The Inner Story – Caio Fonseca – Ep 26
April 20, 2022
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Unlike most people, artists have this driving passion for never staying the same in their art. Even if what they make is tremendous or popular, they soon change. I freaking LOVE this about artists. I have it in me too. And even though I’m not entirely sure why I find such a deep connection with those who share this desire.
On this episode, I get to sit down with a hero of mine, Caio Fonseca. Over the years, he’s given me so much assurance about my own artistic path (unbeknownst to him). With over a lifetime of art-making, he’s demonstrated staying at the forefront of his art. He constantly pushes past where he has already remarkably been and moves forward to the edge of what he doesn’t quite know. This, of course, is the sweet spot in art-making. Above all the accolades, the gallery shows, the sales, and the followers…it is in these rare, but precious moments when you realize that you just made something that is you, but not TOO you. That right there is what it’s all about.
I just read that line and I don’t imagine that most people wouldn’t even get that, but no matter. This conversation is for the makers in this world. It’s for us. For YOU. Join me now for a glimpse into the grounded and poetic thinking of Caio Fonseca. An artist that shows us all how beautiful and poignant this art journey can be.
Listen if you are interested in…
- Caio discusses his background and how he got started as an artist [2:49]
- The artistic sweet spot, realism in abstract art, and finding balance before the paint dries [6:20]
- Going beyond the canvas and the art of composition [11:54]
- The emotion and mood of Caio’s work [17:04]
- How Caio overcomes creative roadblocks and the logistics of his art-making [21:47]
- The role of space and time in Caio’s paintings and giving yourself permission to experience your art [30:11]
- Where Caio is headed next [41:11]
An “overnight” success
As a Greenwich Village-based child of two artists, Caio Fonseca grew up immersed in art and culture. Unsure of what to pursue and a world of options before him, Caio enrolled in university for one year. Caio’s brother had been sent to Spain to study painting with the son of the man who trained their father, artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia. When Caio visited his brother in Barcelona during break, he was so impressed with the work that he left college right then and there. He would then spend the next 16 years in Europe learning and developing his craft alongside his brother and their teacher.
Caio’s art journey began with figurative nature-based paintings and slowly introduced the abstract elements that would later define his artwork. After a brief year in Uruguay, Caio spent five more years in Europe, further honing his unique abstract style. Finally, he returned to New York in 1991, where he had his first art show in 15 years and his first show ever in the United States. What happened next could only be described as an overnight success. However, the 15 years that Caio took to develop himself and make sure he was ready is anything but.
New York City is an amazing place. The art scene is one of the best in the entire world and NYC has served as Caio Fonseca’s base of operations since the early 90s. But there’s a reason why it’s nicknamed “The City That Never Sleeps”, among other things. The city’s crowded and chaotic energy can be draining at times for even the most adamant extrovert. This is why Caio still returns to his Pietrasanta, Italy studio five months out of the year for the last 30 years. He needs to connect with himself and his art so that he can return to New York as a healthy artist, in work and body. This time serves as an intensive immersion that drives his art practice for the rest of the year.
How great is it to take that kind of time to focus on yourself and your art? Understandably, we can’t all live in Italy for five months out of the year. But what does an “intensive immersion” look like in YOUR OWN art practice? Is it a month? A weekend? One day per week? Start small with the intention of turning that creative spark into a fire. We find that aforementioned sweet spot in our art when we are willing to intentionally invest time into our practice. It’s how we keep our work fresh and ensure that we become the artists we want to be.
Crawling around in the dark
Whether you are composing music or a painting, the process is fairly similar. I liken my art process to stumbling around in the dark, holding on to what works, removing what doesn’t, and then suddenly I find myself in front of a painting. As both an artist and a musician, Caio understands this kind of relationship with art very well. He shares that in order to start a painting, you can’t know too much about it. Otherwise, it’s just a copy of something that feels stale before it’s even finished.
He goes on to say that we need a “germ of an idea”. Maybe it’s just the palette or a single form that we can build out from, but we need a direction to head in. From there, we’re ready to dive in, make a few mistakes, and allow the painting to continue to develop. Caio believes that once we’re “in a painting”, all we have to do is follow the thread to find where it wants to go. But the key is being present. We have to consistently get ourselves in front of the canvas. Listen to this episode for more insights from Caio and to hear what he’s doing next!
Resources & People Mentioned
- Joaquín Torres-García (Artist)
- Caio Fonseca Interview
- Caio Fonseca at the Grace Building
- Creating the New Century Artist Profile
- Painter: Caio Fonseca (Film)
- MATTINATA sonatina palindroma alla quarta, Caio Fonseca 2016 *Score
- MATTINATA sonatina palindroma alla quarta, Caio Fonseca 2016
- STRING QUARTET No. 1 Caio Fonseca (2017)
- Etude No.1 , Caio Fonseca 2019 (1/7) *Score
- Etude No.1, Caio Fonseca 2019 – (Elizabeth Pridgen, Pianist)
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.