Welcome to our blog, where we explore the profound world of art and its creators. Today, we're thrilled to delve into the life and work of renowned artist, Conrado López. Born in Málaga, Spain, and known in the graffiti world as “Size92,” López’s artworks are infused with an arresting balance of abstraction and figuration, reflecting an unerring ability to capture the beauty in the mundane. His upcoming solo exhibition, 'Conrado's Paintings,' set to open at our Cherry Creek location on June 10th, and running through June 24th, presents an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant expressions of his observations and emotions.
López's artistic journey from graffiti-laden streets to prestigious art schools and galleries offers a unique perspective on everyday urban landscapes and still lifes, rendering them a testament to his transformative gaze. Let's delve into the journey of Conrado López, an artist of extraordinary vision and finesse.
Conrado López in the studio.
To begin with, could you tell us a little about your childhood in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, and how it influenced your path towards art?
I was born in Málaga in 1992, and when I was 3 years old we moved to Jerez. My father (who was a drawing teacher) always gave me pencils, markers and watercolours to draw and paint with when I was a child. When I was 11 years old I discovered graffiti through a classmate. The aggressive colours and shapes and the fact that I was painting in the street caught me completely.
View of a street in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain at night.
As someone born in a region rich in culture and history, how have the landscapes and urban spaces of your hometown influenced your artistic perspective and vision?
The landscapes I paint are not usually the typical “pretty” landscapes of my city. I’m more drawn to buildings in the more marginal neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Seville. Because although we already know that the Giralda is very beautiful, I also like to represent the beauty of “darker” places that also have it.
You are known as “Size92” in the graffiti world, how did this pseudonym come about? And how has your experience in street art influenced your current artistic practice?
It came about when I was very young. I was just looking for letters that combined well with each other and Size took my fancy and I stuck with that one. As for my graffiti influence I would say that in my artistic painting today, it’s about 50%.
Conrado López (Size92) mural at Sevilla, Andalusia, Spain
It must have been an important transition to go from the graffiti-filled streets of Jerez de la Frontera to the sophisticated art classrooms of the Escuela de Arte José Nogué. Can you talk about this transition and how it affected your artistic process?
It affected me a lot because for me it was a novelty. The only thing I knew was painting letters in an “abstract” way. When I started the course at the age of 19, I went from a wall in the street to an easel with a canvas in a studio.
Moving to London in 2014, what impact did this change to a new cultural environment have on you both personally and artistically?
When I arrived in London in 2014 it was a radical change for me, it was the first time I lived away from my homeland. It made me mature and see things outside my comfort zone. I never thought I could commit my life to painting until I came to London. It was then that I realized I could fully dedicate myself to creating paintings and murals if I put in enough effort.
The evolution of your work is quite intriguing: from graffiti to still lifes, to portraits and then to nude studies. Can you explain what triggered these changes in your work?
When I knew I was going to take up painting, I wanted to do something different from others. I didn’t invent anything new, I simply started to paint what I saw around me. From what I see through the window of my house or the tools I use to create my paintings, to the people who influence me in my day to day life.
Among all the techniques you have used, which one do you feel most attached to and why?
I feel most attached to the spray technique, as it is the one I used throughout my childhood to paint in the street, and in the end it is the essence of my painting, above all because of the purity of the colour, something that has to be present in all my works. And the other technique I would say is oil painting, because of the intensity, strength and fluidity of the colours.
Conrado, your works demonstrate a remarkable ability to find beauty and poetry in the everyday, often focusing on simple scenes and urban landscapes. Can you explain what inspires you to transform these often overlooked moments into art?
I can’t explain how I get inspired by such atypical landscapes, I just walk down the street with my phone and whatever catches my eye I take a picture. I usually look at the light, the contrasts, the shapes created by the horizontals, diagonals (geometry, perspective, composition), etc.
Geranium by Conrado López
In your artistic statement for this exhibition, you express a deep interest in everyday moments and their inherent beauty. Could you explain how you perceive these everyday moments and how you convey them through your art?
It’s difficult to explain, because it’s quite spontaneous. I always have my mobile phone on me and whatever inspires me at any given moment I take a photo of it and then work on it in the studio.
Light seems to play a crucial role in your work, especially “light condensed in gold leaf”. Can you tell us about your relationship with light as a medium and how you incorporate it into your current series?
Here in the south of Andalusia we tend to have almost always sunshine, that’s why I always focus on natural light (although sometimes I also use artificial light); I love working with the tones and contrasts that are created naturally. I just try to express it through my painting. Gold leaf is, in a way, condensed sun and it is worked a lot in imagery, in Holy Week. I may also have been influenced by Byzantine art and Gustav Klint.
In your statement you speak of your “devastating capacity for observation”. Can you expand on this idea and how it manifests itself in your exhibition?
Perhaps devastating is a bit of an exaggeration, but I have been told that I have a flair for portraiture. I think I am also good at capturing atmospheres, whether they refer to people and/or objects (still lifes).
In your work you mention a fluid mixture between realism and abstraction-figuration. How do you achieve this balance and how do you decide which style to prioritise in each work?
Rather than a decision, I would say it comes spontaneously.
Your roots in graffiti are clearly influential, allowing you to find beauty beyond marginal and residual urban spaces. Could you give us an example of this in the exhibition?
The influence of graffiti is in the suburban spaces I depict, in the vividness of the colours, but also in the lines I use in my paintings, inherited from the outlining of the letters.
Finally, could you tell us about the process of creating one of your favorite works for this exhibition, from the initial concept to the final piece?
For example in Alba’s Mirror, she was just looking at herself like any other day and I spontaneously took several pictures of her. Then I go to the studio and start with a totally abstract stain based on the photo. And from there I start with the brushes. The key is to know when it’s finished.
Alba's Mirror by Conrado López
In a world often too busy to stop and appreciate the beauty of the everyday, Conrado López's work is a much-needed reminder of the poetry that surrounds us. Through his powerful use of color, light, and his keen eye for observation, he breathes life into the mundane, transforming it into something truly extraordinary.