Today we’d like to introduce you to Alfredo de Batuc.
Alfredo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Before being fully verbal I was fascinated by printed images, especially line renderings of three-dimensional objects. I found them fascinating. I worshiped them. Somehow I got to believe that I too could re-create the three-dimensional magic found in print and, in my first efforts holding a pencil, I started trying my hand at attaining three-dimensionality.
At that time, I didn’t have the words to convey verbally the significance of my effort; still, I wanted the world (my family) to applaud me for such accomplishment. They failed to see the excellence of my drawing, all they saw was a nondescript doodle. That lack of appreciation around me didn’t keep me from keeping on keeping on. By the time I entered preschool, it was a known fact that I liked and could draw.
I continued drawing through elementary school, basically reproducing images, mostly from comic books. In the town where I lived in Mexico there were no museums and the art scene was embryonic, at best, yet I found ways to educate myself on art and to keep creating. Art making was, and is, a part of me whether I have an audience or not.
Once I moved to Los Angeles, I immediately started visiting art museums and galleries and quickly found Self Help Graphics. There at the suggestion of a fellow artist, I started to keep sketchbooks, a practice that I continue to this day. Getting the courage to break through my shell of shyness and self-doubt to start exhibiting in galleries took me a while longer.
Yet, although I’m still shy, I have been showing through the years even if along the way I have acquired more self-doubts.
Has it been a smooth road?
There’s no free lunch. My journey has not been just smooth sailing, I have had to plow through lots of rough patches. But nobody told me it was going to be easy. Many of the struggles are internal. It is paramount to come to terms with one’s inner demons. Easier said than done, though. This s not to deny or play down structural inequalities or unexpected challenges that life sometimes throws in one’s path…
In my case, one of the original hurdles was coming from a financially and academically challenged family, among other lacks. Then in 2005, I was struck with a severe case of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological screw-up. I ended up immobilized, completely unable to move my extremities. I was in convalescent facilities for a year and a half as I needed round the clock care.
For most of that time, I couldn’t even feed myself. Nightmarish. My recovery has been very slow. I’m still disabled. Must add that one of the symptoms of this syndrome is extreme fatigue for very little exertion. So, although now, healthwise, I’ve recovered enough to occasionally do little watercolors and drawings, fatigue is still a major issue. Currently, I find myself beginning again, this time very small and very slow.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
Currently, as I said before, I’m just starting back again, very slowly. What I’ve done most in my life has been studio art; acrylic or oil on canvas, with sporadic incursions in related activities, like printmaking, mural, stage design, curatorial work.
My main preoccupations in my art expression have been its formal elements; composition, exploration of color, visual harmony, application of paint, and through it all a primal desire to attain the illusion of three-dimensionality.
My most reproduced works have been “Seven Views of City Hall,” the “Dolores Del Río” mural in Hollywood, and “Poder,” a self-portrait.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is one of the great art capitals of the world, and as such it offers opportunities to all creative souls to start or further their art expression in whatever discipline. In this city, one can find many options to cross-pollinate within one’s own specialty or in disciplines completely different.
What the city, and I don’t just mean the the city government, could do more of is to show visual art in different non-specialized venues, like banks, building lobbies, office buildings, and so on.
- Website: www.deBatuc.com
- Email: Alfredo@deBatuc.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alfredo_de_batuc/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debatuc
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alfredo_deBatuc?lang=en