Carlos Herraiz
Carlos Herraiz

“I find uncertainty super exciting and stimulating.”


Carlos Herraiz




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Carlos Herraiz

 Who are you? What do you do?

I am 23 years old and I am currently doing a Graduate Residency in Leith School of Art, Edinburgh.
I paint large figurative paintings. Over time, I have started to exclude figures and move more towards abstraction but I still consider them figurative paintings. I am exploring the human condition – ideas such as absence, memory, void or silence through abstraction.

Where are you from?

I am from Barcelona, but I am now living in Edinburgh.

Your style in 3 words?

Intimate, intuitive, nostalgic

Carlos Herraiz, The Hug, 2018
Carlos Herraiz, The Hug, 2018

Your weakness? Your strength?

I love ambiguity. I love to trust ambiguity, and I find myself very comfortable living in it. It can be very pleasant but at the same time it prevents you from deepen in things.

What makes you different?

I am an observer. And a listener.

When did you decide to become an artist?

My grandmother and my dad are both artists, so I guess that art has always been a very innate thing in my life. I used to draw with my dad when I was a kid and I would spend all my time in school drawing. I also wanted to study archeology and social assistence, but I finally decided to study art. I guess that archeology and my sensitivity for people are still a fundamental part of my work and my process. My interest in archeology made me think of painting as “time” concentrated in an object. As layers and layers of decisions searching for something uncertain and sometimes intangible.

Carlos Herraiz, Abstraction I, 2018
Carlos Herraiz, Abstraction I, 2018

What do you find most fascinating about your work?

I found it fascinating when I realised how much you can trust intuition. I believe that once you get rid of all rationalisation and all the intellectual aspects of ones’ work, it can become solely about you and the medium – trusting intuition and trusting the process allows the painting to become a consequence of the process. I used to worry about being unable to reflect my ideas in my paintings in a honest and transparent way, until one teacher told me:

“When you are painting, don’t think… your ideas and emotions will come through subconsciously… think with your hands”.

A few words about your favourite creation?

Claudia. It might not be my favourite painting but I learned a lot from it. It is a 2m by 2,5m oil painting on canvas. I started painting a very realistic women that I named Claudia. I worked on the painting for more than a year, and she started being quite present in my family. They would ask, “how is Claudia doing?”, or I would say “I am going to hang out with Claudia”. But I was never satisfied with the painting. It was only two weeks before a big exhibition in Barcelona when I decided to “destroy” Claudia. It felt so good. I guess that the painting never felt good but I kept ignoring it and convincing myself that it was great. I have learned a lot from that painting – as soon as you start doubting and being in control of the painting, make a radical change; loose control.
Now it is a pure abstract painting but I guess that Claudia is still part of it.

Carlos Herraiz, Claudia, 2018
Carlos Herraiz, Claudia, 2018

Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…

Francis Bacon is always there, also Rothko, Motherwell, Tapies, Munch or contemporany painters like Stef Drisesen, Christopher Le Brun or Jānis Avotiņš. Also photographers like Saul Leiter and Wolfgang Tillmans.

A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?

I have made a dark room in my new flat in Edinburgh and I have been developing my own films. It is a very fascinating process and I would like to explore it’s possibilities and merge photography with painting. I suppose I just want to be open and let as many things as possible feed into my work. Be a sponge.

Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“

The people I love

Carlos Herraiz, Trace of You, 2018
Carlos Herraiz, Trace of You, 2018

2019: Where are we going?

I finish my artist residency at the end of June and I would like to find other residencies so that I can travel while doing my work. But at the moment it’s all quite uncertain. I find uncertainty super exciting and stimulating.

When the going gets tough…

Beer, music and walking.

 Your city’s favourite spots?

My family have a little house in the countryside, just 40 minutes from Barcelona. It is a small village in the middle of the mountains and you can do nothing but go for walks, read, or paint. It is my little bubble of isolation. I have a studio in the house and when it gets a bit warmer I paint in the garden. It is the dream.

Carlos Herraiz, The Kiss, 2018
Carlos Herraiz, The Kiss, 2018

Do you have a vision?

I want to have an exhibition with my dad and my grandmother.

What would you do if you could change the World?

I think the world would be a very different place if everyone worked and dedicate their lives to things that they love and are passionate about.

Tell us about your future plans…

I have no immediate plans. I am awful at planning but I guess I just want to work as much as I can, develop my work and travel. I do have long term plans though – I would like to open an art school for children with special needs. My dad used to run art therapy workshops in hospitals and in the field of mental health, and I used to go with him. I also taught art in a school for children. I loved those experiences because I learned a lot from the people and students I worked with. I would like to create an environment where people from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences can learn, enjoy and communicate through art.

Carlos Herraiz, Abstraction, 2017
Carlos Herraiz, Abstraction, 2017

Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?

A few days ago I was reading an interview with Peter Doig, and he was talking about his relationship with music. He was saying that most people don’t have ten hours a day to listen to music. Artists do, and inadvertently it becomes a kind of backdrop to the work. I listen to mellow music when I paint and I am sure that it influences the mood of the painting. I have been listening to “Razor Love” by Neil Young lately.

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