quotes and sayings
3 min readJan 7, 2023

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  1. I was drawing a mandolin, and I made the sound hole very small, which made the mandolin look gigantic. I saw that making the details small made the form monumental. So in my figures, the eyes, the mouth are all small, and the exterior form is huge.
  2. I had an uncle who took me to the ring in Medellin when I was 15 years old. In school, we had someone who taught us how to bullfight.
  3. In the ’60s, I did many satirical portraits of dictators.
  4. I’m the most Colombian of the Colombians, even though I’ve lived 47 years outside of Colombia. I’ve lived 13 years in New York, and I never did a painting about New York. I’ve lived in France more than 30 years, and I’ve never painted Paris.
  5. Bullfights are a very cultural thing. I know many people think it’s cruel, but so many things are cruel. Hunting, the electric chair, wars. These are all cruel things as well.
  6. My work is a self-portrait of my mind, a prism of my convictions.
  7. Art is important because when people start to forget, art reminds them what happened. Like ‘Guernica.’ People would not remember the tragedy of Guernica today if it were not for that painting.
  8. All my life, my girlfriends are always skinny. Beauty in art has nothing to do with beauty in reality. Why do you like primitive art? Because there is beauty in the deformity. Sometimes paintings that people consider realistic are not at all. Raphael figures look realistic, but in real life, they were deformed.
  9. An artist is born like a priest is born. If they are born an artist, I would tell them art is not a game: it is something very serious which completely requires everything you have to give.
  10. The circus allows one to be logical and unreal at the same time. In the circus, all is possible: there can be a man with two heads or a character with a green face.
  11. I have the sensation of doing something good for people, more than being a trendy artist or a successful artist.
  12. I love art so much because of curiosity. At the start of a painting, I know 10 percent of what the painting will be, and then I have to improvise the whole thing.
  13. All the animals I’ve painted always have a relationship with man. I have been told that part of the knowledge of the human anatomy comes from animals.
  14. I believe that it’s better to have a conviction, believe strongly in something, and then the convictions create a style that reflects your mentality.
  15. In a photo, you just do a click, but in art you have to put in so much energy. This concentration of energy and attention says something that other media cannot say.
  16. You paint what you know best; what you went through as a teenager and child. My world is the one I got to know in Medellin; I never paint anything else other than that.
  17. I often think about death, and it saddens me to leave this world and not be able to paint more. I love it so much.
  18. Art is always an exaggeration in some sense; in color, in form, even in theme, etc… but it has always been this way. It is the same with the nature of some works by Giotto or Massacio, or the color of life as expressed by Van Gogh.
  19. I love my country, and it hurts not to be able to see my country, as I did for so many years. I hope that I will one day be able to live in a peaceful Colombia.
  20. There’s nothing more superficial to do than to paint a beautiful woman. The most beautiful portraits in art were of ugly women. If you paint Brigitte Bardot, it’s a disaster. Sunsets, you have to stay away from sunsets. You paint a sunset, you are in great danger.

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