There can be little doubt that Jesús Alcides Ruphay is anything but your typical artist. Once interested in studying engineering, after he was revived after having legally died in an electrical accident, his entire brain structure and outlook on life changed, and he’s dedicated himself to the arts ever since.
Currently living in Haurán, Jesús experiments with a variety of styles, from psychedelic to European Renaissance. He’s also experimenting with photography, and shows great talent in whatever he embarks on.
Here, he shares a bit about what inspires his work, why he loves living in the valley, and more.
When did you first become interested in art?
Since I was a child as a spectator, I was amazed by the old canvases of the Temple of Calca, its saints, its colorful and magical dances, and the cartoons you could find in old newspapers. But as a senior art practitioner, I really began to draw seriously around 19 or 20 years ago.
What are some of your greatest influences?
Wow, I guess I have them, but it’s a very long list of artists that have touched me, with their work. With their lives. I would like to explain that my style isn’t based on one technique, rather it is a continuous attempt to be flexible, to constantly change my work, never to be routine, to find myself in art.
Oscar Wilde says in one of his critical essays on art: “The writer is always asked: why do you not write like another writer? Or to the painter: why do you not paint like another painter? Forgetting the fact that if one or the other did something similar, they would stop being artists … ”
I think unconsciously something of the work of artists that I admire should influence my work, but I try to avoid it.
What inspires you about the local landscape?
Lately, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see in some of my latest works are inspired by daydreams: mountains such as the Pitusiray Sahuasiray, some local animals, and dance characters can appear. And this so natural for me. This is not only in the painting, but in my photography; I enjoy photographing nature. I climb up in the mountains to try to portray their personalities. I like to capture the wild fauna that cohabitates – or tries to cohabitate – with us.
Of course our local parties, with their delirium, colours, joy and enthusiasm, seem magical always. So they are a good subject to portray, too.
What do you love most about living in the Sacred Valley?
I have a continuous memory: a neighbour, whenever I see him, tells me that this land belongs to the gods. He says to me: “this land is of the gods!” And of course, he is right. It is a very generous land, the Pachamamite, maybe this valley is your very heart. My life’s experience has been almost entirely between Cusco and this valley, and it has many memories. I’m very fond of them. Some nights, I go to see the valley from high in the mountains, and from there, the valley looks like a cradle among the stars. I think it inspires me a lot, and many other people, too.
If not an artist, what would you be?
I do not know, I have not thought about it…maybe a carpenter. But something that involves manual activities.
Which Peruvian artists do you like?
Cusco is full of artists that I admire; they are incredible: Carlos Bardales, Luis Palao, Elio Huacapaza, Herber Huaman, Richard Peralta.
How is your photographic work different to your painting?
Photography makes you pay attention to the scenes to the light changes, to the different angles, makes you spy, search…. it’s fun!
Painting makes me experiment with colours; to mix colours with new nuances; to create new colours. I think that many painters spend more time in front of the palette than they do in front of the canvas. I do like painting more because it allows me to play with my imagination. Photography is fun, and I connect it to going for walks and exploring. Photography makes you look for which fraction of reality would be best to capture, while painting makes you build realities. I really like to paint more, at this moment.
To learn more about Ruphay’s paintings, or to buy, please click here.