Paving a way to an Ethno-Organic art form

Hola Miguel! Thank you for agreeing to take part in our 9th dialogue! We are really excited to hear from you. Can you take us back to the beginning of it all…

Well, drawing has been always part of my life, and it is through it that I have been able to express my creativity and emotions. Since I was a kid my ideas flowed through my hand to be captured onto different surfaces. But it was during a long and tedious bureaucratic meeting, while passing time scribbling images in my notebook, that I realised that painting is what I wanted to do in my entire life.  

So, I decided to leave everything and start painting to follow my passion as a full-time artist.

So, you haven’t had any formal training in art…

No, I’m a self-thought artist.  I had did some basic studying in arts but everything else comes from my gut instincts.  

What is your principal medium of choice?

I use acrylic paint on canvas or wood.  My painting technique is based on the use of interconnected and interlaced dark thick lines, dots and organic elements, contrasting with a primary color palette.  Elements with ethnic influence give shape to amorphous figures or organic beings, such as animals, plants, people or insects.

What moves you to do what you do?

My style is deeply influenced by my ethno-biological studies and the close contact with nature and indigenous people I had during my exploration trips in jungles and forests. This contact allowed me to understand the indigenous “cosmovision” or worldview as they call it in English, philosophy and culture.  The combination of these natural and ethnical experiences led me to define my style as “Ethno-organic”.

Art for art’s sake or for people?

I think that art is for people. Creating something always seeks to awaken sensations, feelings, reactions and comments in the observer. I can’t conceive art without people, but the artist always has to have the control of their creations, trying to propose something original, different and with his own style, no matter the art trend in this moment. 

Your favourite art piece?

I don’t have a one. I’m attracted to anything that speaks for itself. No matter who the artist or the type of work or the price or year. Whereas, speaking about my pieces, each one has something special, something unique.  Each piece has a part of my soul. My bulls artworks are my favourites. Those pieces refer mostly myself: my feelings, my emotions, my sensations and my way to understand and face the life. 

Each piece of my work has a part of my soul in it.

Miguel gaval

Do you, as an artist, practice any self-preservation techniques for your artwork?

I don’t usually deal with that, I’m more into the creation part of it.

“I have never painted being sad, nor have I reflected sadness in my work.”

Can you elaborate the role of music in your artwork?

La música y mi arte

No puedo imaginarme pintando sin música. Es inevitable. Impensable.  Antes de tomar el pincel y acomodarme en la mesa para continuar con las obras que tengo pendientes, antes de servirme una copa de vino, o un mezcal, enciendo la música. Siento que no puedo crear algo sin estar acompañado de alguna melodía que me ayude, a manera de lubricante, a que mi creatividad fluya sin freno.

(I can’t imagine painting without music. It is inevitable. Unthinkable. Earlier, I used to take a brush and sit dow to paint the pending works, I always used to pour myself a glass of wine, or mezcal – a Mexican beverage derived from agave, putting on some music. I feel like I cannot create something without a melody in the back to accompany it and help me, something to make it flow smoothly without any breaks.)

“No puedo imaginarme pintando sin música.”

miguel gaval

La música me traslada a momentos, emociones y sentimientos de una forma inmediata e intensa.  Unas simples notas de una canción me pueden transportar como por arte de magia a un momento determinado de mi vida, a un instante preciso, despertando en mí una emoción y una sensación inmediata. Algunos dicen que los olores ayudan a recordar, otros dicen que las imágenes. Y estoy de acuerdo, eso ayuda mucho. Pero para mí la música, y algunas canciones en particular, funcionan como verdaderas máquinas del tiempo. Si mis obras muestran armonía, tono, color y emociones, una parte de eso, es gracias a la música.

(Music teleports me to moments and situations in life, evoking emotions and sentiments in a quick second and more intensely. The simple notes of a song can transport me magically to a specific moment of my life or a particular instant, awaking something strong inside of me. Some say that certain smells help them remember instances in life, while for others it is images that guide them. I agree with this that it helps a lot. For me, it is the music, some songs in particular, they act like time machines. The harmony, tones, colours and emotions in my art, most of it comes through the music that I listen to.)

*The original text of the interview in Spanish is included with respect to the essence of the artist’s thoughts*

All images used in the article are by courtesy of the artist.

Check out more of Miguel’s artworks and follow him:

@miguelgaval or at

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