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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution II
(1968)

Fox, Hugh
Notes and discussions: an interview with Vicho Larrea,   pp. [530]-531 PDF (2.3 MB)


Page 531

"Will exist! Is beginning to exist! Have you
been to any of the new university
centers of the University of Chile?"
"Antofagasta, Talca, Osorno, I've been in
some."
"And what do you think about the applied
arts, ceramics, work in enamels, poster
art, that kind of thing?"
"Impressive, but nothing like what you've
been doing here . ."
He smiled, got down off the stool where
he'd been perched.
"Let me show you around. (We stopped in
front of a poster with a large "face" on
it, half sun, half water.) This was for a
festival in Arica. You see I always
try to pick the theme from the occasion.
Arica's on the border with Peru, the sol,
the sun, is the Peruvian national monetary
unit, Arica itself is 'oriented' toward the
sea, the whole area is coastal desert,
so   . . .
"How about this one?" I asked pointing to
a huge, multi-colored poster of a man
(a giant) seated.
He reached over to another bookcase,
pulled out a pamphlet that read: "Latin
America, the Great Country," opened it to a
quotation from Humboldt. "The people of
Latin America are like beggars seated
on a throne of gold."
"You see, the series of conferences I
designed this booklet for revolved around
the idea of Latin American economic unity.
So I took the idea of Humboldt, combined
it with the frontpiece idea of Hobbes'
Leviathan - remember the giant made up
of thousands of individuals? - and created
my symbolic giant seated on his
throne of gold . ."
paper, start from that and then build on
top of it. Like Picasso using the fish bone
for a pottery design. Remember that?"
"The Duncan book wasn't it?"
"I think so. Or a movie. Lots of things
come here to Santiago. It's one
advantage working for the University.
And I don't mind working for a 'patron,'
nobody did before - or even during -
the Renaissance. The idea of the artist
expressing himself instead of expressing a
predetermined theme or idea or what have
you is, after all, very, very modern, and at
times very confusing. Look at the line
of my work. Order from chaos . . ."
I picked out another poster for commentary.
A stocky female-figure, hat on head,
mouth open, singing, playing a guitar.
"What about this one?"
"Ah yes, it was for the First Latin
American Song Festival here in Santiago.
Folklore . . . you know, that kind of
thing. So I chose a traditional Chilean
ceramic figure for the basic design, and then
printed it in various colors - red, blue,
yellow, pink. The folkart base, you
see, that's the common denominator
between the poster and the festival . .
"Any predictable future directions?"
"It's hard to say. I've been doing some
work with some national film companies,
but I like my work here. Michelangelo
wouldn't have minded working for Julius II
if he'd gotten paid - and I get paid,
so why should I complain . . ."
"So all the posters are 'thought out'
thematically before you begin to work?"
"If you mean that I'm not spontaneous,
I'm not. First I'm cerebral, then I descend
into color and line, although I'll take a
design like this (willow branches, bright,
lively green) and improvise it, stick real
branches in paint and spread them out on
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