JUNE, 01 • 2023
Ulpiano Carrasco - "The Map of Peace", Mixed media on canvas, 120x160cm

Is this passage to abstractionism the result of an artistic journey or is it due to a specific event or a change of perspective?

The primordial tendency has always been abstraction, it is a way of being and thinking since birth, like the color of the eyes or any other peculiarity of our body. More than abstraction, abstract expressionism is my way of thinking of art .
Why? Because when I work my mind is totally free, so that nothing external can stop the connection with the emotions. When this happens in my body there are deep feelings, from joyful and pleasant to sad and melancholic, physically I smile, I cry, I get goosebumps.
While the work grows, expressionism becomes more important, and there, in that state which is the closest to mind control, I discover what my brain was hiding. So I try to strengthen this emotion, drawing it and highlighting the colors, with great caution to avoid damaging the essence.
I always worked like this when I was a child, but, because of my curiosity and my love for research, I wanted to learn drawing with long strokes, without lifting the pencil from the paper, as Picasso used to do, to master the perspective, to dialogue with veils and textures trying to know everything about the executions of art, especially from the great baroque (Velázquez and Rembrandt) through the rich impressionist school.

Are these abstract paintings a full novelty or have you experienced this kind of subject in the past already?

My first contact with abstract expressionism happened at the age of 6 years when, fortunately, my teacher told me to make a colorful drawing without giving me anything to copy. This left my imagination free and I felt like a painter, since that moment I clearly understood that I was a painter because I could say what I thought without problems. It was my language, far from mathematics, literature or any kind of history other than art. Other teachers later on forced me to copy drawings of all kinds which I realized perfectly, always with personality, but they missed that magical halo that is inside our brain.
When I was 18, I discovered the work of Spanish informalist painters very closely in the Spanish Abstract Art Museum in Cuenca. It was like meeting my philosophy of life . I started a series of two hundred extremely material works, sometimes twenty centimeters of material. My parents' house turned into a crowded warehouse until they needed to move my works aside to walk through the rooms. One bad day I decided to destroy them all except "Mummy", this work contained so many emotions that getting rid of her was like a suicide.
I started then, at 21, a series of paintings on canvas without stretcher, almost all in large size, 200x200 cm and 200x120 cm. They were expressionist works, with a certain touch of abstraction. Versions of "The Three Graces" by Rubens and huge size little men realized with wild strokes, a kind of Willem de Kooning style but without colors: only black, white and brown.
When I was 24 I made my first exhibition and I focused on the landscapes and the aim to sell. I started a long period of landscape research , sixteen years. I wanted to learn how to paint my land (sometimes the closest is the most authentic): I painted for four or five years around the same theme. I learned its secrets, which make it recognizable in any culture. It was a challenging task because it is very difficult to reinterpret the theme of landscape in a personal way (a lot has already been done), but I succeeded, without making frills with the flowers or games of style versus other painters.
When I found the secrets of my personality reflected in a landscape, I stopped painting directly  on the field and locked myself in the workshop to squeeze my mind thinking of that same landscape.
The premises were the same: to give freedom to my brain and continue the work in the direction the galleries and the critics allowed me, turning it into a beautiful landscape, yes, with personality and power.
When I was 40, the rebellion knocked at my door again. I left the landscape and focused on a completely abstract, three-year series . It was characterized by insistence on ascending, trying to climb something unknown: "Ladder to Heaven", "Ladder and Throne", etc. Here the color returned to the roots: black, white and red. I abandoned it for reasons of power, "you will paint what you will have left from others" is what galleries, critics and collectors used to repeat.
I returned to landscape with a new creative impulse, rich in material and color, quite formalist and I was again a "good boy", obedient and respectful of money.
Anyway, I want to say that I created a unique landscape, without compromise, without owing anything to anyone and always respecting the essence of my primary condition.

If we analyze the "Walking Paint" series, it looks a little bit like the meeting point between figurativism and abstractionism (as the title also suggests) the idea of "Walking", of movement, of change.
Is it a correct interpretation, a necessary step towards abstraction in general, or is it the arrival point of this path only concerning the landscape?

For sure it is a moment of transition, of research for another form of manifestation without the will to totally break with the previous aesthetic.
An important landmark is the decision to do it without sky, which means abandoning perspective and relying more on composition and diction, too.
Little by little the intentions of reality disappeared thanks to the painting to walk, not to look at. " Walking Paint" gave me the tools to not lose my color, which I learned over the years, and to not fall again into black, white and red.

In some new paintings you changed the format. Is there a reason? Which is your favourite format for abstract painting?

I feel better with large formats . One of the important connotations of abstract expressionism is the large format.
When "Walking Paint" faded away, my mind asked me to deal with sizes in the two meters range. I decided to use 180x180 cm and I am very pleased, it’s like if, in that size, I could capture my emotions better.
I worked on smaller formats too, but, although the result is good, this gives me anxiety and it’s tremendously difficult to get rid of it.

Is there any difference in technique between the more figurative landscapes and these abstract ones?

I gave less importance to fluorescent colors, I only use them on specific details. I discovered gold and silver and I use them as a resource and a means of communication, they are each time more necessary to me and they rise to be a vehicle loaded with never ending sources of content. I also incorporated the gel to create small threads of color and transparencies, sometimes very textured.

Are the realization times of abstract works comparable with figurative ones?

The production is very similar, although in the new work the possibility of having everything falling apart is very big. When the painting decides not to work, I have to reject it and start it again . There are artworks I have to redo more than five times because they do not give any possibility of partial adjustments. The artwork has to work from the beginning, trying to recover it is useless, I can never connect with a past emotion. This causes a very stressful situation and continuous surveillance, I have to leave the workshop two days to succeed in disconnecting before falling into surrender, with both destroyed body and brain.

Is this transition to abstract art definitive or do you still intend to paint more figurative themes, perhaps keeping two parallel lines?

I can’t know for sure what my future will be. Now I need to do this work, it’s like a posthumous legacy of an artist. Time goes by inexorably for everybody. I’ve seen 70 or 80 years old painters trying to do the same work they used to do when they were 50, suffering like a factory worker, I won’t be one of them. I want to adjust my painting to my mental and physical capacity, I believe this will give me the opportunity to paint and to enjoy painting until the end.
I’ll be free, no matter what I’ll do, I just know I will do.

How do you choose the colors? What do they represent?

Even if it doesn’t show, I like not to choose the colors. Now I buy packages with thirty random colors, so I discover things I would never consider. Actually, I dismiss two or three of those thirty without specific reason.
I need colors to compose the emotional ensemble, their unions and encounters are very important for me. There must be a magic ticking to avoid eye painful shock results.
For me the color has no real meaning, I mean, I could paint with a single color and its tones, and quench my need to express. Although I prefer, since they exist, to use many to conjugate a rich and vital poetry almost always.