It was an ancient house, with decaying walls that had cracked over time:
in these cracks I saw stories of big cities, people and their everyday life …
It was a traditional colonial house in the centre of Mexico City where Paco Rocha (1983) finds his earliest memories and his peculiar interpretation of the world that surrounds him.
The imagination and sensitivity he had as a six-year- old boy have always followed him throughout his life while traveling and in his artistic career.
“It was an ancient house, with decaying walls that had cracked over time: in these cracks I saw stories of big cities, people and their everyday life.
My grandmother told me tales and legends before going to sleep, but she stayed next to me so I wouldn´t be frightened by the figures that would continually appear from my imagination.
We would play with these drawings on the ceiling above, and from there my creativity began a search for these concepts in visual abstraction”
It was a game of imagination and tradition, which was reinforced by
“an altar for my defunct aunt located in the centre of the house: the kitchen.
The altar was decorated with lots of flowers, food, religious images, incense and candles…
I saw this adorned table as something magical, but at the beginning,
I had a sense of unease.
My grandma told me that her daughter was fine and in another world, and she was happy to see that we had remembered her with these gifts.
Her simple explanations helped me lose my fear of death and helped awaken my imagination concerning the issue”.
Paco´s imagination continued to grow while studying at a Mormon school, where he started drawing skeletons and skulls, the main characters of his grandma’s stories.
The teachers, who had a different philosophy on death, thought that he had a mental illness and decided to take him to the school psychologist.
Rather than repress his imagination, the therapist encouraged Paco to develop his creativity and improve his representation of death.
It was during these years when an event occurred that defined the starting point of his artist’s career: at the age of 15, he was contacted by a neighbourhood gang that knew about his drawing skills and his passion for skulls.
They bought him spray paint and asked him to decorate the streets with the group’s logo.
The artist defined this moment as:
“my kick-starter. These skulls were icons that I liked; they had no negative connotation.
On the contrary, they were the source of my inspiration, and for this reason I accepted the job despite the risks”.
From then on, the therapist encouraged the young man to apply to the University of Design, which consisted of two years of visual arts (art history, photography, museology or human anatomy) and two years of graphic design.
Once he graduated from University, Paco worked with an important graphic design company in Mexico City, where he developed TV and advertising projects as well as graphic design in general.
Everything was going well, until one day when he had to leave his job due to a severe eye illness.
The artist transformed this abrupt change in his life into something positive because he ended up deciding to follow one of his biggest dreams: traveling.
Throughout his entire life, Paco Rocha has constantly searched for feeling, figures and colours, which he translates to the canvas in a natural way, with a personal approach divided in three stages:
“the first step is more intuitive, emotional, and free. I listen to music, look at photographs and become immersed in a journey. I don´t know what the final result will be, I don´t know what I am going to see at the end. I concentrate on one emotion and this helps me create the background on the canvas with colours that can represent it.
The second stage is abstraction. I hang the canvas and stand in front of it to see the textures. I look for perspectives, faces or any figurative connotation that appears through the lines, and get an abstraction of the shapes.
The last phase is more academic and is part of a figurative process. At this point I define the path of the work of art, with the help of visual arts techniques”.
He gets his inspiration from traveling and through the sensations he experiences in the places he visits.
Paco paints inside temples, in the jungle and in places with a strong energy, and
“this produces an unconscious change in my colour palette,“
explains the artist.
He has visited innumerable countries on his more than 10 years – long artistic pilgrimage.
He has had enriching experiences and has met interesting people in all of them.
His inspiration comes from everyday life, without forgetting the strong connection to his Mexican roots, which has also influenced his work.
He absorbs colours, traditions, cultures and dreams.
He has painted with Japan’s natural ink, he has used the clothes of Buddhist monks as a canvas while he was staying with them in Laos, and he has lived in Korea on the top of a tree and has painted jaguars in the jungles of Peru.
Paco has traveled non-stop since 2005, and this has allowed him to meet local Amazonian tribes, visit the holy cities of India, listen to the Dalai Lama in person, and live with local Philippine tribes who taught him about how to live without materialism.
This great experience allowed him to spend time alone and isolated and to paint with natural products such as plants, coffee, wine, blood or coal.
In Guatemala, he spent time volunteering and teaching Mayan children how to paint and taught them techniques for painting on dried banana tree leaves and on palm trees.
He has held exhibitions in most of the countries he has visited (Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, England, and of course, Mexico), but he finds his origins and base in the Caribbean Playa del Carmen.
This is a very popular tourist destination and for this reason, he mostly paints traditional Mexican art.
In his art, he transmits a reflexion which brings him to
“save the roots of the countries and recover the identity that we are losing.
We are forgetting the meaning of the things and we are turning into commodities, where we all use the same clothes, we make same things, and eat the same canned food that is provided from other places.
We have to awaken in ourselves the spirit of nationalism, the love for our origins, and the desire to educate future generations about where we come from”
says the artist.
His work is based on emotion and colours and this creates connections to people who admire his paintings, and allow them to identify themselves with the paintings and what they represent.
His work connects emotions with nature, experiences with people, without ever forgetting what has always inspired the artist:
“discovering and shaping reality through traveling.“
However, in order to escape from the traditional stereotypes and connect with contemporary society, the artist has touched on controversial topics of the country’s actual situation, such as a portrait of one of “Disappearance in Ayotzinapa”, or the portrait of a working girl of Chiapas, who showed the bitter flavour of a Mexican reality with two faces: sweet and strange.
Follow me on Social Network
Get in Touch
(+32) 467 77 91 59
Come On In
Enò Atelier, 1050 Rue de Dublin 42, Brussels, Belgium