Meet Aristides Ureña, the World Class Artist From the Tropics at Brighton’s Art5 Gallery

Aristides Ureña was recently invited to London to the Holy Art Fair to share his art. He presented PANAMA SUMMER to great reception from his newer UK audiences. Now he resides at Art5 Gallery.

 Located amongst the hustle of Brighton’s hospitality in the lanes, you can step inside a space of peace and creativity at Art5 Gallery. Owned by married Omar and Giselle, the gallery sells beautiful original paintings. On display are also ceramics, prints and other interesting media from local and worldwide artists. Their latest resident artist is Aristides Ureña from Panama, exhibiting his gorgeous multidisciplinary work in shades of boisterous blues and warming yellows. Aristides tells us all about his art, creative processes and fascinating career so far as he is welcomed to Brighton. 

Let’s start at the beginning, how did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

Always. I was able to sense my fate from an early age. My parents inspired me to set such high standards for myself. Imagine [I was] a future artist living in a small Latin American nation with a deeply religious mother and a revolutionary father who seek[ed] to conquer angels and dreams.

Your most recent event was The Holy Art in London (30-2 April). You presented “RAKA TAKA (2017)” and “KALIDONIA (2022) as a part of a larger project “PANAMA SUMMER”. Can you tell us a bit about these works and what inspired them?

The PANAMA SUMMER project is a collection of multidisciplinary works that demonstrate the aesthetic contributions that multicultural relations have made to the urban culture of the capital city of Panama. The viewer’s sharp eye is drawn to the particularities that give new concepts their individuality. Within this picture series, each piece is an accumulation of aesthetic memory that comes to life on its own.

You were born in Panama and lived in Italy for 38 years. How much do your homes and surroundings inspire your artwork?

They have had a noticeable impact on the fundamental aesthetic patterns that underpin these fine arts. I am a person who grew up in the rich traditions of Panama. Mysticism, music, folklore, and cultural syncretism have all contributed to the creation of new ways of being that deserve to be evidenced. Having spent so much time in Europe, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate my personal experience with several challenging new situations.

When you were studying, you specialised in lithography, mural design and engraving. Now, what are your favourite art mediums to create with?

Each of these are crucial when I need to communicate my projects. As a multidisciplinary artist, I believe that we [artists] must be ready for difficulties that arise in the field of modern art.

Your art is developed in pictorial cycles. For those who may not know, what does this mean?

The first of the graphic cycles, “El Ballet del Cabrón”, (The Scoundrel Ballet) was created in 1977. Cycles is an outlier for any painter of my generation’s artistic career. It turned out to be an opportunity for me to create a short-term setting where I could evoke, study, and put into action a variety of intentions. Cycles are time-suspended receptacles for memories. They often last two to four years.

How does the addition of music or video enhance the viewing experience of your works?

They enable me to evoke the moods that I wish to communicate as a contemporary artist.

We are able to appreciate the beauty of anything made since the arts are developed through the five senses. These [mixed media] perceptions inform the development of my artistic endeavours, or overall art.

Can you tell us a bit more about your creative process. Do you think this has changed over the years?

I am an observer trained in criteria and in a continuous creative delirium; I spend a lot of time building an idea about my works and my projects. As soon as the idea takes shape, I abandon every obstacle and give free rein to my emotions… for me, intuitions should not be limited. That is my way of questioning myself in front of the creation of my work to obtain criteria to continue within that process.

Your works have been exhibited all over the world including Latin America, Europe and Africa. In addition, you were invited to show art at the Venice Biennales. What has been your most exciting adventure in your art career?

The three Venice Biennales, because they have given me the opportunity to confirm my artistic path thanks to them. This platform is one of the most important in the international artistic landscape that dictates trends.

Your next adventure is as a resident artist at Art5 Gallery in Brighton. Can you give us a little insight as to what we can expect to see?

Brighton is a seaside city, and my home nation is bordered by two oceans. It is intriguing to try to emphasise those cosmopolitan qualities that bring people together. And to lessen our distance on an imagined bridge that connects these two realities while taking into consideration their differences.

Art5 Gallery offers me this wonderful opportunity, which I accept as a challenge to produce works that use the tranquil compassion that the arts bestow on us to bring people together around shared emotions.

Do you have any goals or ambitions either in your personal life or career that you wish to achieve in the near future? 

To consolidate my foundation, which was established to aid those who are most in need, to give indigenous children in my country the chance to receive artistic training and grow the “Los Semilleros” (The Seedbeds) project, which serves as an incubator for developing talents under the direction of the Fundación Aristides Ureña.

You can buy Aristides’ art on the Art5 gallery online shop: art5galleryshop.com/collections/aristides-urena/original-art

And discover more about Aristides on the Art5 gallery blog: art5galleryshop.com/blogs/news/clash-with-the-tropics

ART 5 Gallery, 5 Prince Albert St., Brighton UK

You might also be interested in our conversation with Faye Bridgwater on Artists Open Houses!

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