The enormously talented painter Miriam Escofet uses her brush to explore the rich visual language of art. In her hyper-realistic portraits and paintings, she combines the world of observation with the imaginary and imagined elements which leads to the most magical and breath-taking works.
Miriam Escofet was born in 1967 in sunny Barcelona. At the age of twelve, she and her family moved to the United Kingdom, her mother’s, who had moved to Spain in the sixties, country of birth. Here, Escofet blossomed into a true artist. She studied at the Epsom School of Art & Design and obtained her bachelor's degree in 3D Design at the Brighton School of Art. A successful international career soon followed and Imagicasa is not surprised by that. One look at her wonderful paintings says enough. This artist has an extraordinary talent. She makes hyper-realistic portraits and creates dream worlds that you seem to be able to step into. Escofet tells us more about her inspiration, longings and way of working.
“Painting in oils is a medium with endless possibilities.”
When and how did you know or decided you’d paint as a profession?
“I don’t remember ever thinking that I wanted to become a painter, but I think I arrived at this through a series of instinctual decisions. My father is an artist and my mother went to art school in London, so, growing up, I was surrounded by art and creativity. The decision to go to Art School was very last minute. I wanted to study either painting or sculpture, as I have always loved drawing and making. Unfortunately, all the Fine Art courses were pretty conceptual and I could see no drawing, painting or making going on at all. I found this very depressing so I decided to study 3D Design at Brighton School of Art. I majored in ceramics and when I first left school, I joined a ceramic studio in London. I started to do some commissioned watercolour paintings to earn extra money and found that I wanted to explore more ideas through painting. It was when I started painting in oils that I realised I had found a medium with endless possibilities that would keep me fascinated for life. That is the point at which I knew I had become a painter.” What do you feel when you paint, what does it mean to you?
“What I love most about painting – or any creative act – is that it engages every part of my brain. I honestly think that if it is done well, creativity is the most intelligent of activities. When I am working on new ideas, I am accessing parts of my unconscious and I allow my instinct to play a large hand in how a work will evolve. I make conscious rational decisions about what might work in a current painting, but I also make unconscious emotional decisions and I am very aware of the shift between these two states of thinking and feeling. When I am having a good day in the studio, I am truly at my happiest and I feel completely connected to the universe. I feel very blessed to do what I do.”
“ As a painter, you have to find that bridge between the physicality and the personally”
Which themes do we find in your works and what inspires them?
“My work has evolved over the years through many themes and ideas including still life, allegory, imaginary composition and most recently portraiture, the genre I seem to be most engaged with. The unifying concern in all my paintings is describing a sense of space, volume, atmosphere and detail, arriving at a kind of hyper-real expression of the subject matter. I like to play with ideas of figuration and combining the observed world with the imaginary or invented elements that communicate something beyond the visible, merging these within the same composition.
Ideas behind my work can come from many and varies sources, but the biggest source of inspiration for me have been paintings and sculptures of the late Gothic and early Renaissance. It was such an extraordinary period for artistic growth which coincided with the ‘invention’ of oil paint and the formulation of the principles of perspective.” What’s your technique or process?
“I mainly paint in oils, though I have worked with other media as well, I find oils have an unmatched depth and plasticity that I absolutely love. I have developed quite a painstaking and detailed technique, applying many layers and glazes during the painting process to add subtleness, depth and even mystery to the image. I feel like I am always aiming for an expression of palpable space and mood in my work.”
What do you like most about painting portraits?
“I am glad that I have arrived at portraiture after years of painting other subject matter. It means I can apply the principles that I have learned to the human subject. With portraits you are dealing with the same formal values and challenges that al subject matter presents: composition, light, tone, colour, balance,… But you have the added dimension of psychology and character. What I enjoy the most about painting a person is discovering which aspects of their physiognomy will reveal their character. It is always a surprise to find that a curl of the lip or the lid of an eye can encapsulate so much about a person. As a painter, you have to find that bridge between the physicality and the personally. I find that endlessly fascinating!” What do you want to express with your works, what do you want them to evoke?
“I am very aware of experiencing a sense of wonder when standing in front of paintings that speak to me or move me in some way. There is a kind of visual seduction that takes place and I feel as if I am allowed a glimpse into another world, a world that speaks directly to my senses, feelings and longings. If my paintings can evoke any of these feelings for people, I would be thrilled!”
The highly talented Miriam Escofet managed to visually seduce and move us with her sublime paintings, allowing us a glimpse in her wonderful and personal art world.
You can read the full interview in Imagicasa Art 2019. This special issue of our magazine is still available on our webshop!
Header Image: detail of 'The Thinkers'
All artworks © Miriam Escofet