Well not quite, just an unassuming Spaniard who was encouraged to visit Ireland for the first time this summer – and Ireland did not disappoint.
Born in Seville, Spain 1966, Fernando Velazquez is a contemporary abstract painter renowned for his highly personal vision of the world around him. Fernando’s works feature worlds of the unknown, the inexplicable, yet they are able to relate to audiences who attach their own emotion and extract their own meaning from nature and art. His paintings are never silent.
It is this extraordinary view of nature that excites Emma Rhys Thomas of the Art of Confidence, who’s raison d’etre is to promote ‘pop-up’ events in unusual locations around the UK and Ireland, raising questions about the value of art and public perception. Not the type of value with a price tag, but the value to the well-being of the viewer. Can being in the presence of art make you feel connected with the self? Can viewing art build confidence and understanding. Testing these hypotheses is the very reason for the art installations in places that may reach an unsuspecting audience. Fernando’s paintings are ideal material for the project and so a new collaboration has been born.
Armed with paintings from the Velazquez “Transvoid” series 2022, lighting, stands, the tool box for every eventuality and accompanied by The Glas Studio duo, Harry and Elise, for the photography and production expertise, the latest installation was set. Location: Ireland’s Copper Coast, in particular the strand near the beautiful small harbour of Boatstrand.
It is common to see sculptures and objects of art in the great outdoors but less so paintings. What would placing paintings in the natural environment do to enhance either the painting or the setting? It may sound a little conceited, but what happened there reinforced the belief in the power of physical art. Firstly, both environments sang out, highlighting a dialogue between Fernando Velazquez’s work and nature. The rocks revealed their multiple complexity of shape and colour, the defining lines of sea and sand stood out. The paintings themselves appeared intensified.
Secondly, a new public, away from the commercial gallery, had an opportunity they were not expecting. Drawn to the newly created arena by curiosity, with no pre-conceptions or expectations, the audience experience appeared to be very positive, engaging with both artist and paintings, the creation of a memory. Just may be, the experience will encourage further investigations of art in more traditional spaces; museums or galleries (which can sometimes feel intimidating) building confidence in the viewer! Imagine also, if the painting had been bought and installed in a home environment: the viewer has a deeper response – to the work itself and also of the memory; the rocks the sea the strand and how they perceived the painting the very first time. This enrichment in appreciation is the added value!
Currently seeking representation in Ireland, Fernando has had to date a long and distinguished career. He has held solo shows in London, New York and Madrid and has collaborated with The Ormeley Dinner, The Aspinall Foundation, Rosenberg & Kaufman Gallery and Universal Records. Awards and features include International Art Prize Artzine and inclusion in “Interviews with Artists”, promoting the best of Contemporary Art around the world.
Fernando Velazquez will be exhibiting at the Florence Biennale 2023.
Emma is the director and instructor at Art of Confidence Ltd, encompassing ‘the garage door gallery’.
Whilst not a gallery in the traditional sense of the word, we aim to reach a diverse, broad audience, building confidence in the viewer whilst crossing social and cultural boundaries. Direct personal engagement with art creates a physical power which speaks louder than print or technology. It is this physicality which is of great interest in respect of posture (and the attitudes embedded therein), confidence and self-esteem: – areas that are of the utmost importance for well-being and mental health.
Emma runs the Art of Confidence Studio. She believes attending to posture heals the body – our vital communication channel. This awareness of self, she believes, is the most important relationship in our lives.
“Exploring the relationship between dynamic posture and confidence using equipment-based Pilates, The INSKN method, teaching posture and delivering ‘out of context experiencing’ (not to be confused with ‘out of your comfort zone’!) is what we do”.
For collaboration with Emma on new installations or enquiries regarding Fernando’s work, contact her at email@example.com