music... It's difficult to explain how it all happens. But when possible, I try to free my mind to follow my imagination, and let my ideas run their course.

Are most of your works products of a sudden flow of ideas or do you organize your thoughts in your head before working on the canvas?

I follow the flow of ideas in some series, no sketches. They come unannounced, suddenly, at high speed.  But somehow my works are tied to other series in some sense.

In other complex series, with more elements or symbols, I take my time framing compositions. That’s because certain concepts are focused in themes relative to mankind’s relationship with nature or humans actions and interactions. In those cases I make several drawings and write down my ideas in a piece of paper, before using my oil paints.

​Born in Bolivia, completing studies in Chile, and now a resident of Canada, your works are featured in exhibitions throughout major cities in the US, Brazil, as well as in Hong Kong and Europe: Paris, London, Copenhagen. How has it all affected your art? Do you believe there are no borders in art?

My works during the first years of my career, from 1986 to 1992, reflect a strong influence of baroque art and Andean artists of the XVI and XVII centuries of my country. I think there is a long process of change afterwards... It took about 5 to 8 years. When I travelled to Chile in 1992, I wanted to be more experimental with my artwork. I did a workshop for four months working just in color. I just wanted to improve that. I decided not to take academic art classes. I wanted to focus on my work with my own vision. That way I felt free to express and work without boundaries. That’s from 1992 to 2000. I was exploring other methods while working on series like Apocalypse, Magical Altiplano and Angels and Archangels. I stopped working on that last one in 2007.

Despite everything, art is universal if elements, characters or symbols are expressed in a universal language.
​Your painting “Energy of the Future” is an egg. How do you define the future and how do you see its relationship with regards to the past?

It's difficult to predict the future when we witness the present loaded with changes especially for mother nature because of the accelerated progress of humanity. It’s all about building cities of concrete structures, cutting off forests and destroying natural habitats. The egg symbolizes nature’s fragility. We take away and do not give back any retribution. In the past we used to hear of the effects of global warming. Irreversible. Now we see and feel the results.

Do you like to explain your paintings or do you prefer others giving their opinions, even if they are different from your ideas?

Personally I don't like to explain my paintings. I'm sure when the viewers have their own interpretations; it makes it more interesting and exciting... That is the mystery of art…. It gives us the opportunity to explore and play with several meanings.

In your paintings and sculptures you combine features of animals with human bodies. Also, we have noticed you like bold colors, words.  Is every detail symbolical or not always?

Combinations of human bodies with animals or faces with strange mutations are a result of constant explorations in multiples possibilities. They are part of the journey and the changes mentioned earlier. I don't know yet what is coming next and that's part of the creativity process. I use bold colors to intentionally enhance and make the main subject stand out. Words to give a glimpse of my ideas…

Music plays in the background of your website. Do you think that a combination of such details increases interest in your art?

Music is part of my life. I started listening to progressive rock when I was twelve. As time went by, I have learned I love classical music, modern jazz, progressive jazz, fusion jazz  and new age. I’ve found a perfect accomplice in music. It helps with creativity: generating images, creating an environment, producing works, reproducing feelings.

You have a number of Untitled Works? Is it a struggle to pick the best title or do you simply choose to say nothing more than what you paint on your canvas?   

I think some works present multiple options for the viewer to generate a number of interpretations. Sometimes the meaning is the same but with variations.

Who has been your number one mentor in your artistic life?

My uncle Enrique Suaznabar. He's a professional photographer. He has motivated me to draw from an early age. He provided me with supplies. He has documented my paintings in slides and photographs from early stages of my career. He has always had faith in me.

What is your main advice to a talented young artist? What do you think is the main key of success nowadays?

My advice to a talented young artist:

1- Always believe in yourself: use your creativity and have an open mind. 

2- Work hard and with discipline. 

3- Do not settle and try to work through different perspectives to reach a wider audience.

4- Make good use of social media and the internet to promote your artwork.

5- Knock on as many doors as possible until a window of opportunity opens up.

I believe the key to success is perseverance, originality and discipline. But again, believe in yourself.


The Art of Marcelo Suaznabar
by Hoc Doc Magazine
New York - USA