Calo Carratalá is an artist with a deep love for landscape, particularly snow covered mountain peaks, where he is drawn to their magnificence, unpredictable weather and sense of solitude. Calo will be exhibiting a new series of paintings with First Contemporary at The Affordable Art Fair London in Hampstead from 16th – 19th June. We caught up with Calo in his studio to find out more about his process and what influences his work.
Born in Valencia in 1959, Calo studied Fine Art at the Real Academia de Bellas Artés de San Carlos and at the Spanish Royal Academy in Rome. He has won numerous Spanish awards for painting and in 2014 won the Gold Medal at the 75th Exposición Internacional Artes plásticas Valdepeñas (International Exhibition of Fine Arts).
Calo is passionate about the outdoors and the excitement felt when surrounded by the imposing peaks of near inaccessible mountains. Each year Calo waits patiently for the first flutters of snow before heading into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada to seek out new inspiration for his work. Preferring to paint in his studio, Calo draws on his memories and experiences of being in this mountainous terrain to create his paintings:
“When I am in the mountains I can feel the lonesomeness and magnificence of this place. And when I am in my studio, I am reminded of these feelings while drawing and painting them.”
Calo’s artistic influences span from the Old Masters such as Velazquez, Murillo, Zubarán, Turner, Reynolds and Constable, to more contemporary artists including, Richard Diebenkorn, Lucien Freud, David Hockney and Anselm Kiefer. Similarly, Calo describes his painting practice as sitting between the traditional and the contemporary:
“I’ve been painting landscapes for over 20 years and agree that my paintings have something about Romanticism. However, the big difference between the romantic painters and the modern day painters attracted by landscapes is that, when the old masters painted landscapes it was to discover nature and actually now we have nature to protect. I paint my landscapes following the traditional way and at the same time add something new.”
In 2013-14 Calo showed a collection of his paintings in Centro del Carmen, one of the most important cultural centres in Valencia, commissioned by Consorcios de Museos (the Consortium of Museums). Titled ‘Noruega 2011’, this was a new collection of his work, all inspired by a journey in Norway. And in 2010 Calo was commissioned by Generalitat Valenciana to create a series of forest drawings for the Mercat underground station in Alicante. The pieces were designed to fit the station providing a dialogue between the work and space.
You can see more of Calo Carratalá’s paintings on his artist page.