Born in Valencia, Spain, Andrés Ferrandis studied at the University of La Laguna and received his MFA in painting from the University of Seville in 1997.
The following interview was conducted on December 17, 2016.
Ashley Casillas: Can you start off by stating your name, where you are from and where you practice your art?
Andrés Ferrandis: My name is Andrés Ferrandis, I was born in Valencia, Spain. And then I studied at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife in Seville, not in Valencia. And when I finished my master’s degree in Seville I traveled from different places in Spain as Mallorca, San Luca de Barrameda, I was living six months in each place. I wanted to discover some kind of relation with landscaping like abstract landscaping. Well I thought of art as painting at that time; I thought that art was landscaping, portraiture, and still life. So I was very focused on the idea of light, of landscaping. So for me, this way of doing mental landscaping was discovering my path into painting. That is why I was very into the landscape painting, into the light, into the color.
I was traveling in some different places in Spain and then I traveled to Havana, in Cuba, where I lived for a year. And I did research on silkscreen and some other techniques that I applied to painting later. Then I moved to Costa Rica and then from there I moved to Miami and New York but I decided to go to Miami because it was easy. At that time, it was like 2000, it was easy to be in Miami because it was cheap. I wanted to be in New York but New York was like six times more expensive, it was cold, it was difficult.
When I arrived to Miami, I found that all was really easy. And then all the fairs came, and Art Basel came in town and then Art Miami and it was a growing city and for an artist and that was really good. I used to have a very nice studio, cheap, the weather was fantastic and I met a lot of really nice people. So I decided to stay in Miami and it is where I have lived since.
I live in Miami, I have been there for the last two years. I do six to seven months in Miami, three four months in Mexico and two months in Spain. The reason I am going through Mexico so often is because through Patricia and some other friends I discovered it is like a place where you can still have a relation with tradition. I am really in the sense of the way of expressing myself, I need to have a connection with earth, the painting with the clay with the vases.
So on my first trip I discovered this amate paper that they do from the bark of the trees and it is handmade and it is beautiful and I decided to use this paper. That is a basic thing. It is not digital, it is very raw, very traditional. When I discovered this paper, I could feel earth, I could feel the hand of the artisan, I could feel these feelings that I was trying to find. And now I am using the most sophisticated prints on the market that is like the flat screen that prints also white color and it is amazing how the ink gets into the amate paper.
So why am I doing that? Because, once again, I wanted to use the very traditional paper with the most sophisticated technique to connect two different worlds.
One day, I saw a very random scene that was a guy in Sonora, a very old man in Sonora and he had an iPhone6, talking by Face Time with his grandson that as in Mexico City. And there was this may with his goats in the countryside. I said to myself, look at this man here with his straw hat and his hands worn from work in the country but he has this device of latest technology in his hand. It was a very surreal sight.
So I started to look for connections to all that is traditional with the new and with technology, I proposed to do this new series with amate paper and a very sophisticated printing machine.
AC: The interesting thing about Mexico is that you do see those extremes everywhere in life. You go to the market and you can see many extremes of color, texture, sound, lifestyle, so I guess you are getting a lot of influence from being there.
AF: Well I come from Spain and I am used to going to the market to buy fish, to go cook, and I am used to going to the shoemaker, and the carpenter… we are losing this tradition but in Mexico it is really still there.
AC: Speaking of Spain, I would like to go back a little bit and ask you how Valencia and your travels throughout Spain influenced your artistic perspective.
AF: I don’t think Valencia influenced me at all. I think the nomadic situation of my life has influenced me a lot. Moving from one place to another. Being very curious. My eyes are always starving for information. It’s crazy but I really need to see and to get into the place. In a way, I visually find the beginning of things. I need to register through my vision, through my eyes. I need to register how things start.
Going to places and finding interesting history is a way of living for me. Like when I go to Mexico, when I was in Argentina, when I lived in Cuba, with nothing, you could do anything with nothing. I remember there were cars that had refrigerator pads on the engines and the little kids build cars of tin cans. So it was like through necessity, you get creativity.
