Enrique Avilez – Art from Earth and Sky
My art studio is a two-story building, in the upper part I have large windows, overlooking the sky and the sea, in front of a fishing village. Every day the fishermen go out in small boats to bring fish, oysters and lobster, they are my friends: they bring me coral, shells, fossils and interesting objects that they found in the Pacific Ocean; I have other friends who produce wine in Ensenada, Baja California, they provide me with dried grape vines, especially those with whimsical shapes.
In Baja California the variety of soils is very diverse, thanks to this I can get dry cactus fibers and granite sand from the desert, moldable earth [clay] from the streams, excellent quality mud: in the mountains, with a lot of vegetation, when decomposes the organic matter of leaves, trees and animals, the mud is the best over the years; I also like to visit the places where they break cars and recycle metal because I find all sorts of objects with a lot of character, old nails, pieces of machines, compressed iron, many of those objects or pieces it is difficult to know what was their original function, but their beauty it is in the seal of human intelligence and in the mark that leaves life and time in things. I find beauty everywhere, gardeners are also my friends, they prune trees, plants and take out roots that for me are a treasure. All those objects and materials I keep in jars, in boxes and some others I like to see them every day at my desk, until they conjugate in my mind, I never know when that magical moment will happen in which I lose the notion of time and a sculpture is born that for me is also a surprise.
When the time comes for making great artworks, I am always doing something, trying something, learning new techniques or perfecting the techniques I already know, implementing general knowledge of human anatomy, art, history, human behavior and of some other species.
I have spent 30 years dedicating myself to art as a lifestyle, I am 50 years old, I find this life to be wonderful, in essence everything happens on the planet earth regardless of all the fantasies of the Greek gods, all cultures and science fiction characters , the earth is the great mother, the only house, every blade of grass is a miracle, the flight of birds absolutely wonderful, the creative power of humans amazing.
I like to create with organic and recycled elements to rescue the essentials of life, we need the land to live, we are part of that organic matter that is transformed forever into something new.
On the other hand, the struggle to stimulate, competitiveness for the lie of being number one is the counterpart that evidently destroys the planet with wars, poverty and ecological damage because we have forgotten that we only have one planet to live on, only one house in the universe.
When people see my sculptures they are surprised by the unusualness of the material, some see it as mud and trash, the vast majority see poetry, others see what we are made of, I like it when people say “They are alive!” projection of their emotions and beliefs in material as humble as the raw earth seems to me a window to compassion and respect for life, all life.
In some parts of the planet the soil is so damaged, polluted, that no plants or flowers grow anymore, in these places my sculptures are very valuable, not so much for the art, but because the mud/clay I use is virgin, fertile soil; what is paradoxical is that perhaps one day these earth sculptures will be jealously guarded in a museum of natural history of the planet and not in an art museum.
The transmutation of consciousness has beauty when respect happens to places, flora and fauna that are the balance of our own lives.
On the ground floor of my art studio, on top of the main door there is a window I have a piece of fusing glass that measures 2′ x 2′ x 1/2″, after 3 p.m. a beautiful light enters that changes intensity until it disappears when the sun is hidden. On cement and wood walls I have built different levels of shelves to place books, containers with brushes and spatulas, also in the high parts of the shelves I have sculptures in process, rolls of paper with drawings and sketches. The main work table is 3 ‘high and a surface of 4’x4′, the objects and materials that move on the table are always changing, cohabiting and saying goodbye with drills, flexometers, screws and tool boxes that go up and down, Sometimes, the table fills so much with a lot of stuff that it is necessary to clarify and decide, as we do with thoughts [when we think].
In the process of creation there are no rules, sometimes that apparent chaos is necessary, one night can be enough to turn all the elements, everything can happen at the same time: the crying, the madness, the joy, the love and a sculpture is born.
Coral pieces of recycled metal, computer parts, appliance parts, dried leaves, barks, sea shells, wooden blocks, maps of different cities stapled on the walls and some important publication or upcoming commitment on striking color paper, a piece of broken ceramic plate that I found in a bazaar, which has a truly inspiring grape painting on it. On the highest shelf, a 2 ‘tall woman-sculpture sits on a cube, has a crossed leg, while her arms rest, her neck keeps her head firmly erect with her gaze fixed on the distant horizon of the sea visible through the window.