Interview with Miguel Tió
By Giorgio Vaselli
Miguel Tió’s art is an inspired mixture of the carnal and the spiritual. Much like the work of Michelangelo, he explores spirituality through the realistic portrayal of beautiful female and male nudes. His acute sense of composition likely stems from this influence. In his artworks, he gives the viewer a sense of connection with higher dimensions, often symbolized by shining third eyes.
His early work exhibits a taste for cubistic partitioning of hyperrealistic nudes. He also paints portraits, occasionally with abstract backgrounds, showing affinity for and expertise in those genre. His newfound association with visionary circles, has lifted his work to its current spiritual level.
He is the energetic realist founding senior member of our movement. Along with the three other founders, his contributions had been essential in giving the movement initial momentum.
What is your background in artistic studies and endeavours?
I have been painting since a very early age. I began taking it seriously when I went to a painting school and my mother told me, with a very serious expression in her eyes, “I am going to let you study painting, but remember that you are not going to be a painter; this is just a hobby. Painters die of starvation and you have to study a real career.” When she finished talking, it became clear to me that being a painter was exactly what I wanted to be… I never considered being something else, even when I went to college to become a veterinarian. I did it because I loved animals, but I always knew that I was a painter before anything.
I went to the school of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. During my second year, the school moved to another building. After that, the school became so disorganized that I decided to study at the private painting school Escuela de Pintura Leonardo da Vinci. I completed my studies in 1977 and had my first solo show in 1979; the paintings and drawings for this show were very academic.
When I realized that I had to spend a whole day on the farm of the Veterinarian College, and study at home after that without any time to paint, I gave up the idea of a career as a veterinarian and changed my studies to graphic design. But I never really considered making a career out of it, either.
The years that I spent in the school painting were transcendental for the artist that I have become.
The medium I have worked with most of my career is oil. I have done many pieces of artwork in watercolor and acrylic, but now I only use acrylic as the under-painting. I also work with pastels. Apart from my work being very academic during that period, it showed the struggle that most young artists endure when they are trying to find a personal visual language to communicate with their work. It was not until the late 1990’s when my work started to change into the surreal realms.
In 2002, when I
finished my painting titled “8:30 A.M.”, I was not yet familiar with
visionary art. I remember searching on the Internet for spiritual art which
lead me to discover the visionary artists. It was very enlightening for me
to see their work.
In 2006, I joined the Society for Art of Imagination where I met Brigid Marlin. Under her mentoring, I have been very fortunate to learn the old masters’ technique, which I now use to create all my paintings.
Who or what has influenced you in your development?
As an art student I saw Salvador Dali’s, “Leda Atomica” and remember thinking it was the art form that I would like to create in the future. Through the years, I sensed that by just following my own path, I would develop an original style of visual narrative. My favorite artist of all is Michelangelo, and I seem drawn to many of the Renaissance artists. During the Renaissance era, the profession of an artist was considered a mission that the artist was born to do and I share that same feeling. I enjoy exploring other artists’ work and do so almost every day. I was truly influenced by Brigid Marlin’s work the first time I saw it.
What qualities do you admire in an artwork?
The first quality that I look for in a piece of artwork is the composition; how the piece is balanced and the movement or flow that the artist uses to guide the observer through the work. The second quality would be the artist’s technical skills; the degree of mastery the artist has over the medium. I then become aware of how a piece of artwork is touching me personally, how it is moving me to think and feel about it. A masterpiece will make the observer succumb to its influence, sometimes bringing tears to his/her eyes.
What does it mean for you to create? What motivates or inspires you?
Creating is a necessity for me. It is the way that I allow my inner and higher selves to speak. I get very motivated by something that leaves an impression on me, such as a dream, a vision, a person, an experience, or something that I feel the need to denunciate.
What do you wish to achieve in your work?
I want to touch people’s hearts and minds with my artwork. We live in a world of crisis, and we need urgent transformations. I believe that art can touch people’s soul in a way that can provoke a change in them, or perhaps will leave a spiritual seed that will germinate in their future. For this I need an effective visual way of communication.
What are some criteria or standards you set for yourself?
At this point in my life I feel that each painting that I finish; is like a door that I have gone through, I don’t know where the next door is going to take me, it is a constant discovery. I have been working in the Mische technique for the last three years, but Brigid Marlin warned me that it was going to take me around four to five years of hard work to fully develop the technique … and she was right.
What are some of your own favorite pieces, and why are you satisfied with them?
One of my favorite pieces is “Peace … Peace … Peace”, and interestingly enough after working on this piece for six months I didn’t really like it when it was completed. I saw it hanging on a gallery wall with enough space for it to breathe in and when I noticed how people reacted to this work before going to the next painting I began to like it. In my overcrowded studio with so many other paintings I couldn’t really appreciate it.
“Moments of Memories” is another work that is among my favorites because of the mystical experiences that I had during its conception.
How does your work reach the public?
I exhibit my work in group shows in America, Europe and Asia: many of these exhibits are with the Society for Art of Imagination.
My work can be seen/purchased at Icosahedron Gallery in New York City. Also it has been featured in different publications, among them the books: “Imaginaire 1″ published in Denmark by Claus Brusen, and “Arte Iberoamericano” published in Argentina by Maria Elena Troncoso and Ricardo Lescano.
My images have been used in book covers: “8:30 AM” was used for the book “Literature” by a publisher in Quebec, Canada. “Homage to an Unknown Artist” was used for the novel “The Price of Dreams” by Enrique Garcia published in the Dominican Republic and my painting “Steven” in “Coloris Corpus” published in France in 2008.
And finally also through the internet on my website: MiguelTio.com and many other sites including the Energy Art Movement site.
How do you feel about being a member of our movement?
I have some representative works of Energetic Realism but not all of my work can be considered into this movement in the same way that not all my work is visionary or surrealist or hyperrealist. I am a member because I stand by the principles behind the Energy Art Movement.
Do you create art full-time? What else do you do or enjoy doing?
I am working with art full-time but not only create art; I alternate working on my paintings with teaching, which I find to nurture my work in a sort of way.
What are some of your plans for the future regarding your art/life?
My plans for the future include the continuation of exhibiting my work, buying a house in upstate New York where I can have a big studio and dedicate the rest of my life to the creation of my paintings. I also would like to be able to travel as much as my paintings do nowadays.