We talk to Valencia-born artist Paco Vila Guillén about his influences, his travels and the hidden clues in all living things.
Paco Vila Guillén is a Spanish artist and visual poet whose work is a hypnotising mix of the intricate, obsessive and repetitive. Winner of many national and international art prizes, including first prize in the Ideaborn art contest in Barcelona in 2015, he is inspired, among other things, by the minutiae of nature.
When was the moment that you knew you would become an artist?
Ever since I remember I have had a pencil, a pen, a brush or whatever it takes to make art in my hands. As a child, I always preferred to dismantle the toys that were given to me and create my own by mixing the pieces.
Is it easy to switch off from the instinctive desire to create?
I feel the need to be creative all of the time. I paint, draw, write and make visual poetry. Being self-taught is a hard way to be an artist but I took that path in trying to avoid what I call ‘artist factories’.
What is the key inspiration for your work?
My art is all about abstract patterns and automatic drawing. All that nature offers has always attracted me. Looking very closely at the surface of plants, algae, fungi, all kinds living things, brings us an infinite world of patterns, forms and shapes. An artistic mind can find all of those hidden clues and unveil them to create beautiful things that bring the viewer joy. I consider the artist to be a kind of translator of that unknown language that it is everywhere and in everything, making it accessible to the public.
Tell us more about how your travels have influenced your work.
Ethnic art is my other main influence. America, Africa and Australia are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. During a trip to the Navajo reservations in Arizona 25 years ago, I had the opportunity to see in person the ancient symbols and graphics painted on the rocks and stretched animal skins. I started the dot and line paintings right there, only to discover later on that what I was doing was quite similar to the techniques of aboriginal Australian artists.
What is the purpose of art for you?
Since travelling to Australia, my dot paintings, lines and graphic patterns all have meaning to me. They heal me from the stresses of everyday life. Art is more than a necessity for me, it is medicine. I feel really happy when an observer or a collector tells me that they experience the same feeling when they see my work. We must not forget that art in any of its forms always makes this world a better place.
Fortunately, Spain has a reasonable number of art contests. I’ve been playing my chances and winning some prizes and, as a result, I have many pieces of my work spread all over official and private collections in Spain: councils, town halls, local museums, private corporate collections, etc. You can find some of my paintings and drawings too in private collections in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, and many European countries.