B. 1994 in Mexico City and raised in Madrid, Spain; currently resides in New York, NY
José López Vergara is a natural born creative spirit and can’t remember a time when he wasn’t drawing. At an early age his mother gave him a set of colored pencils and a sketchbook inspiring him to develop his gift for drawing. In 2003 after an accident left him housebound with a fractured arm for several months she encouraged him to pursue his drawing to fill his days and suggested that he make detailed pictures of objects around the house. It wasn’t long before a desire for greater challenges led him to portray in pencil and paint the faces of his family members. “For me drawing felt natural and almost effortless ever since I can remember. But I was never satisfied with just drawing, I wanted to create something that looked alive.”
When he was able to return to school part of his education included routine field trips to the Prado Museum. He remembers standing before Peter Paul Ruben’s masterpiece, Saint George and the Dragon in awe — trying to figure out what he was looking at. The iconography represented in Saint George and the Dragon continues to inspire him to this day.
As a teenager he began experimenting with spray paint expressing himself by creating large public murals on buildings and bridges. Later, when he was 19 he returned to his colored pencils and created a series of hyper realistic eye drawings that went viral on the internet receiving recognition from various bloggers and online news media such as the Huffington Post and Mashable. During the time of his social media success he was enrolled at a college in Brownsville, Texas who’s art program was not to his liking so he dropped out choosing to self educate by making copies of photos as faithfully as he could. For two years he perfected his artistry in the medium of color pencil and began to focus on more meaningful and personal subject-matter. “I realized I had to find a way to make paintings like the Rubens I saw at the Prado.”
This desire to create masterpieces led him to Florence, Italy to study classical realist painting with Michael John Angel at the Angel Academy of Art. He began his studies in painting and drawing in 2016 and completed the two year program in 2018. While in Italy he heard about the Grand Central Atelier in New York and discovered the work of core faculty member Colleen Barry. In 2019 he was accepted into the program at GCA and spent his first year in the drawing program under the directorship of Ms. Barry. “She has been a huge inspiration to me. I love the importance she gives to the human figure and how she uses it to convey her view of the world and transcend.“
A second contemporary source of inspiration for López Vergara is the work of Mexican Sculptor, Javier Marín whose three dimensional expression embraces the human condition with a blend of pre hispanic and modern iconography. “I’ve always found inspiration in prehistoric art and in artists of antiquity. I love the idealized figures of humans and animals painted in caves. I find the same beauty in the figures of Greek vases and medieval tapestries. I’m very attracted to the raw shapes and design of ancient art and the first representations of the human figure. The lack of literal naturalism and the representation of the pure idea of something.”
José López currently lives and works in Long Island City, NY