Seen with Other Eyes (an interview in a local newspaper ) One of the few caricaturists around the Canary Islands who has an international projection, Jorge Molina (Monkey) is a Peruvian artist attracted by the magic of Lanzarote. A native of Arequipa, with his portfolio and his pastels under his arm, he’s spent 20 years wandering through the islands, alternating between Lanzarote and Ibiza. In Peru and Germany he worked as a newspaper cartoonist, capturing the features of his subjects with rapid outlines, projecting his drawing beyond and beneath the skin of his subjects to sketch the secret personality with speedy subcutaneous strokes. “Every man,” says this lover of the instant photo booth, “has his authentic personality drawn on his face: characteristic features that make him an individual and unique, a special creature on Noah’s Arc.” This caricaturist sums it up the way wine was made before, stomping the grapes to get the essence. “Persons without a definite personality,” says Jorge Molina, “it’s difficult to synthesize in a few strokes because there’s nothing in them to sum up: their life experiences don’t show up, it seems as if they haven’t really lived. They’re part of what’s called the human herd, the faceless mass that shows no particular personality.” “But human fauna,” according to Molina, “is replete with people who are crying out for a portrait drawn between the reality and the histrionics. For example, the two most caricaturizable Canarian politicians are Ramon Olarte, with that Saharan visage, and Manuel Hermoso, with that broad brow and prominent nostrils. Saavedra is more difficult because he is the image of indefinition… And I say it because a caricaturist has to be a psychologist and a translator who can quickly define the personality of his subject at first glance.” “People who are difficult to draw, it’s because they don’t show their personality. But in Spain there is quite a quantity of caricaturizable personalities: Alvarez Cascos, Aznar, Borrell, with his elegant equine profile. Pujol, of course, Cristina Almeida, Anguita, Felipe González, with those bags under his eyes and that hound dog look; prince Felipe, with his swan’s neck… and so on… the list could go on and on.” “Children, for example don’t have a in them caricature because there isn’t a developed character that can be translated en four quick strokes: their’s is a caricature in waiting…” declares Jorge Molina. This greatly accomplished Peruvian caricaturist, who has his own Website on the Internet, explains: “A person who is anodyne lacks caricaturizable motifs because there is nothing in them to sum up. At bottom, making a caricature is definitely like making a psychoanalysis on paper, although one shouldn’t press too hard. I always try to maintain myself on a line just at the limit between joshing and jeering, far from cruelty: in other words a critical representation must not involve offense or vengeance.” Molina sums up, saying, “Just as there are persons who were born to be caricaturized, and are amused to recognize themselves as if they were seeing themselves in a mirror. There are others who fear caricature just as they fear fire, and it’s painful for them to see themselves as the object of mockery. That is an erroneous concept of caricature, which does not deal with mockery, but rather consists of the portrayal of a person in a more or less exact way, but exaggerated. An artist enjoys portraying the subject’s personality, as if it’s a game of riddles, trying to win by gaining insight into the subject’s interior world.” (article in Diario de Ibiza, 22 August, 1983) JORGE AND CAMILA – ART IN THE STREET: At the present moment I’m sitting all alone, pensively sighing. It seems to me that there must be other men, in other countries, pensively sighing. Looking beyond their own self-portraits. I can see them in Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Sweden, England, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, recalling the moment and the stroke and the instant in which Jorge Molina drew their portraits on any of the summer nights in San Antonio. It is quite an agreeable portrait, and Jorge Molina and Camila, his muse, had a great deal to do with that happy coincidence. Interview for portalelcan.net © José Manchego-Muñoz Edition and adaptation: Kenyon and Atticus Manchego-Diaz Caricatures courtesy of and © Fico Molina Photos: Mery Manchego-Diaz y Juan Carlos Rivera. Lanzarote, 4th of March, 2005. Fico Molina is a surprising artist. Swoop! One stroke of his felt-tipped pen and he’s outlined the subject’s profile. With a quick swip-swip he’s got the eyes and mouth. Another swip-swip draws the body in an amusing stance. In four or five minutes the loud laughing and applause breaks out… the resemblance to the happy client is indisputable! These caricatures are done with a mastery and virtuosity that dignify thirty years of experience. He opens up his multi-colored portfolio for us, on one of the prettiest beaches in the Canary Islands. Let’s have a look… Q: Fico Molina, what is caricature? A: Well Pepe, caricature is medium of expression whose general concept consists of exaggerating the features to attain a resemblance to the face. In sum, it’s more an interpretation of the personality rather than a distortion or deformation of the face. Q: Which factor determines the admiration and preference of your public? A: Well, the caricatures I do in front of an audience are conventional caricatures where, apart from the resemblance, the imagination and the charm of the subject must prevail. Without these elements, the deception and rejection of your client are imminent. Q: What is the difference between a studio caricature and drawing in front of an audience? A: I would say that it’s like