Bernardita Zegers: Hilando Fino
Interview with Edward Shaw
ES: Why are you so attracted to change?
BZ: Change is natural for me. I always feel that I am changing, not only in my art but in each and every action of my life. Change can be legitimate or a pretext to justify one’s work when one makes abrupt shifts in direction without conviction. In my case, there are changes in my life that eventually produce changes in my work.
ES: Do you see art as static, or does it adapt itself to the times?
BZ: No, I don’t see art as static: each time we see the same work, it offers a new dialogue. I have a broader outlook, and today I don’t see art as something miraculous, as something to which one must render homage. My own vision is more balanced: art, nature, everyday life all have the same priority for me today. I am much less prejudiced in general. I can enjoy routine, look more deeply, apply the same enthusiasm and dedication to each action and that helps me to minimize the mystique that once upon a time I might have felt for Art as a personal challenge.
ES: Do you feel more comfortable now looking at your own work than you did before?
BZ: I feel more secure, more convinced: I am not afraid of the changes, but I don’t look for them either. They seem to appear like vegetables in season. One has to be alert to receive them and to apply them according to our own essence. I am constantly upbeat: it doesn’t matter to me if I am in the kitchen, at the sewing machine, at my work table, with a grandchild… Each new center of attention demands the same attitude, which in my case is a blend of love and responsibility.
ES: Do you believe you have the vocation to be an artist?
BZ: Yes, I have a vocation: what I don’t have is the emotional necessity to express myself all the time through art. But art has been the focal point, the backbone I have needed throughout my life. As I evolve, I always manage to focus myself again. On numerous occasions, art has been the central focus. Circumstances are what bring me to produce art. Today, for example, I do the St. Petersburg series with passion and commitment. But I realize that this is one more way station on the path of change.
ES: What was the professional criticism that most affected you?
BZ: I remember an encounter with an art critic many years ago. After looking at one of my paintings, he said, “This is a good picture. It can be hung in a corner somewhere.” I felt irritated at the moment, but today I realize: what more can an artist want? Not much more than people who hang one of your works in their home or office and, better yet, in a museum.
ES: Do you paint with your life, like Ximena Fernandez’s words at the beginning of the text suggest?
BZ: If to paint means to create, I definitely do ‘paint’ with my life. It is a frame of mind; I have no personal commitment to art, to painting. I am fascinated when I look at art, just as I am with nature and so many other things that one sees in one’s lifetime. My commitment is to do what I do the best I can, within the limits of my capacity. Whatever it is that I am doing is ultimately a commitment I have with myself. I don’t need to dress up like an artist to be an artist. Even though my work changes from decade to decade, my essence remains firm. What I do comes from my origins, from my gut. Formats can vary, themes and techniques too, but there is a binding connection that goes back to the beginnings. I have always felt bound to that connection.