Artist based in Mexico City, Mexico
Antonio Vidal de Lascurain, Portrait of the artist
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I come from a pretty conservative catholic family in Mexico City, and I didn't get into art until I was around 15. One day, my little sister started taking painting classes, and I decided to join her just to check it out. I got hooked pretty quickly.
Los Niños Perdidos, 2022, Acrylic on Raw Canvas, 160 x 236 cm.
Later, one of my best friends went to a pre-college program at RISD and loved it. So, I applied for the same program, thinking I'd do industrial design. But I ended up in the painting course because it had more available spots. Everything just clicked for me there. The vibe was amazing, I felt a connection with the people around me, and painting felt like the world's most natural thing. Making work felt like such an obsessive challenge. There is never an easy answer, no linear progression, and as hard as it can be, it's never boring.
Portales de y a la tierra, 2022, Mixed Media installation, 300 x 200 x 300 cm (with the assistance of Helen Said).
It was during that pre-college program that I knew I wanted to do this art thing for the rest of my life. After a lot of internal struggle, hustling with my family, and figuring out finances I decided to study a Bachelor's in Fine Arts. I did my BFA at the California College of the Arts and have been working in Mexico City since graduating.
El Piso es Lava, 2023, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 180 x 180 cm
"The inspiration for this series came while I was reading "Hyperobjects" by Timothy Morton, which discusses global warming. It reminded me of the childhood game "the floor is lava," and I combined these two concepts to create this series. The idea of losing the ground and the connection to the earth is a central theme in this series."
El Piso es Lava II, 2023, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 220 x 180 cm
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
I am currently working on a series of paintings that depict people hanging and living in trees. The inspiration for this series came while I was reading "Hyperobjects" by Timothy Morton, which discusses global warming. It reminded me of the childhood game "the floor is lava," and I combined these two concepts to create this series. The idea of losing the ground and the connection to the earth is a central theme in this series.
Mano a Pie a Mano, 2023, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 157 x 171 cm
Justa de Unicornios, 2022, Acrylic and Airbrush on Canvas, 241 x 119 cm
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
I really enjoy exploring and linking themes and concepts that might not seem obvious at first hand. Like 'crossovers.' It could be different religious stories, a childhood memory with a science fiction movie, or a novel with a philosophical concept. It reaffirms my belief that everything is connected in this bizarre conceptual substance, and it creates food for images that don't seem so evident.
Fogatita, 2023, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 100 x 80 cm
Describe your practice and process. Where do ideas start for you? In the studio or being in the world?
I don't have a defined process for generating ideas. Sometimes I'll sketch something that I want to turn into a painting or sculpture. Other times, an idea will pop into my head while reading, or during a conversation, or even at a party. I try not to get too attached to the initial idea or image, though. If I feel like there's an opportunity to take the piece in a different direction, I'm not afraid to go with it. Flexibility and freedom are key for me.
Los unicornios cagan Helados, 2022, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 185 x 159 cm
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
My art-making process and style have organically developed over time. As I've painted and experimented with different materials and techniques, I've collected them and incorporated them into my practice, much like in an RPG video game where you collect items and upgrade your character.
Sketch for "the floor is Lava" painting
While I strive to stay true to myself, I am aware of the influence of the image-saturated culture we live in, and I actively try to avoid exposure to other people's work in order to keep a more honest visual language.
Prežganka, 2022, digital photography
molding my foot to later do a Concrete cast
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
Absolutely, I have my own studio ritual that helps me stay focused and productive. Since I tend to be easily distracted and chaotic, having a routine is crucial for me. I wake up at 8 am, work out for an hour, read for 30 minutes, meditate for 15, and sketch for 30.
Then, I have a small breakfast consisting of 3 hard-boiled eggs, beans, salsa, macha, a banana, and a lot of coffee, before starting work until lunchtime around 3pm. I have lunch with my family and then head back to the studio to work until around 9 pm. At night, I'm more flexible and do whatever feels right. But if anything in my daily ritual is disrupted, it feels like everything is spiraling out of control.
On the weekends, I tend to be more spontaneous, but if I'm not doing anything social, I like to work during the night. All in all, having a set routine helps me stay grounded and ensures that I get the work done that I need to.
While working I usually listen to funk, Spanish rap, or a Pittsburgh steelers podcast.
Who are your biggest influences?
I would say that my biggest influence is actually my Grandpa who was a badass. Although he had no connection to the art world, he possessed an immense willpower and was able to create the life he wanted from almost nothing. His determination and ability to design his own reality have inspired me greatly in my own life.
Gigantes desnudos, 2022, Acrylic and Airbrush on Raw Canvas, 175 x 175 cm
While my grandfather was a significant influence on my life, I also draw inspiration from other artists. In the early stages of my career I was really into Philip Guston, Daniel Richter, Bosch, Peter Saul, Mexican Muralists, Bay area's Mission school and Chicago Hairy who. Currently I have been looking a lot into Daniel Richter, Peter Doig, Pier Kirkeby, Asger Jorn, and Gaugin.
Marcha de Revancha, 2020, Acrylic and Airbrush on Canvas, 160 x 236 cm.
Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?
Yes! but it is an eclectic collection of books and concepts. The Bible, Myths by Joseph Campbell, Darwin's Theory of Evolution through natural selection, the three musketeers, Cyborg Manifesto by Donna, and a couple of other post-humanists.
Lately, I have been trying to get more into Object Oriented Ontology starting with Hyperobjects which I mentioned already.
Hanging installation with fishing wire
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was actually written on a little laminated label in the studio of one of my BFA teachers. The label read: "Thanks to Dylan Thomas, I know whatever is hidden should be made naked and to trust my own eyes more than someone else's mouth."
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
I know how difficult the road can be. There are many setbacks, disappointments, and moments of self-doubt along the way. But despite all of these challenges, I believe that it's worth it and eventually there's a breakthrough.