When I am on the streets of Mexico City, I feel like I could build an infinite possibility of expression with no digital or closed media, like first world kind of expression. I am not against video or photography, but I am a very craft and manual person like maybe related with the way we do things in Spain. But I don’t think it has been basic to be a Spaniard. I think it has been really based in travel and to see different places and the way they create with basic materials. The cultural Spanish situation from Latin America and my traveling has been more influential than the fact of me being born in Valencia.
Ashley Casillas: When I look at some of your artwork, it looks like a moment suspended in time, it has a romantic sense to it.
Andrés Ferrandis: For me to paint, or to express something is to capture one moment of time. So if you think about the idea, I discovered this concept five or six years ago that I always put the titles of my paintings or my work from things that happened during the period of time of the process of making the piece. It is not something that is before or after but rather something that happens in the moment. During that period of time that I am creating this piece, something happens. I am very versatile. I do design, I work with architects, and then I am changing the way I am painting now because then it was more constructed before and now it is more expression. I am using my hands again to paint. But I always do painting some design now I am doing clay. I don’t want to classify myself as a painter. It has begun to grow over the last five years, from the last five years to now.
AC: It seems like you are having a kind of evolution in your expression where your concepts remain but you’re using different mediums to explore and grow.
AF: I think that is correct because now, for instance, in that series I was creating in Mexico, or rather, what I was doing, because I don’t like the word create, for me it’s too heavy. I was creating these pieces, my idea was to create something on amate paper that is very beautiful, earthy, real paper, and then I realized I wanted to do drawings with these papers, I wanted to draw.
In the beginning I had the samples of the papers, but I didn’t know what to really accomplish on the paper. I had the idea, but I couldn’t see the finalized idea. So I started by drawing. I created three series. The first series was called “Música hecha por mujeres,” that is “Music Made by Women” because I was listening to this piano player and it was like, the way they touch, ting-ting-ting-ting, the sensation, because it is abstract, it is not figurative, there is a narrative in it but I like to express something that you cannot identify unless it is inside of you. It is very emotional, you don’t recognize ideas, you don’t recognize figures, and you don’t recognize visions of things. You have more of the intention of creating something very particular in your brain that comes from sensations emotions feelings and it is very musical.
This new series is very musical. So I started painting the fingerprints with black acrylic paint and I started doing this like on the piano, ting-ting-ting-ting, no? So all of these little dots because if you look closely, they are not dots, they are blurred hexagons, because the hexagon is, the shape is more similar to the tip of the finger.
So in order to unify it more, I blurred it.
Then I did another series that was the touch of the fingers from the piano, came to another series that is called “La lluvia, el alma, la noche,” because they were pieces made by night, also, there is a musical reference in the air, above all else because when I was in the market, there was an enormous puddle where raindrops fell, where the fell so softly like pin-pon. It was a rain that fell in the puddle like pin-pan-choon.
And so it fell and there were these waves, expansive, these curves, these waves. They were organic and round and before this series I was thinking about doing things that were very organic. I tell you all of this because it seems correct that I try to capture a space determined in time. Time is a thing that captivates me and I see it completely identified in the landscape, for that reason I am so into the theme of light.
But I tell you, in this new series, everything is changing a little. I am not a painter. I am doing these prints, flat prints on amate paper. But what I like is to express myself – express myself through color and through light.
AC: That’s really exciting. You are opening doors slightly so we can look in and have a peek.
AF: In the show it is going to be a very reduced show, it will be an installation of the idea and it will be a framed piece. But it will be something really short.
AC: What do you hope a viewer will receive by looking at your art?
AF: You know I am not political; I am not trying to make some statement about a political, social, or sexual situation. I am static. I am basically an aesthetic and sometimes what I use to catch the attention of the spectator is that. Precisely the shape of the color, the idea of what is for me art.
I am not dumb. I know about geography and politics, I am a curious person, I travel I am educated. But for me art has a lot to do with aesthetic. Well done, well interpreted. For me, to be aesthetical is to be neat, to be precise; to be beautiful is something very interesting. I believe it is something that it becoming lost.
I want things to be as beautiful as possible. I don’t use any trick to captivate the spectators’ attention. To capture the attention of a spectator is to gather the sensations that go beyond.
Time, light, color; what is more beautiful than that?