“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
~ Albert Einstein
very once in awhile, if we are truly lucky, we come across a painter who fills us with awe. It’s not a word we easily toss around. An artist has to earn our respect, and in a big way, before we can bestow this description upon their work. But we know the feeling when we experience it: That slow intake of breath, the silence that follows as we study, as if looking for something we had all but forgotten we’d lost…
INTERVIEW WITH VINCENT XEUS
Napa, California ~
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Vincent, there is a palpable energy to your portraits, a humming. That sense that these are fully breathing, vibrating beings you’re presenting to us ~ only pausing from their lives momentarily to let us in. Are you able to share a bit with us your process? Or does it feel even a bit of a mystery to you? At what point does a work become to you, for want of a better word, alive?
Vincent Xeus: My painting comes to life when it finds its purpose.
Almost in every painting, I go through the stage of hopelessness. And yet underneath that battle, there’s relentless faith. This faith allows me to keep pushing every painting as far as possible and I never give up. When the answers are found and the painting is complete, it is the greatest feeling knowing that parts of me, as an extension of this world, have transcended to a better place.
Vincent Xeus: My painting process is a series of both anticipated and unplanned events on canvas that lead me to a deeper place. It’s a continuous act of being lost and then being found again. For my audience, hopefully, they too will see the light through darkness, and experience bliss through the chaos.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: I imagine as a child you were highly sensitive? Did this set you apart from your peers? And if so, do you feel that a sense of otherness can become an asset for making that journey to artist?
Vincent Xeus: I’m still that child.
Growing up, I was most often the first kid to fall in love with something. I felt deep compassion for what was happening around me, empathy for the emotions of others. This became one of the biggest influences on how I developed as an artist.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Who have been your greatest sources of inspiration?
Vincent Xeus: I learned how to paint by studying the work of the Italian and Dutch masters.
Vincent Xeus: I loved their traditions and I had an equally strong desire to break away from it. This conflict gave me struggle, and the struggle kept painting alive for me.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: And now? Are there other contemporary artists who inspire you? What do you yourself look for in a work of art?
Vincent Xeus: I love art that truly expands me. I don’t believe in genre or style. I find myself captivated by artworks that resonate with my soul but test my own vision.
What inspires me the most today are the people I’ve met and the events I’ve experienced in my life. Many contemporary artists also inspire me to create from a deeper place: Antonio Lopez Garcia, Odd Nerdrum, Chen Danqing, James Turrell to name a few.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: What, in your opinion, can cause a piece to fail?
Vincent Xeus: I think an artist should embrace uncertainty. In fact, the unknown territory is exactly where one needs to be. It is in facing doubts and fears, and by conquering them, where one finds himself alive and worthy.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Two of my favorite pieces of yours are Julia, in which a young girl is captivated by a ball of light, and the portrait of the noblewoman sporting that great extravagant ruff, in String, in the Event of Light ~ two portraits that straddle the lifespan, exuding very different energies, and yet seem to be in conversation with one another. Was this your intent? Which did you paint first?
Vincent Xeus: That’s a great observation. String, in the Event of Light, was created during a critical point in my life. I had many unanswered questions about choices made and events that occurred. The aged female sums up this energy, emotions raw and sympathetic.
Vincent Xeus: After some time, I painted Julia to capture the radiance of our true self that resides deeply and vulnerably within.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: And do you yourself have a favorite work of your own? Is it ever difficult for you to part with a piece once it’s at last completed?
Vincent Xeus: Each painting completes me in a different way. So it depends on which part of me is speaking. Letting go is still a challenge. There’s power in attachment as well as a hindrance. To me, finding balance is a form of art on its own.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Advice for someone just beginning their journey as an artist?
Vincent Xeus: I would suggest to them to have faith that we all have a definite purpose in life. And when they give everything they have to pursue that purpose, they are destined to succeed.
Being a good painter takes years of patience and practice, but being a good artist takes great awareness, which comes from all the facets in life away from the studio.
|Vincent Xeus is a painter of dreams.
To enjoy more of his artwork, please visit his website.