Verny Sanchez was born in 1973 in Maracaibo – Zulia, Venezuela. Now living and working in Houston, TX Verny has participated in exhibitions in Caracas (Venezuela), NY (US), Miami (Florida, US) and Barcelona (Spain) over the last 19 years.
Before settling in Houston, he lived in Spain where he was a resident artist at La Escocesa for 5 years (Barcelona). The artistic work of Verny Sanchez is a reflection of his abstract thinking and redrawing in graphic structure-compositions based on abstract-figurative "open language", which he refers to as Glyphs or "Glifos". His telltale style features variations of these "Glyphs" across different mediums including painting, sculpture, installations and murals.
I have known Verny for several years now, having worked with him on the CityCentre Mural Project back in 2015. He is literally the nicest guy you will meet, with an amazing passion for his work. I am therefore thrilled to be able to introduce him as my first Artist of the Month in 2017 (I know, I've been slacking):
Tell me a little about yourself, what is your background?
I have a Graphic Design background. I actually considered myself an artist since the middle of high school. In my young artist life, I was always drawing, and most pieces that I did for sale were commissioned paintings in large format.
In my twenties, I combined work in several graphic areas (Graphic Design, Editorial, Art Direction, Art Production, Teaching, etc), with my artist work. In the last 15 years I focused on my artistic career, and only took two small part time jobs during that time. One was teaching in Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid and the other was managing an art production Studio in Barcelona. So yes, my background is as a graphic artist.
Talk me through your creative process, how do you get started, what's the first thing you do when starting a piece etc.?
Two things are very important to me in the process: The Concept and The Emotion. I do not follow one straight process. I am emotional person, so I follow different systems of processes depending on how I feel in that moment. My discipline is to go to the studio and work everyday when possible. I normally have many ideas, I’m always trying to find the correct timeline to develop. I normally work in series. Sometime, the idea is so extraordinary and intense, that I start the pieces without any plan.
Are you a full time artist? If not, how do you find a balance between creating and another job/family etc.?
Let me say before I answer this question, when you are an artist, you are a full time artist. Now I consider the last 15 years as me being a full time artist. When I have to combine this with another job, I usually work in the creative area, so that makes me feel good too. To combine work with family, since my child was born, takes time to get in regular schedule. I always think that I´m missing something important and I want to be there. It’s amazing the world of children, and it gives me new ideas that I project in my new work.
How would you describe your style?
It’s an Abstract-Figurative Language, with strong topics in concepts.
Your style is very consistent in your work, where did the use of linked shapes/circles come from?
PetroGlyph is the key to answer this question.
When I was young, one of my favorite inspirations was general symbols with roots in my home country. One of those symbols that became very important in my work is a PetroGlyph ("Petroglifo de Vigirima", Estado Carabobo, Venezuela). I extract the form and create a particular structure and new forms with the same concept. Later I work to enrich the topic using graphic concepts, applying for example, Escher optical concepts in very simple organic form using union to express ambiguity, strong contrast to create noises or harmony, balance composition, etc.
How did you get into mural painting/street art?
The first time was in high school. Most of my work is in large format. I have to say, in my artist residency in "La Escocesa ,Barcelona, Spain" I shared space with some of the greatest street artists, like Kenor, Zozen, Mina Hamada, Otica, RH101, etc. Part of my master plan is to let my work start to go in other formats or directions, and of course with this influence, one way was trying it in a mural.
How do you typically get commissions?
Networking, somebody sees something that I am developing or working on, Some commissions are from contests though.
What are your biggest influences as an artist?
So many, from today to the past:
General Sciences in all areas: Daniel Richter, Peter Doig, Julie Mehretu, Matthew Richie, Cecily Brown, Sebastian Bianick, and Jaime Gili´s installations. Starky Brines and recently discovered Hyon Gyon. My Venezuelan country was a very important topic.
Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso´s life, life and paintings of Dali, Niki de Saint Phalle´s work, Tinguley, special attention too Kandisky.
Dadaism: Cabré, Héctor Poleo, Mateo Manaure, Jesús Soto, Jacobo Borges, Alirio Palacios. Campos Biscardi´s vision, the dimensions of Pancho Quilici. And I always had a special interest in Edgar Sánchez´paintings.
One special painting of Miró, “Lección de Ski”.
Massimo Cappecci, He was a family member of my best friend, an unrecognized and underestimated genius with an incredible graphic expression and an amazing world of creativity and knowledge. I never met another person with a similar talent.
And finally Enrique Oliveros. He was my art teacher.
What's your favorite subject matter to paint?
What's your favorite medium?
I have two: Mixed material and pencil with oil
Do you have any advice for artists just beginning their career?
The first thing is recognizing your talent in a good way (never underestimate or overestimate), the second, work hard and create a disciplined routine. The third is in art today, networking is the key!
What projects do you have on the horizon?
If you’re interested in visiting my studio, just make an appointment and I will be pleased to show in what I´m working on (Silver Street Art Studios 312). You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website vernysanchez.com
*Some answers have been edited for length/clarity*
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.