Exhibition : Phantom House – Jaime Valtierra. Extended until 23rd January 2022

Opening Thursday 2nd November 6.30 to 9.30pm

James: Hello Jaime, so good to see you, thank you for joining us today for an interview.

Jaime: Thank you, yeah I had a paid job this week painting houses but luckily it got cancelled so yeah I guess I can be an artist today, you know play the bourgeois game of the autonomous artist, professional, all of that (Laughs).

James: Well that’s really great Jaime (Laughs). I am glad it went that way for you this week.

Jaime: Yes (laughs) I am not trying to justify myself but being an artist with not much access to easy money really sucks (laughs). You know? I mean not just me, like most artists really. In London you have to have a job basically. Sometimes I see myself more as a shitty poet than anything else… a bit too romantic perhaps (laughs).

James: Perhaps (laughs).

Jaime: (Laughs) Well I am ready. I haven’t had much time recently to do lots of reading or being in the studio. You know? Work, family, etc, but I hope I could still give you some insights into my practice. Sorry for all the complaining…

James: Yes sure Jaime, don’t worry, it has been a stressful year for everyone. We just want you to feel comfortable, this could be a great opportunity for you, just relax.

Jaime: Ok

James: Ok, tell us a bit more about this exhibition.

Jaime: Yes, really I am not too sure what to say. I could not find a brand idea for the whole thing. I am bad at that. I guess I just make paintings basically. I have thoughts, sometimes very random ones, it is all a kind of intuition thing. Half the times I don’t really know where the hell it is all going. I mean I could talk about what I think but the paintings are just that, paintings. I accumulate thoughts, memories, impressions, whatever you want to call it and try to make a painting in the moment, push it over the edge. Colour, form, etc. It all goes beyond what I can explain.

James: Right. In this exhibition you are treating the subject of the mother, the mother as statue, Icon? She is a symbol in your oeuvre you frequently visit. Yet it is one to be fragmented and destroyed, a kind of iconoclastic act inflicted on the maternal figure. Is there a resonance with what is currently happening in the UK and Brazil?

Jaime: Not really James, all this statute thing is not there in the work. I understand it is very current. I tried to incorporate it but it is just too remote for me, too abstract, too openly political. I just want to feel something familiar when I work (Pause) maybe. Something I can touch and feel.

James: Is it then a question of identities, a search for the self, as in your younger self, the maternal?

Jaime: (Laughs) Funny you say that because that’s quite close to my artist statement. You know I wrote that a while ago when I could still believe in defining my entire practice with some formulaic pseudo-philosophical text. I suppose it helps people form a complete wrong idea of what the work is about (Laughs) But yes it is something like that, but also not. Do you know what I mean?. It is just a painting, it can be multiple things, I don’t know. Perhaps they are just portraits. Sorry.

James: Yes, don’t apologise, it is good to be yourself.

Jaime: (Laughs) Yes thank you, sometimes the art world feels like a place where none of these things can be said, you know? Like you get sidelined if you do. This is nice.

James: Sure Jaime. Tells us more about your painting process then.

Jaime: You are going to edit all of this interview after yes? I mean, I am not sure I want all of it to be out there.

James: Yes we will go through the whole thing at the end and take out the bits you are not happy with. Don’t worry (Laughs).

Jaime: Ok thanks. (Pause). Yes! painting process. Thats a tough one, although it is really quite simple to explain if you are talking to another painter (laughs) What can I say? I use oil paint, and experiment with it, etc, etc (laughs). That’s a bit lame but essentially if you do not know about art materials that pretty much it. I use photos, draw from life, use drawings for paintings, all of that. What counts is the outcome, does the painting hit you on the face or not? That’s all you need to know if you ask me.

James: You told me your work has been criticised before for being that, too much on your face. How do you deal with this charge?

Jaime: Well as I said the work is not something you can control, like diving a car on the motorway. In painting is not like that. Nothing is direct, it is all a fucking mystery really (Pause). Like an infinite set of relations at infinite speed towards something truly impossible to attain, or something like that. So all I do is just go for it, with who I am, with everything I have. And now is just like that. That’s all you can do. What can I say. You have to bring it forward or stop painting.

James: You were born in Spain but moved to the UK in the 2000’s, how has this experience shaped your work?

Jaime: Thats a hard question because I don’t really know. I guess I have learnt to speak English well and that’s very good (Laughs). Also I have learnt about English culture and history, and developed an interest in the differences between Anglo-Saxon cultures and Latin or mediterranean ones when it comes to how money is perceived and used. I suppose protestant cultures see work and money in very different ways like their relation to guilt and all of that. You know?. As if the market thing was more a natural principle here.

James: Very interesting Jaime, well that’s enough I think for the small catalogue, is just half a page really so as I said we will edit the whole thing and then I will send you an email with a few more questions to round up the the final text. Happy?

Jaime: Yes that’s great thank you.

James: Thanks Jaime, so great to have you today.

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