Victor Payares and the mystery of existence

Victor Payares paintings are colorful, picturing a surrealistic world built up by parts form a story that has been broken into different pieces. As if to portray a memory or a dream – his paintings reach new dimensions in our minds that opens up our imagination. We spoke to Victor about his artistry and his inspiration in the mystery of existence.

Tell me about yourself!
– Tjena! I’m Victor and my middle name is Manuel. On a hot summer day in Havana when I was 9, I sat on a coconut as I drew quick profiles on the sidewalk with water from a puddle and watched them evaporate. A huge part of my fascination in capturing and materializing ideas is born out of that observation.

– I’m always open to good-humored occasions where the discrepancy between subjects such as, hard and soft, heavy and light, virtual-reality and random-order can be appreciated.


What is your background?
– I was born on Cuba in the aforementioned city, the same summer the Atocha wreck was discovered, July 12, 1985, haha. I emigrated Cuba for Miami with my family during the “Special Period” and grew up there, amongst the hundreds of thousands of Cubans that made the same voyage. Later on I moved to New York City.

Tell me about your art!
Have you ever tried to stonewall a wave? Chop it? Slash it? Pierce it? Sometimes I think in these terms when considering my position as a painter in history.

– I think my work seeks ways of simulating memories through distributed arrangements of information involved in representational painting. I see myself as an explorer, painting from memory and ready-made images I find in old magazines and blogs, I respond to these by painting them in different situations and dimensional spaces that lead to new convictions. Coming across accidents created by chance during the employment of an image is always an adventure. For me, something useful always comes out of compositional problems, investigation enables me to let loose and tie-in with a whole new group of operations that resolve and perpetuate the charm painting embodies.

– I feel like almost every new painting demands unique memory-mapping since the initial vision of a work does not always result in the same pseudo-conscious approach. That is, when confronting a blank canvas, I may need to tackle the idea or narrative, which I would like to convey in a completely different manner than before.


What is your inspiration?
– My inspiration sort of, lays in the mystery of existence which visual language can manifest.

– Painting has a therapeutic property that is extremely attractive for me and is always stimulating. I find the finesse of paint as a material so seductive, the medium has no chill in decision-making, and as a result, the process of paint handling constantly presents new problems, which set the stage for inspiration.


How does the process of making your art look?
It can vary depending on my intention, but being open to shifting work methods is important for me. Occasionally, In consequence of alternating between formal and spontaneous approaches, routine is eliminated, favorably exploring unusual models of figurative as well as abstract painting.

– I can’t really say I have linear processes, its always fluxing and I feel this allows for new influences to continually enter the work.


What is the main medium that you are working in?
– I work mainly in acrylic, oil and spray paint.

Your work contains a lot of color; do you have any thoughts on that?
Some colors tend to feel rather conflicting on a painting than in, for example, a school bus. I guess appreciating color is intimately connected to experience and perhaps I am drawn to brighter tones because I am from the tropics. The fullness, lightness, liveliness and stimulatory nature different colors produce can affect someone’s day; at least for a little while.

– Oh, hang on. Cool. My grandma Dulce just wrote to me on Facebook, and this reminds me of how some colors even radiate. She is a former professional ballerina and has been painting recently with such relevance. The characters in her work procure a type of force-field by the way in which they are painted, they communicate movement very naturally. Color can supplement the parallel between a feeling and a gesture, therefore its quite significant.


What does your work picture?
I am interested in domestic spaces and the objective of windows. Squiggles made on fogged glass subsequently add through removing, hence a paradox, which mediates another layer of perception by blurring sections of the groundwork I meticulously painted. This isn’t exactly the life of the party but I try to give equal value to whatever I am depicting in most cases.


What are you working on with at the moment?
– At the moment I’m working on a series of paintings that vary in scale and color palette but share the same subject matter. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which elements are in control of the paintings dynamic, it feels like trying to hold on to water.

Victor Payares lives and work both i Gothenburg and in New York. Find more of his work here.

Photography by Fredrik Andersson Andersson