Understanding an Artist – an Interview by M. Pitter

Xavier Robles de Medina is a visual artist originally from Paramaribo, Suriname. He spent the Summer of 2012 interning at the Dumbo Arts Center in Brooklyn. He is currently completing his Bachelor’s degree in painting and animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia.

(Cover Image: “Pursuit of Perfection #2″ by Xavier Robles de Medina. Oil on Linen. 38″x 38”.)


What would you say is the source of your painting abilities and style?
I suppose ability in general has a lot to do with deliberate and habitual practice. I truly love to draw and paint; it is probably the one thing that I’ve spent the most time and energy doing. Ability, I feel, is also closely tied to conviction and passion. The subjects and ideas behind my work are directly drawn from my life, or experiences, that I am immensely passionate about or believe in strongly. This should explain the matter of “style”.

How abstract do you believe a piece of art can be without losing significance? Does it even need to have significance? Does it need to just be experienced?
It depends on the type of significance one expects or aspires to achieve. Also, I think significance is intrinsically dependent on an audience. I can only answer this question from the perspective of a practicing artist: I feel that it is important, as a contemporary artist of the digital and Facebook age, to aspire to make art that can only really be experienced in real life (excluding perhaps the medium of film). To me, the significance of a piece is largely defined by the inability to reproduce the experience of its material presence. This argument is obviously coming from a highly formalist perspective, and I do believe it is possible for a work of art to resonate simply through its conception.

Could you apply this to other mediums of art, like music, film or literature?
I do think there is a strong argument for live music versus studio recordings. I know many film fanatics would advocate 35 mm film over digital. In terms of literature, there is the issue of translations. So yes, the argument is universal.

“bathers”. watercolor on paper. 8.5″X11″.

How would you want viewers to interpret this piece above?

“gravitas”. watercolor on paper. 13″X19″.

Does it matter if this painting’s meaning to the audience greatly differs from its meaning to you?
I surely hope it does!

What do the titles of your works have to do with their appearance?
The titles of my pieces are always reflective of the inspiration, or intention behind them. They are often neologisms as a huge part of my philosophy revolves around the limitation of language. For instance, “Epitherial” is the combination of the words epithelium (skin tissue), and ethereal, both words literally describe the appearance as well as the concept of the piece and when combined, very specifically, address the idiosyncrasies of the piece at hand.

“epitherial”. watercolor and graphite on paper. 10.25″X13.75″.

These last three pieces are installments from Xavier’s second solo project entitled “i” which is currently being exhibited in Savannah, Georgia. To learn more about Xavier, please visit his site: http://theartofxavier.blogspot.com/.

%d bloggers like this: