These Unfocussed Monochrome Paintings Mix Cinema with Canvas

Is an empty forecourt therapeutic? Does it unsettle you? What about a delicate porcelain foot? This uncanny line of dis/comfort is the one walked by Spanish artist Hugo Alonso throughout this series of acrylic airbrush monochrome paintings, each one depicting what seems to be a still from an unspecified arthouse short. Whilst Hugo works in a wide range of other media, including video installation, electronic music, and theatre visuals, his paintings in particular catch our eye for the unusually cinematic out-of focus effect he employs.

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Though currently based in Madrid, it was Hugo’s 90s youth in the town of Salamanca, nurtured on a diet of hip hop and graffiti, that he credits with shaping him into he man he is today – “not just in art,”he tells THE PLUS, “but in the way one analyzes life” too. 

The prizewinning work of this full-time artist, electronic music producer, and video-maker can be seen in public collections across Spain and public art fairs across the world. But however much you look, it’ll never quite come into focus.

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THE PLUS: How did this unfocused style develop, and what inspired it in the first place?
Hugo Alonso:
I think it’s an inherent property of the medium, similar to oil and the way it can be blended. I like things that are not obvious, or that even in their apparent simplicity can hide multiple meanings. 
 
TP: Much of your work is monochrome – why does this appeal to you?
HA:
It is distant enough. 
 
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TP: How do you go about creating a new work for the series?
HA:
I start thinking in images, constructing them, and finally painting. It depends in each case. A medium canvas is about one week of work. I usually paint with an airbrush, so the blur effect is very easy. 

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TP: You work in many different media, but what is it about painting that you find appealing?
HA:
Moving image and sound are like a punch in your brain, that’s indisputable, but the way a painting can seduce you has an unique and melancholic poetry. I think that’s why I paint.
 
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TP: Where do you think the cinematic angle of your painting comes from?
HA:
I did my thesis about the relationship between the histories of cinema and of painting. I enjoy cinema, and I use its imagery. Part of my work is about human feelings or psychological locations developed in films. 
 
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TP: There’s an unsettling element to the stories these paintings seem to tell – where do you think this darker side of your art comes from?
HA:
I wish I knew. But many people tell me they find my paintings very relaxing. 
 
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TP: How do you come up with the images themselves? What inspires each work?
HA: It depends, in some aspects it’s very similar to making music. It just happens because it has to. It chooses you.
 
TP: You’ve said in a past interview that today’s world is a virtual one; is this going to be a problem for art?
HA: I don’t know. I hope it will be.

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