My origins as a Mexican sculptor of fantastic realism – German Arzate Garza

My name is German Arzate, and I’m a Mexican sculptor that has explored the theme of duality in different works that express different ideas, depending on the viewer’s point of view. I was born on April 18th, 1967 in Mexico DF, the eldest of a family of 4 children.

When I was young the only way to have access to art was through my mother who has always been a lover of Mexican sculpture and fine arts. She always said “we have to go to the museum,” “we have to see this play, listen to this music.” My mother was my only approach to art. I liked books, but there were not many art books, there was no internet or television so in my early year’s art was scarce or none, it was not even possible to study to be part of the list of Mexican sculptors.

When I was a teenager, I had to live in the Federal District, Guadalajara, Monterrey and the samples of Mexican sculptors that were there were not of great renown. The only sculptures and works of art were in encyclopedias where I began to admire the great masters of the art. That inspired me. I loved Salvador Dalí’s work, I wondered how it was possible to do different things, and for many years he was my hero artistically until I met Remedios Varo.

On my mother and someone in the family’s part who liked music. My mother had sensitivity, but never an art came to fruition, I never lived the art closely, but I never had a contact at first with the art of some Mexican sculptor. My father knew how to draw well, but in a very primitive and self-taught way, he made landscape paintings and in some way some other family relative had endowments, but nobody had tried sculpture before.

I had to understand that being a Mexican sculptor was a gift that had been given to me.

Ever since I was a child, I was attracted by the process of sculpturing.

If they left me school’s work I not only did animals but all kinds of forms, it was playing that I learned to be a sculptor. In the super I did not ask for candy, I asked for plasticine to seal pipes and make shapes and models. I remember that my first pieces as a Mexican sculptor made by me, I made them when I was between 7 and nine years old. Everything I found I adapted it as a tool: a pallet stick, a screw and even on some sculptures I used human hair that I asked my aunts, my sister or my mother.

This way of being, innocent, allowed me a lot of freedom. It was not fashionable art classes or academies of Mexican sculpture. I started to sculpt and see what kind of knives I could do things with. I took everything from the kitchen or at the time of going to the hardware store or seeing sharp knives it was interesting to find things that could serve me, no family member helped me, so I could see the way to make sculpture and forms on my own.

I never had the culture of going to school or taking art courses I just found ways and forms of doing things.

One of my first carvings is in wood, and I manifested a feeling of adolescence, which was loneliness. I draw a woman with crossed arms, looking down; I always admired the human figure. I made a carving and another in a little more advanced wood, where I was playing with the streaks of wood and made the forms as aesthetic as possible; when I received comments, it was interesting, a work of a teenager who instead of watching TV carved wood or while watching a movie kept carving and making a mess all the time.

I was beginning to feel like a real Mexican sculptor.

I have said that I am a Mexican sculptor of duality. Duality has always been and has never ceased to be present, I have seen it in the form of a cloud, I have seen it in the plants; In the trees I have found faces, in the sky many things, figures, shapes, spots on a wall that for me are faces or pieces.

At first, I thought it was something strange, that there was something different in me, a way of seeing that I did not understand. Later on, I started to enjoy it, and now it makes me laugh how I can see some pieces and on the other side, a different figure with its own meaning, I wanted my work to be poetic, exquisite for the eye, for the shape.

That I like and duality has always called my attention everything is dual in this life, and our mission is to find symbiosis between one side and another.

Being the eldest of my family, I had to work and study medicine to survive. My family was well for a while, and then we lost everything thanks to stupid devaluations and political maneuvers. We have suffered government attacks on the economy and then because of an accident that my father suffered I had to get ahead with my profession.

For many years I have never been able to put on a sculptor’s studio, now I have just started working with smelters, and the process is constantly being done, the assembly is already in shape, and I can develop many pieces, modeling, shapes, waxing, carving for originals or assembly. This is what always happens, continuously, and unfortunately not every Mexican sculptor has that possibility, so I am very grateful for God’s gifts.

The world is cruel to the artist and a bit more been a Mexican sculptor. It’s too overwhelming. Today if you want to get ahead, you no longer compete against your colony or the block now you compete against artists of the world. Now you can lose prizes against a Russian artist just for being Russian, but a Mexican can also succeed in Japan.

You must be aware if you want to live on art, you might love to do it, but it is important to ask the new Mexican sculptor: Are you sure? Are you willing to go through frustration, hunger or shortcomings? Neither can the artist lack a business vision; you have to have a vision because art is a company, it is not only a manifestation.

You have to be methodical, follow protocols and follow standards, be methodical about what you do, money is important, calculate your financial balance. The Mexican sculptor should not be fighting with money; art is not just expression, it is also administration.

It is not easy being a Mexican sculptor while developing in a professional world. It is a demanding world; consumerism is impressive. You have to be very clear if your goal is art, you have to follow a dream, it is a romance between you and art, a swinging of giving and holding.

You must find an art that also helps you live; it depends if you like your work or not. I like surgery, and I make sculptures in the mouth of human beings, in their teeth and their smile, that has allowed me to be successful and with that to feed the art.

I want to show as legacy everything that I love, and it is that personal legacy of which I am in love.

I am a Mexican sculptor proud to represent Mexico. This country is immensely rich in culture, and many of the Mesoamerican motives are present in my work.

I’m a Mexican sculptor passionate by life, love, by everything that surrounds me. I am always looking for the best; I am an eternal finder of gadgets, finder of situations, finder of pastimes that always bring me well, reading, sports and everything technological, I love it.

Everything that is outside, in nature is always part of me, any situation or feeling catches my attention.
This is German Arzate, Mexican sculptor and proud to be one.

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