Emil Alzamora: An Interview with the Sculptor

Prism, Sculpture by Emil Alzamora

Extensive travels with his family from early childhood instilled in Emil Alzamora an appreciation of the humankind beyond national boundaries and personal identities. This early realisation finds its formal expression in his sculptures.

With a gradual stripping away of the identifiable features, the sculptures are left with the qualities that matter – qualities as perceived by the artist himself. And, the audience does not encounter figures dressed in superficialities, but the very essence of the artist’s subjects.

Born in 1975, Lima, Peru, Emil Alzamora spent much of his childhood in Boca Grande, Florida and in Majorca, Spain. He received Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University in 1998.

Your work deals with and vividly depicts the human emotions in its many hues. Pablo Picasso once mentioned, ‘The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place…’ Where do you derive the emotions from and how closely do you observe life to shape the many humane moments with your artist’s eyes?

I am always paying attention to it or at least making an effort to pay attention to anything and everything that could inform me about the big human questions. Sometimes news, sometimes fiction, films, documentaries, travel… visiting museums and art openings… conversations with thoughtful people… observing nature and animals…

All of these things are blended to form an ever-changing stew of perception that I am constantly seeking to interpret and shape into something visual and into something that can leave an impact on the viewer. I try to say as much as possible with the simplest of forms.

Love 2014, A sculpture by Emil Alzamora

How did you work for and manage to create your own niche in the very artistic atmosphere you were privileged to have been born and brought up?

I do feel lucky to have been raised in a home where everyone was busy making things, be it art or crockery for dining. It was apparent to me as I matured into a young adult that making art was a service like any other as far as human work and contribution to society go.

I think too many artists are afraid to accept that fact and get bent out of shape when it comes to making a living off their artwork. I enjoy the challenge. It is real and humbling.

Are the choices of the plethora of materials you utilise to create the sculptural pieces more dependent on the story that you are hoping to narrate or based on the experimentations with a certain material by you at that point of time?

It is a combination of both these things. Often an idea screams for a specific surface finish which can be achieved in a specific way. I love exploring materials and seeing what they can say and how they can convey an emotion or sense of this or that.

There are always problems to solve and these limitations are metaphors for all that humanity has had to contend with to achieve success. With art, it is no different, though with far less serious repercussions if things go wrong.

The Botanist, A sculpture by Emil Alzamora

You have travelled quite a lot and were also exposed to the works of past masters. How relevant was this to the development of the artist in you?

Huge! I love seeing works made at different time and cultures and I love studying art history. It is critical for me to have a broad spectrum of context to consider both the aesthetics and conceptual aspects of the sculptures I make.

Do you have any anecdotal experience that you would like to share from many of your exhibitions or shows that you participate in?

Every exhibition presents its own challenges and opportunities. I try to incorporate the space into the theme as much as possible from a ‘flow’ point of view. Or, if the space is old or has odd features I like to consider how it can play off of the work.

If you are to portray the artist in you through ‘a nice reflection’ of yours what form would it take?

See the photo below…

A curious reflection of Emil Alzamora

What Emil Alzamora prefers?

  • Holiday Destination: Beaches, too many and too varied to have a favourite!
  • Music: Future Islands current favourite
  • Movies: Children of Men (2006)
  • Food: Annie’s (my girlfriend) cooking! Love it!

Find more of his work at his website.

Image Courtesy: Emil Alzamora