An Open Letter About Art by Fernando Olea

fernando-olea-artist-avatarWhen I talk about art, I am not sure if I am in agreement with “talking about my art.” It is relative and irrelevant. What could I think or say about my art? Imagine that I said: “This is a marvelous art work that Fernando Olea has accomplished. He has emphasized in a formidable way the warm tones, giving a sensation of peace and harmony.” Ridiculous, right? I would prefer then, to talk about art as one of my passions and not as one of my feats.

Because practically every person sees and feels art in a totally different way, I could say that art, and how to see art, is simply subjective. Now, there is something in common with practically every person. Who doesn’t like art? I don’t think I have found yet a person who didn’t like art. Interesting, right? Every person has a deep love for art of one kind or another, somewhere inside.

The equation of art seems fairly simple. The artist produces what he/she likes or what he or she had chosen. The art lover then, buys or accepts what he/she likes. Both poles seeks a connection. Then, there is the art critic. In my viewpoint, he’s out of the equation. Critics simply don’t contribute absolutely in any aspect of art. For example, one can read a movie review. The movie, as per the critic, is a disaster, although one could consider that movie pretty good. The critic’s voice, in my opinion, is merely a noise. Nor has it contributed to make a better movie. It hasn’t either helped the spectator, because each person creates his own opinion about it. When I watch a movie, I want to form my own opinion. When I go to an art museum or when listening to music, I don’t need someone to tell me what I should like, accept or dislike.

Then there is the question: Who are my favorite painters? It’s a difficult question. Generally, I answer with another question. Which art movement are we talking here? It would be very difficult to compare Peter Paul Rubens with Picasso. How can we compare them if there are two entirely different art movements represented! I have favorite artists by eras or art movements.

I do have favorites for certain art movements, but not all of them. I love art from Impressionism and earlier. Those masters used to paint a lot of people and landscapes in an exceptional way.

My love for art started at an early age. Obviously, I used to draw as a child, like any other child does. We all have this in our lives, at some point or another. Per my mother, at 4 years old I had “painted” our new apartment’s walls with Crayola. I cannot remember what thoughts had crossed my mind. Maybe the walls were too plain looking?

On one occasion, as school homework, I drew the Argentinian liberator, José de San Martín, using colors, highlights and shadows. The teacher saw it and she scolded me, saying that my parents weren’t supposed to help me with this particular homework. But I made it! I still remember that drawing today. Soon after, my mother felt that I might be able to express, focus and learn more at an art school. So, at the age of 8 years old, I went to my first local art school and learned drawing, painting and ceramics. Wow! That was fun!

Some years later, when I was 12 years old, I had to face the challenge of choosing my high school. There were several options. I considered most as a waste of time. Like the 5-year generic ones without any orientation in a specific profession until, it is time for university at 18-years of age. All right, the school I had chosen was a technical school: Raggio’s Municipal Technical Schools or as we used to call it “The Raggio.” The school’s approach was a 6-year study program, instead of 5‚ like in an average school. But not only that, the school’s program offered me 2 certificates upon completion: one as an Illustrator, the other one oriented to graphic design and advertising. So I took the Raggio’s way! What a joy to be able to learn academic drawing and painting in a school for more than 15 hours every week. Oh, except for my first teacher. She had suggested, in my first year there, that it would be a good idea for me to change my career, because I didn’t have any artistic talent. She even called my mother to convince her. Luckily, my mother stood her ground and shut her up by saying that I would continue with this career if that was what I wanted to do. Some rocks on the road can make a person stumble. Those rocks made me even stronger, knowing that I would need to put in additional effort in order to succeed in the subject with the mad teacher.

Something interesting about art is that the learning seems to never end. I really think that there doesn’t exist a limit for it. I am almost positive that this applies also to any other professional field. I am still learning art and I learn from other artists too. It is a passion and a big part of my life.