The common thread of the work of Rafel Moreno, is the artistic expression of feelings as universal as love, sadness and the desire for freedom.
an article written by Carmen Line Hust
ARTICULATE #28 | JULY 2021
The Spanish self-taught artist Rafel Moreno Brunet (b. 1978), has since his early childhood found his sanctuary in the creation of art. As a child, Moreno was quite timid and introvert, for which he didn’t harassed anybody with his attitude. Moreno’s first years of painting was predominated by the human figure. It was paintings full of melancholic and intimate dyes. The common thread of the work of Moreno, is the artistic expression of feelings as universal as love, sadness and the desire for freedom. For this journey, he has used all kinds of materials and techniques (generally, reusing or recycling materials).
Moreno perceives the artistic creation as a constant process of learning. It motivates him to initiate projects that require new theoretical and practical knowledge. Each of his artworks or projects converts itself in an adventure towards the unknown, which awakens his innate curiosity and enrichens his personal experience. Not in vain, Moreno considers himself a self-taught artist, that since the beginning is working from the strategy of learning by doing, and this without losing his spirit when committing technical errors, as errors have the potential of leading to unexpected results.
When it comes to a commission, the process is different. In this case, Moreno gets organized and start documenting the theory of the processes that he’s going to use in each work.
The work of Moreno is very varied, for which it seems impossible to define him as an artist. Is he a sculptor, painter, illustrator, designer or set designer? He chooses his technique according to what he wants to express. Preferably, Moreno uses waste material, not only because of the necessity of recycling or because it’s fashionable, but because he started that way. When you do not have the (financial) resources to buy quality material, you always have many other materials on hand.
Moreno cannot say with exactitude that he has a favorite means of expression. It depends on the moment and the work he has to do, either on his own initiative or on commission. In his early days he cultivated painting by making some exhibitions with great acceptance, and that motivated him even more to continue. Moreno has always been combining painting with sculpture (and constantly with private commissions). However, if the process becomes too long, he starts to lose interest, because of him not handling routines very well, he needs to change or combine jobs. Moreno furthermore supposes that more than the technique, the most important thing is to be able to express and transmit what he feels or want, be it sculpture, painting, installation, any waste material, etc.
When it comes to "free" works, those that arise from Moreno’s interior, he is perfectly capable of improvising, although always with self-demand in the environment. Although his more "personal", deeper, or intimate works are countable, due to his environmental self-demands and due to "interruptions" of commissions, they without a doubt have been the most heartfelt, admired, or simply put, they have not left the public indifferent. According to Moreno, he has not yet made any "masterpieces", because he feels that the process of learning is never ending, and that there is always room for improvement. The commissioned works, such as portraits, illustrations and sculptures, have required a lot of previous documentation, a detailed study of the motifs / models, choice of technique and materials to be used, etc. In this sense Moreno considers himself quite a perfectionist. He needs to have very clear ideas to start physical work.
He suffers a lot deciding the details, the preliminary design, presenting the proposals, but once the process has started, he spends hours and hours working without rest. As an anecdote, Moreno doesn't like having a too long working process. For whatever reason he has to stop the process, sometimes just for a short period, or it remains in the workshop without ever being finished.
In the works that Moreno decides to freely create, the theme, the motif, arises from multiple factors. It can be an emotional impact (positive or negative), news, a certain reading, through a poem or having listened to a song (either because of its music, because of what it transmits, or because of its lyrics). In this regard, Moreno confesses that he always works with music, he enjoys music. He can be perfectly with music 24 hours, even listening to the same song on a loop while working. Another factor for creation is the waste material, as Moreno enjoys giving a second life to something that no longer had it. And this, in many cases, is the main reason for many of his works.
Moreno concludes that the works that are born of an intimate and personal motivation, without being subject to prior formal or thematic conditions, are usually the ones that viewers like the most of when exhibiting. Therefore, he firmly believes that the artist who can create in freedom, making use of his most personal motivations, manages to get closer to what he pursues, and this is transmitted in some way to the public.
Therefore, he firmly believes that the artist who can create in freedom, making use of his most personal motivations, manages to get closer to what he pursues, and this is transmitted in some way to the public.
The truth, although it is somewhat contradictory, is that Moreno likes to see how people react when they see his work or being able to hear their comments without knowing that he can hear them, but suffers terribly in the presentations, the inaugurations, especially his own, to the point that if he could make himself invisible in these social occasions, it would be great.
Leaving aside his phobias or social problems, Moreno loves his job. Apart from creating the artworks, he enjoys meticulously to organize exhibitions. Prior to an exhibition Moreno wants to know the space, the measurements of everything, the light and the design of its interior. These details, Moreno uses to design and curate the entire exhibition, as he considers the exhibition space to be almost as important as the work presented.
Design is part of the work of Moreno, whether in interior spaces, in giant outdoor murals or in the creation of furniture. In the cases that Moreno works with a character, which have to reproduce some predetermined motive, he becomes very perfectionistic. This can sometimes be counterproductive in some cases, because it never lets him finish an artwork.
The list of artists that have been influencing Moreno over time, seems infinite. It can be said that his visual background was based in consulting books and magazines and, currently, on the immense resources of the internet. However, he cannot ignore the impact that the possibility of seeing the works of famous painters in various museums has caused on him.
It will be difficult for him to forget the first time Moreno visited the Prado Museum. If the visit itself was disturbing, exciting and enriching, the total climax reached him when he entered the rooms dedicated to the historical painting of the Spanish 19th century. Specifically, the room where the painting is exhibited: The Shooting of Torrijos and his Companion on the beaches of Malaga(1886) by Antonio Gisbert Pérez (1834-1901). Moreno has always been attracted and captivated by the possibility of painting large-format works, but circumstances do not allow it: clients, possibility of having the right time and space, etc. This great painting had a brutal impact on Moreno, for what it represents, for how an absolute tragedy can be represented with such dignity, skill and capacity.
This article about Rafel Moreno takes part of the 28th magazine, ARTICULATE #28. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below.