Jorge Sancho Galego answers your questions [French] [Portugues]
A web site, what for?
« If I were born at the time of the quest for fire, I would have liked to be one of the first users of fire. »
Why are some of the paintings not signed?
« They are all signed. Sometimes they are signed on the back. My earlier paintings were signed with my first name as did Van Gogh, then I used a monogram, like Auguste Rodin, and then my first name and both of my last names to please my mother. Some paintings have been signed on the back like the “Heart-Leaves”, in order to keep all the strength of the composition and preserve all the tension that exists between the “Heart-Leaf” and the frame. »
What annoys you most in today’s Art system?
« The galleries that are unable to take economic risks with young artists, the auctioneers who unscrupulously sell at cut rate price the works as if they were vegetables, the public mistaking exhibitions and real sales, the real interest of the works and the announced prices, people who determine prices according to the format as if they were dealing with fitted carpet, people who don’t see exhibitions in galleries very often although it is free, the television that seldom talks about contemporary painters, people who mistake a style and a recipe for making works of art, people who don’t even see the difference between an original piece of work and a lithography or a reproduction... Well, I think that’s enough for today!... »
You are part of the painters presented by the portuguese Embassy in Paris, do you feel like a standard bearer?
« No. I am proud of my portuguese origins but in our times (Internet, cable TV, big libraries) cultural influences are international and the essence of the works lies more on individual’s singularity rather than in a country or city’s. »
According to you, what should be the role of an artist in society?
« I think an artist must be able to bring his particular suggestion of the “Beautiful” but he must not shut himself up in his artistic bubble. He must be able to show his social and political commitments with independence, wonder and determination. »
Which of your works are you the proudest?
« I would say “The Natural One”, my first “Heart-Leaf”, and my portraits against racism, but in fact each painting or drawing, even the most insignificant, has a role to play in the progression of the work. »
Who are your favourite painters?
« Prehistoric painters, children’s drawings and Picasso (for his work and life) even though it is not original... »
Which painters influenced you most?
« There are a lot of them but in an indirect way. »
How do you explain the fact that only a minority are really interested in Art?
« I think that many people have not understood that a picture is first and foremost a singular language before being a decorative object. »
How long does it take you to make a picture?
« It rarely takes me more than a day to make it but it is impossible to calculate the preparation time - it can be years - as it is related to the unconscious which is constantly working. »
Is it difficult to be an artist and painter today?
« Since your work is linked to your vocations, desire or dream, it is not difficult. Obviously, those who have talent will learn quicker. »
What advice would you give to a young artist?
« I would tell him never to lose heart knowing that painting is a marathon that lasts a whole life with, at the end, the possibility of neither recognition artistically or economically. I would advise him to know a minimum of the World Art History, from prehistory to present, without suffering too much direct influence. I would tell him to paint what he likes at the moment he is painting and avoid repetitive recipes. Also to allow himself time and space to breath and to consider Art as an adventure, not as a job from which one expects a regular income... »
What do you think of the price differences in works of art in general?
« There is no real logic for prices, some works are overvalued only to increase the value of a private or national collection. That is why you can have contemporary works sold at a higher price than antique ones. Fortunately, the prices of paintings are not always more expensive after the artist’s death. There are no commercial works, it is a matter of offer and demand depending on sales sites. »
Are you an ecologist painter ?
« My ‘‘Heart-Leaves” symbolise nature and a sensitivity for ecology but I do not feel like an activist. I feel concerned about ecology, in the same way as racism and human rights. »
Did you really cut a tuft of hair to make a brush when you were 8?
« Yes. Maybe was it a sign but I remember that I found it a way not to get bawled out by the teacher as I had forgotten my material. At that time education was as strict as it is lax now. »
According to you, what must be the main qualities of a picture?
« Originality, wonder and a part of it should be a witness of its time, without any fear of political and economic censorship. »
Have you put all your production on the Web site?
« No. There are some paintings, mostly those of the beginning, which have not been photographed. Nonetheless, you can find key pictures of various themes or techniques. »
Questions and answers based on those asked by people who showed an interest in my work. (February 2001)