Peruvian artist Maximo Lauro creates large, spell-binding tapestries of rich color and fantastic imagery of life under the sea. In the past 25 years, his works have been shown in over a hundred exhibits in 26 countries around the world. In an interview, Lauro tells X-RAY MAG about his creative process and how his art is inspired by the mystery and majesty of nature.
"My work is nourished by symbols, stories, traditions, rituals, experiences, and by permanently returning to admire the iconography of ancestral world cultures, especially Peruvian culture – which are extraordinary and fascinating," said Maximo Laura.
"These experiences inspire me to discover, explore and absorb contemporary visual arts, which exist lavishly, choosing the one that moves me and fits the direction of my visions of totem images, of symbolic characters and landscapes, and of my experience; developing ancestral patterns that are essentially Andean."
X-RAY MAG: Tell us about yourself, your background and how you became an artist and chose the medium in which you work.
ML: I am a passionate weaver that always accomplishes my works of art with love. I was born in the Andes Mountains of Peru where, as a child, I discovered a liking for drawing, painting, colors and textures. I learned how to weave from my father who was also a weaver. During my years in the university, through exploration of my artistic creativity and innovation, I found my calling as a weaver.
It has been 25 years since my first art exhibition, and today I have had more than 130 exhibitions in 26 countries around the globe. I am honored to have been recognized and to have received awards for my works.
I like tapestries because they allow me to fulfill my dreams, my visions and to find my inner beauty. The creation of a tapestry is a journey for both tapestry and artist. The journey, from conception of the idea to the realization of the work, allows for an intimate relationship between me and the tapestry. It is a pleasure to see an idea transform into a beautiful weaving.
X-RAY MAG: Tell us about how the sea and the underwater world inspire you and your art.
ML: The sea is a powerful, immense, mysterious and beautiful thing. Under the sea we can find a world that is unique and diverse from anything that can be found on land. The colors, shapes, textures and life forms of the sea are both impressive and fascinating. To attempt to capture the beauty of the sea presents an incredible opportunity and challenge for an artist, leaving one in silence with themselves, with marine life, and their imagination. Using the sea as inspiration for tapestry allows me to portray many incredible visions of life, harmony, balance and light in my art.
X-RAY MAG: Are you a scuba diver, how did you become one and what are your favorite locations?
ML: I would love to scuba dive one day, but I have not had the opportunity yet. I imagine scuba diving fills a person with emotion after seeing many diverse and amazing things. I think that marine life is beautiful and spectacular. There are many places to dive in this world, and all have a different beauty to behold. Living now in Lima, the sea is one of my favorite places, and I enjoy swimming very much.
X-RAY MAG: Tell us about your artistic process and the methods you use to create your artwork.
ML: I consider my tapestries works of art, and as I stated earlier, it is a journey that includes a variety of steps from the initial stages to completion. The process begins with an idea, which transforms itself into an image. The image must be sketched and processed into various drawings that will make up the series. Next, I paint each of the drawings, and if I decide to make one of the paintings into a tapestry, I need to re-draw them to actual scale. Once I have the full-sized drawing, I must prepare the technical characteristics, which include color, detail and texture. After carefully comparing the colors to those of the original painting, I can start on the loom. The process of weaving can take from two weeks to many months depending on the size and complexity of the work. When the weaving is done, I hang the final product up for viewing. It is a long and slow process that requires infinite patience, and for me, an obsessive attention to color and detail.
X-RAY MAG: Does your art have cultural, artistic, political or ecological influences and how so?
ML: My first series of tapestries, completed some 25 years ago, were strongly influenced by Peruvian culture. Many series, both past and present, have been influenced by the rich heritage of my ancestors. In the process of innovation and a search for originality and my own personal style, I draw inspiration from both the surrealist and impressionist movements. The artists from those movements, mainly those that focus on the use of color, symbols, light and the abstract, are those that inspire me most. In regards to the ecological influence on my art, that is a personal encounter. The exuberance, the majesty, the mysteriousness and richness of nature provokes gratitude from within as well as a celebration of life. That being said, I created a series dedicated to the Galapagos Islands, many examples of which have been included here.
X-RAY MAG: Aside from the obvious inspiration of the beauty and mystery of the Galapagos, what were your personal inspirations or insights behind the Galapagos series?
ML: This collection was made especially considering the Centenary of Galapagos Island. These islands are a very important reserve to life and humanity. Likewise, it allowed me to freely recreate the sea life with forms and colors. What I like so much.
X-RAY MAG: Why art? Tell us why you think art is important to our world today.
ML: Art in humanity has synthesized its rhythms, myths, visions, dreams and ambitions and has explored a world of beauty across all time. In the past and today, art serves as a way to find both inner and outer beauty. It is so important that art can influence all aspects of daily life, including politics, culture, history, beliefs, myths, religion and more. My artwork in this context serves as a small effort to affect change in the viewer and in the world.
X-RAY MAG: Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
ML: The world and our lives hold an immense richness. Each of us has an inner beauty, and all that is missing is the discovery of our artistic side. Whether it is through creation or observation of art, we grow closer to our human essence, which is peace, silence and balance. I invite you to join me in sharing this passion that comes from my heart.
X-RAY MAG: How can readers contact you and order artwork directly from you?
ML: Please visit my website at www.maximolaura.com. People can also find me on Twitter at: www.facebook.com/maximolaura. ■
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