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 Antonio Roybal  (1976 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico / Mexico      Known for: visionary abstraction, figure, religion

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Antonio Roybal
An example of work by Antonio Roybal
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted December 2004 by Jan Verifen, is from information provided by the artist.

Antonio Roybal's artwork reflects a complex history. He was born in 1976 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His extended family is large, and has lived in Northern New Mexico for eleven generations after originally emigrating from Spain. Two great-grandfathers were traders with the Native American pueblo tribes and formed extensive connections with those communities. Roybal entered these traditions as the youngest child and only son in a family with its own special characteristics and challenges. His mother was (and is) strictly religious, his father was a scientist involved in secret nuclear programs, and two of his three sisters are completely deaf.

Roybal began making art at a very young age, so that he could communicate more readily with his sisters. He quickly discovered that he was able to achieve greater comprehension and deeper meaning than he could accomplish with American Sign Language when he "talked" with them through his childhood pictures. His successes and natural curiosity led the child-artist into the challenges of increasing his skill in this other "language". Once in public school, he was regularly chastised for his preoccupation with drawing, which he employed at every opportunity. But nothing could stop his fascination, and constant practice.

The family moved for a time to Southern California, where urban life and palm trees were added to the austere panoramas of the high desert that had been Roybal's early heritage. He made a trip to Portugal, gaining a real and visual sense of his European heritage. Within the life of the family, the push and pull of faith and science, heart and mind, continued - forming the first kernel of the tensions that are ever-present in his artwork.

Returning to New Mexico when his father was called back to Los Alamos to help with secret experiments, young Roybal found himself drawn to the science he overheard, and began to join that interest with the stories of his family, his community and his faith. He explored these interests in his drawings, and began to determine that art would be the focus of his life.

Knowing he needed training, the artist went to Art College in Colorado. He then returned to Santa Fe, where he studied with accomplished working artists, eventually earning an apprenticeship with artist Jean Claude Gaugy, father of Linear Expressionism.

Increasingly, Roybal found himself attracted to metaphysics and visionary art. He learned of a major show called "100 Sacred Visions", sponsored by the acclaimed European visionary artist, Ernst Fuchs, to be held in Austria in 2000. He submitted his artwork for consideration, and was chosen for inclusion. The budding artist set off for Europe to appear at the show, and to see, and to learn. He first traveled in Germany, Italy and France, expanding himself, and then went on to Austria for the show. There, the Fuchs family took note of his skill and determination, and he was invited to study with Ernst Fuchs son, Michael, also an accomplished artist.

Michael focused Roybal on the fundamentals of drawing, and proportion. He was then invited to study further with Ernst Fuchs himself, and he did so, in Fuchs
studios in Monaco and the south of France. Fuchs' lessons and training of Roybal were primarily in "Mische" painting, techniques first developed in Holland, and passed down to classically trained artists for generations. Roybal's imaginative works and his persistence had secured him a position in a very elite group, indeed.

Returning to the United States, Roybal continued working, and his reputation began to grow. In 2002, he was named one of the top 100 Hispanic contemporary artists by The National Hispanic Cultural Center, and included in an exhibition there titled "AHORA". He also reestablished contact with Jean-Claude Gaugy, helping him with the finishing touches on the 11,000 sq. ft monumental work "The Awakening", now in its own museum in Santa Fe.

At present, Antonio Roybal continues to experiment, and to expand both his vision and his technique. His present work focuses on his fascination with combining the learned wisdom communicated through metaphysical symbology with the innocent perceptions of childhood. He does this in a style that could be characterized as
"Contemporary Mannerism". Neo-classical in technique and structure, Roybal's figures gaze enigmatically, and vistas open to a world simultaneously known and unknown.

Mystery is always an element, which can only be resolved in the emotional and spiritual resonances of the viewer himself.

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