Raoul Orzabal - Baroque Cubism

Raoul Orzabal is an irrepressible young artist currently exhibiting in his first solo show Baroque Cubism at the Hampstead School of Art. We visited Raoul's Chelsea studio to see how he works and find out what drives him to create his compelling body of work.

When did you first realise that you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always had a thing for drawing and painting for most of my life. When I got to AS level I started having real pride in what I was doing, I had this addiction to keep constantly making work and really enjoying the process as it went along. I have an interest in the history of art as well, as I was learning it I was making more ambitious work. I looked at early twentieth century artists and the way that movements of art evolved, that really inspired me.

Dyrham in Winter, 2017 | Oil on Linen | 54 x 79 cm | £950 - For sales enquiries please email info@focusldn.com

Did you study a BA?

I did a foundation and BA. My degree was at Westminster.

Do you think it helped you grow as an artist?

It did; mainly because of the resources not the teaching or lectures so much. I think there was only one lecture in those three years where there they spoke about painting and that was it. I graduated two years ago this June.

What drives you to create art?

It was the only way I found to express myself, I have my own kind of store house that I wanted to release and over the years I have tried to find different ways to express that. Also, I have a thing where I cannot stop when I start making work. I go for hours and hours quite late into the night sometimes.

Rococo Futurism I, 2017 | Oil on Linen | 97 x 127 cm | £3,500 - For sales enquiries please email info@focusldn.com

Take us through your process from idea to completion.

It has evolved over time; I’d say my theme emerged when I wanted to design my own style. It was kind of straight line geometric work influenced by technology. I would build the visual references out of collage on Photoshop and work from there. My theme is the computer influenced abstract paintings.

Who are you biggest inspirations?

I guess that is something that has changed over time, when I was first really inspired I was about nineteen and it was a lot of the early twentieth century masters, from Picasso to Kandinsky, to Bomberg and all those figures. And now… I can’t find any more. I don’t know what has happened, no new artist has come along and struck me inspiration wise. I guess, in my degree, someone more contemporary would have been Gordon Matta Clark which took hold of abandoned structures and cut them in half. For example, the Humble Street Splitting, a suburban wooden house which was cut in half.

What do you think of the art world in 2018?

It is as though the art world has two sides and I feel like I’m in the middle. You have the artistic establishment which is still very conceptual art, which it has been since the 60’s and 70’s which is the format that all the big key figures in art today present. Then you still have a market for classical painting. I think I’m somewhere in the middle, I don’t fit in with one end or the other.

Turner Modrian Mk I | Oil on board | 53 x 43 cm | £3,500 | For sales enquiries please email info@focusldn.com

The last year I went through a mash-up phase where I wanted to take elements of techniques from two artists of different eras and merge them together into one image. One work was the Turner effect with Mondrian, I pushed themselves together with interesting results.

Rococo-Futurism I. It is another mash up idea, but came from the magic wand tool on Photoshop, where I highlight and delete random sections of the photograph and place a sky background behind it. You get this quite stunning pixelated effect. It wouldn’t be much use for photography but it becomes interesting went you translate it into oil painting.

I mainly use architectural, floral, and landscape motifs in my work. 

Why should someone come to your show?

Just to be lost and entertained. I don’t want my work to be left there to be worked out or anything like that. It is expressive, they are entering my store house when they see my art.


Raoul's exhibition "Baroque Cubism" is currently on at the Hampstead School of Art. To attend the private view on Thursday 22nd February please click here.