Today I’m happy to share some recent sculptural work by Javier Torras Casas, who currently lives and works in London after recently completing an MA at University of the Arts London (UAL): Wimbledon College of Arts. Originally from Barcelona, he moved to London because it was important to be in a centre of artistic and academic energy. “London stands out for its academic institutions, and that gives you the chance to delve into very interesting subjects for your own research,” he explains.
A student of art history and painting, it was actually Torras Casas’ sculptures in which I could most clearly make out the influence of a classical style of anatomical study. In line with an interest in the human form, especially from a classical perspective, he will have some paintings on view at Cook House Gallery at Chelsea College in November as part of a collaboration with dancers and choreographers. I asked him just a few questions about his education and practice.
So what made you pursue an MA?
When I was doing my BA in art history I had an urgent need to no just see and learn from the masters in art, but also to develop my own ideas in painting. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be an artist, there I could find the right balance between developing ideas through writing, practice and experimentation. Then it was clear to me that I had to meet other artists in order to find advise in the way I was developing my artistic research. An MA in a good university like UAL, would broaden my knowledge in the current art scene as well prepare me as an artist, being able to approach my work with critical eyes. Both my peers and tutors at Wimbledon College have helped me to reach certain maturity in my artistic practice.
You mentioned studying painting, but you appear to also be very interested in sculpture and form. Where did that interest spring from?
I chose to do an MA Painting because painting was the most familiar technique to me. I started handling the brushes since really early in my childhood. Nevertheless there was an imminent interest in sculpture as well, which probably sprang from my admiration for the sculpture of the old masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth century in Italy. Michelangelo and Bernini were my examples to follow, and they still are, the drama and inner turmoil of their sculptures is shown in its best moment, there is no abuse of forms or pretension whatsoever. There, I find perfect expression combined with a real understanding of the materials used by the artist. Other interests in materials and space have led me to the path of sculpture, towards an experimental approach when being engaged with materials of all kind as well as when shaping the space.
What do you feel is the most valuable thing you learned during your art education?
I think it is the importance of being oneself and perusing one’s own interests with respect and consideration for the others. Respect, because you need to have personality and human values and that needs to be reflected when talking with other people about art, your practice, their practice, etc. always being respectful but without ceasing to be yourself. That does not mean to not consider other people’s opinion, it has been very useful for my practice to hear critiques on my work.
What do you think is the most daunting thing about going out into the “real world” and trying to make it as an artist after university?
I think it is the fact of trying to find your way in the art world without the support of an art institution, within which you are somehow safe, you know the beginning and end of your period there. Whereas when you are not in such system, everything depends on what you do, in a sense that you need to get in touch with a gallery in order to get your works displayed or you need to try to promote your work in many ways via internet or via calling and meeting people. An artists has to have entrepreneurial skills apart from his abilities as an artist now a days.
What do you consider to be the most challenging part(s) of being an artist that you’ve encountered or overcome?
The most challenging parts sometimes are related to the development of an artwork, many times during this year I had worked on a piece of art for a long time but I could not make it work. It is very difficult to get rid of things that involve the creation of an artwork, specially when you have been working for many hours. But finally, when you do get rid of that thing you were so much attached to, things start to get better.
And what about your biggest accomplishment or moment of success?
I think it has been the final MA exhibition at the beginning of this month. I did not just have a very good feedback from other people but also other opportunities have risen from the interest that my artworks awoke in other people.
You can find more examples of the artist’s work and further information at javitorras.com.
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