We had the good fortune of connecting with August Vilella and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi August, what do you attribute your success to?
I think there are two points behind my success. In one hand it was very important to be myself, I mean… in my case I have never tried to imitate to anyone… actually I never went to any art school or academy so I learned to paint by myself and in consequence, I feel that I didn’t have any external influences to create my style. Thanks that I have found my special intuitive and improvised method of painting without any previous ideas or sketches. Using this method each painting becomes unique and unrepeatable… and have more open meaning. This point helps people to connect with my art easily… and becomes a very interesting point for art collectors because they know that they will have and exclusive piece of art that will never be repeated again. Definetely, for me each person is unique and in consequence can make something unique… we just have to learn to listen to ourselves. The second important point in my opinion is the work discipline and the attitude. I knew very well my target and I was 100% focused in it. In my first steps I remember I spent day and night trying to find opportunities, promoting myself online and attending as many events and exhibitions as was possible for a make many contacts… This is one of the reason because, even today, I still love to attend personally the most of my shows, it doesn’t matter how far they are. Is necessary to be “there” to “make it happen” and for understanding not only how art market works, but also how the world does it. Each experience makes me grow up as an artist, as a professional and as a person as well.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
To understand my art, first of all we have to pay attention to my method. To create my paintings I need to leave my mind blank, like in meditative state, and start to create just following my intuition. The process is similar to Jazz music. I take my brush and, from zero, I start to improvise directly on the canvas. Nothing is forced or thought. Is an automatic method where only my subconscious mind can influence me and in consequence I never know what will appear on my canvas. The topics and characters appear slowly like dreams. However, we can find a very curious contrast between a very automatic, unintentional and intuitive artwork and very refined and methodical technic using very small brushes, putting many slim and transparent layers of oil paint and play with the light and shadows. In consequence we have a curios combination of two worlds in my art… a very contemporary big eyes characters and intuitive method and on the other hand a very classical language and elaborated process. All this envolved in dreamlike and deep philosophical atmosphere that invites to reflect. About my artistic career… first steps where not easy. I never went to any art school or academy, in consequence I learn to paint by myself. However I always was in contact with art, initially I would be able to express myself through music and writing creating books and being involved in several music bands. But painting I found a more direct way to express myself… through my artworks I feel that not only I can connect faster with others… also I felt that there were less cultural and language barriers. After that, when I discovered my way, I was 100% focused on it. Day and night I was painting to improve my skills and trying to find opportunities and contacts. To do that I was promoting myself online and attended as many events and exhibitions as possible. This was an important point that made a difference. I had all my mind and energies focused in one point. I felt that the art would be my “passport” for a have the kind of life that I wished. My first opportunity was in Japan… I had to take a lot of big risks and make a lot of sacrifices for a go there for three months, but in the life is necessary to take risks for a reach your dreams. So many things happened in these three months in Tokyo… but the most important for me was to be awarded as best artist in Tokyo international art fair and sell my first artwork. All this helped me to find more opportunities and collaborations around the world. Same year, in some way thanks to my experience in Japan, I started to exhibit in China where I started to sell a lot and be more and more recognized. Next years I had shows in many other countries such as USA, Hong Kong, Dubai, France, Taiwan, Spain, UK…etc. Along this way I have learned a lot of about art and life. One of the most important things is to try to build a relevant network… but not only for business propose, because each person who you met in this life has helped me to grow up as a person. From absolutely everyone of this world you can learn something. Everybody can teach you or help you in some way… and you can do the same for them. Other thing that I discovered in these years is to focus my life and energy in the correct way… when you focus yourself in what you really love to do, life will helps you to reach it. Don´t expect that other will do the work for you, you will deserve your dreams only if you really fight for them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When my friends visit me in Tokyo first of all I bring them to a nice Japanese restaurant. Food here is incredible and after long flight they are happy to enjoy a real Japanese dishes accompanied with some good sake. Next days we can visit some beautiful places not so far from Tokyo as Kamakura or Nikko, there they will be able to enjoy the nature and see some Japanese traditional temples. At the nights we use to go to some underground concerts in Nakano area, there they will be able to see the “other” face of Tokyo and meet many local people and enjoy the no-touristic part of the city. For the next day, a good plan after last night party is go to the Yoyogi park and have some relax drinks in the middle of the special atmosphere of this beautiful park in the middle of Tokyo.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all I wish to dedicate it to my parents, because they have always believed in me and in my talent. That specially helps me in the first steps of my career because as a self-taught artist when I started I didn’t receive any kind of support of any institution, academies, galleries… etc. On the other hand I also would like to thank to Jirco, the president of ANACART who introduced me in Chinese market and with whome I keep currently our successful cooperation. We made many shows worldwide along these years and he was the first person who decided to represent me and trusted in my talent.