Talking with IRIS ART MAGAZINE, Portuguese figurative and abstract artist Natália Gromicho expressed her feelings coyly, “I am an irreverent person. I do not conform to what was done earlier. I do not follow the norms. I try to break them. I always try to find out what is yet to be born. To me, what is new is always much better than what already exists. My art is in a constant process of change. I refuse to practice repetitive copies of the same picture—to make my name from one work. This is one thing that I have not done in more than twenty years of my career.”
Elaborating, she said “Being an artist, my language has moved to a more Abstract phase. I want to have people thinking while they are looking at my works. An observer has a different role when watching my works—a key role.
“The observer will see what is inside this language of art. When I started, I dedicated my time to the draw. I was one of the best in my class. I learned all I could from my teachers but only now have I found my own way, in the language of art.”
Traveling inspires her. “Contacts with interesting people, facing weather changes, relishing different foods are great influencers. All of them affect my work. I also love the sunset. The end of the day in different countries makes me happy. So does socializing with other cultures. In fact, I get inspiration from everything and everywhere,” she admits happily.
Natália graduated in Fine Arts from the Faculdade de BelasArtes de Lisboa. She also studied Intensive Painting at the private ArCo School of Art in Lisbon, and studied ceramics in secondary school.
She is much impressed by Van Gogh and Picasso. She is also fond of Julio Pomar and Vieira da Silva from Portugal.
She is from a humble family.
“The first lesson I have been taught is that respecting other gets you respect. Since I could not afford the material to paint, I had to use whatever I had: paper, pencil and wood. When I got my first canvas when I was fifteen, I was tremendously happy. Portugal is a country with a lot of good artists but the government does not have interest in arts. It’s very difficult to be a full-time artist in my country.”
She somehow managed to have her first exhibition in 1995 along with a schoolmate, “. . . and from that day on, my life turned into what it is now.”
Natália’s favorite genre and style is Abstract. She wants to make her viewers think, and be a part of the work. “It’s quite a challenge to make the onlookers see what the artist wants them to find,” she says.
She patiently wants “to mark time. My aim is simple: to communicate in an art language that gets global attention. I create different collections, Figurative or Abstract.”
She complains, “It is very difficult in Portugal but not so in the rest of the world. Getting understood in countries like USA or in other countries of Europe is something that I am very happy about. Recently, in East Timor, I presented a collection of works for Human Rights, a mix of figuratives and abstract works, with a conducting link for the observer to understand what the thought behind is.”
To Natália, change is the name of the game. “I’m in a constant state of change. It’s a little difficult to have a precise time. I’m now passing to this more abstract communication, but at the same time, in my head I’m preparing some review works that I made in 1999.”
Natália smiles as she verbalizes another wave of thought:
“As my mood, I see my painting as my language. I normally use an expression that really defines me: ‘My art is my soul’ and it’s true. If you look through my years, you see happiness, sadness, hope, and some insanity.”
She would like to ask the art industry to give a little more respect to contemporary artists, and says, “As we know, art is a business like other businesses. The system must improve, and come up with better conditions for artists, to inspire them in their creative process. I would to see more residences for artists who travel and create their works without borders. We must also have an alternative market besides the common art fairs. I have great respect for contemporary artists who survive in this world.”
About her foreign travels, she articulates, “I have been to art events in many countries. I have been to Miami during the Art Basel 2013, to New York during Art Expo 2014, to Singapore during the Affordable Art Fair and to Lisbon during the Extint FIA. To me New York proved the best. I was very happy to meet good art collectors who liked my work. I will also be in my first auction in April this year in Singapore. Let’s see what is ready for that.” [This interview was taken in March.]
She is very happy with her present life, “But I wish that one day I would be living from my work in Portugal. My wish is to have my country become more dedicated to culture, besides Football, Fatima and Fado. We must also be proud of our contemporary art, music, theater and lots more.”
On art sale, she says, “It is good to see that the masters get such high prices for their work, but contemporary artists should also be able to survive. The industry must try to find a better way to create a management dedicated to contemporary art. It should also give them space to exhibit. I think there are more buyers who buy art not as an investment, but as a piece decoration. So the industry has a gap that can be filled by the contemporary art.”
Her curator in New York defines her: “A gifted painter in the purest sense, Natália has skillfully created a body of work that is lyrical and mysterious simultaneously, jubilant yet poetic.
“Employing these paradoxes, she skillfully applies her raw talent into different mediums and styles creating a sense of flux, depth and dominance. Natália’s work takes elemental images, from nature and the landscape to culture and individuals she encounters on her travels, and transforms using dramatic ploys such as contrasts in scale, shifts in focus, mirrored reflections, staccato images, and multiple or layered surfaces. Sensory perception for Natália is a spiritual activity, one that leads to a heightened awareness of both nature and culture-this thought process points to a new kind of realism—one that is engaged with the actual processes of life.
“Yet, it also references the theoretical avant-garde conceptions of deconstruction emerging during Modernism. Her work is intense, yet moving, powerful yet sensitive. Gathering her subjects in her field of vision, she draws on her inner world, inviting us to join her on a journey of discovery of the essence of being, depicting new truths of the meaning of existence. Drawing us into an enigmatic and luxurious world of imagination, seduction, and spirit, she creates organic shape and flowing shapely contours. Her luscious approach is inspired. Layered shapes and elegant color distinguish her recent body of work, executed in a strongly stylized painting method. The energy and vigor of her explosive portraits haunt the viewer with a dynamic juxtaposition of both playful, yet eerie implications.”
Her personal message to art enthusiasts worldwide is, “Don’t give up even if you think your destination is far away. Don’t stop scratching.”
She concludes, “My last wish is to have a Picasso in my house, to see it every day, to breathe it….”—KR