a game of chess. There are matches with rapid, immediate moves and there are slow matches where you can take more time to reflect calmly. It’s the same with caricature. In front of an audience, you need quickness in realizing the resemblance and the charm of your subject because there are other people awaiting their turn. For a caricature in the studio, you are more concentrated, you study the subject more, you make more sketches, and then you calmly choose the sketch you like most to complete the interpretation of the personality. Q: What are the steps you take to carry out your caricatures? A: Don’t forget that I have only a few minutes for these steps. I start with secondary features, these can be, for example, the brow or the shape of the face. Almost simultaneously, I’m concentrating on capturing the resemblance to the subject, which is found basically in the eyes and mouth. Here, I look for a concordance between the two. Fundamentally, the resemblance is directly linked to the expression of the eyes and the mouth. Q: In your thirty years as a caricaturist in front of an audience, what would you say is the key to encounter the resemblance of your subject? A: There is nothing cataloged. Each person is different, a world of their own. In a few minutes, to have analyze which leg they limp on (which feature they favor). But the “key” as you put it, is a detailed observation of the person. Q: In just a few minutes? I can’t imagine the speed with which you attain the resemblance. A: Well, people can see the resemblance from the first stroke. Generally, after the first minute, or two or three, I’ve got the resemblance. The rest of the time I use for the details. Ten minutes are enough for me to submit the final result. Q: Does it happen that you find a subject that’s difficult to attain a really certain resemblance? It’s rare that I find a person who is difficult to interpret. Another key is knowing how to pose your subject… knowing how to establish communication… Q: So then, you prefer a particular pose? A: Yes Pepe, the three-quarter or face-on. But I like the profile also, most of all when the subject has a great big nose… like yours (smiles and more smiles). That’s when I prefer the profile. Q: Do you have any difficulties making a caricature of female faces? A: Well, I don’t have any big problems. Given the years of experience that I have, I almost never feel uncomfortable in that sense. You have to know that a woman has finer features. In other words, there’s no mustache or beard as a key feature. They have more refined lips, lips that are more delicate, and elements of their face that are “normal” or “intermediate”… expressions that are sweeter… one could say that there isn’t much to exaggerate. Then, a lot of observation is necessary, and given my experience, I almost never face a dilemma. Q: Then how do you face such a dilemma on paper? A: Well, I concentrate, as I said before, on the details of the mouth and eyes. The eyes are very expressive. As you know Pepe, girls use makeup on their mouth, their eyes… they have a bit of vanity… quote, unquote. There are many girls, when they know that they are going to pose for a caricature, they get ready, putting on makeup to pose in a very feminine way… eye shadow… lipstick. This could cause a mistake in attain a good resemblance, but that is solved with rigorous observation. Q: Why don’t we see a lot of women caricaturists? A: Well, you know that there aren’t many women clowns, or women buffoons, right? Women have less feeling for the art of the ridiculous. Women don’t like to read comic books. I think that the sense of humor, of satire, is a characteristic of men and of western culture. But I think that the times are changing, the coin is starting to flip. For example, where I work, I’m beginning to realize that I have more women clients than men. I do have men clients with that level of vanity, they like to use ear-rings, body piercing, they choose delicate tattoos, they go in for muscle and body-building worship. Really, everything is changing. Q: What can you tell us regarding your technique? A: Well, it’s the technique of the felt-tipped pen. The felt-tipped pen as the final stroke. I don’t make sketches… I go all the way straight away. I don’t use a pencil or an eraser. I go straight ahead. Q: And what do you say regarding style? A: In every caricature, I look to the conventional style, that is, moderate the features, capture an agreeable smile, a charming gesture. Without offending the subject. In that respect, I always take care that the client is satisfied, pleased with the result. They should never feel aggrieved. Q: There are artists who imitate or copy others. Is there a way to escape that influence? A: Just a few. Only a few. I think that each caricaturist has his own style. At various conventions I’ve been to in the United States, I’ve noticed that no caricaturist is like another. If there was some influence, his own style could still be noted anyway. The technique can be copied, but not the style. Q: Would you tell us which caricaturists you admire? A: When I was younger, I admired Malaga Grenet, Guillermo Osorio, “Slim” Fairlie… you knew them, no? Later, when I was in Germany, I admired the great Jean Multier, Riccord, and Morchoisne. Later, in Spain, I looked up to Loredano, who broke with the conventional style, and now I’m looking up to Omar Turcios and Sebastian Krüger… artists who are breaking away from all the previous schemes. What I like about all this cycle is that nowadays, people can no longer say, in view of all this phenomena that is the art of caricature, that caricature is a minor art… all you have to do is look to the masters who I have mentioned. Q: Thank you very much Fico. Lanzarote, 4th of March, 2005.