Quick Sketch: Seven Questions for Orestes

The artist with some of his recent creations

The artist with some of his recent creations

Briefly describe your art.
My art is to represent everything as much as I can in high texture.

What is your favorite art medium?
Clay. Then once I fire it, it becomes ceramic.

When did you learn how to work with clay and ceramic?
I was going to take a class in English literature, but the class was canceled. Then I saw a classroom where students were working with clay. The teacher asked me, “Do you want to join this class?” And that’s how I started (laughs). It was an accident.

What was your first piece of artwork?
It was a 28-by-30 slab cut into irregular pieces in the design of a bird. I finished that piece with a form of firing called raku, and it came out spectacularly because of the different sizes and the different colors. It was exhibited in the Miami Art Center, and immediately I had a buyer. But I didn’t sell it. Later on, I sold it to a woman that was so in love with this piece—finally, I thought, I’ve found the right person for it.

When did you first realize you were an artist?
I don’t feel as if I’m an artist. I feel like I do what I like to do, and I enjoy doing it.

Who mentored you as you developed your artistic style?
Juanita May. She was an authority on clay in the United States, a teacher and the director of the art school at the University of Miami. I took a class with her, and she asked me to enroll in the second one. But money was sort of scarce at that time. She said: “Don’t worry, I’ll make you my assistant.

What gives you the inspiration to create something?
That’s a very common question I get, and it’s hard to answer. I get the feeling that when I am creating my work, the inspiration isn’t coming from my mind. I feel like there is something else that is directing my everything. You feel more like a vehicle. It’s some inspiration that is not really in your control.

interview and photos by Laura McNamara

Orestes recent work

Orestes recent work

7 comments

  • Orestes is my cousing, of which I am very proud. I plan to visit him during Holy Week this coming year to learn about his home and work in Guatemala.

  • I saw the artwork of Orestes exhibited in Antigua at the gallery near the Santo Domingo Hotel on a recent trip. As an architect, I would like to be able to show my clients his artwork, and perhaps get him a commission. Is there a website where one could see the range of his creations?
    Thank you,
    Roberto

  • Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any website displaying more of Orestes work. However, I will contact you by email to pass on his contact info…

  • K. Fitrell

    We proudly own one of Orestes’ pieces. I’d love to be able to reach him because, after several moves, we’ve lot a few of the tiles. It would be great to get a few replacement tiles if possible so we’d appreciate getting his contact information as well. Thanks.

  • D. Berger

    I stumbled on the art gallery in Antigua, Guatemala that displays Orestes’ pieces while I was on a business trip there a couple of years ago. I remain awed by his work and I would love to be able to get his contact information or even the name of the gallery in antigua which I cannot recall. Thank you

  • Bob Mitchell

    We also own a piece with loose and slightly damaged tiles; how can I contact Orestes for advice re: repair?

    Thanks!

  • CATHLEEN DIGIOIA

    MY FAMILY GOES TO ANTIGUA GUATEMALA FOR A MEDICAL MISSION WHERE I HAVE SEEN ORESTES ARTWORK. I WOULD LOVE TO PURCHASE A PIECE OF HIS ART AND WAS WONDERING IF THERE WAS ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT DISPLAYS AND SELLS HIS WORK. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR RESPONDING,

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