Paulo Toledo

Paulo Toledo (1976), who signs as “Toledos”, is a Chilean artist with a 27-year career as a visual creator, beginning in 1995. In his academic training, Toledo has studied in Chile on Architectural Drawing and Multimedia Production; Later, in 2000, he studied painting at the Escuela San Ángel de México and at the workshop of the renowned Mexican artist Sandro de Ponte; He also has design and illustration studies, carried out in his native country.

In his artistic career, Toledo has stood out as a painter, sculptor, and muralist; Likewise, he has ventured into the field of design and illustration, being, in 2021, the illustrator of the book Los misterios de la ciudad musical (The mysteries of the musical city), by the Chilean educator and writer Ester Precht Bañados. He has a large number of individual and collective exhibitions.

Paulo Toledo. Arquitectura de la calle
It is undeniable that in the beginning every creator feels inclined towards other authors, it is unavoidable look for references, see the work of other artists and take from them what is closest to their aesthetic interest. Toledo, for example, reveals that, at the beginning of his career, in his style exploration stage, he was interested in Roberto Matta, a Chilean painter with a surrealist tendency, but later began to feel attracted to other painters such as Hundertwasser, an architect and painter of organic forms, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who brings him closer to a more urban, more street painting, the democratic pop of Andy Warhol, and the work of his compatriots Samy Benmayor and Carlos Maturana, better known as Bororo, whose styles have been characterized by a symbolic, expressive, gestural and playful painting. From them he recognizes their influences in the development of his work, which has been considered by critics, as well as that of his predecessors, as a neo-expressionist painting, an artistic current that emerged in Germany and then in the United States, at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, drawing on German expressionism, surrealism, and pop art.
Toledo, as often happens to many artists, is not attracted to the idea of ​​being pigeonholed into a particular trend, since he considers himself an experimental, broad, open artist, who takes components of the South American culture to which he belongs, ancestral and contemporary, and from which he is also alien, to later integrate them into his visual discourse; however, he does not oppose or discuss if people link him to neo-expressionism, since the classifications are left to those who contemplate and interpret his work.
Paulo Toledo. En sintonía Paralela
Certainly, his visual proposal is not completely neo-expressionist, since Toledo does not resort to some of its main aesthetic characteristics, as well as the practice of an aggressive visual language, with ironic content and accentuated social criticism; he does not apply the dripping technique, nor does he fully handle a violent, rapid, gestural, and unfinished brushstroke. Considering that this trend is not uniform, homogeneous, but varies from one painter to another, Toledo, for example, to build his visual discourse, takes and reinterprets from this trend the expressiveness and contrast of primary colors, use of flat stains, distortion of shapes and perspective, very defined lines, and contours, and, specifically, the theme of urban content.
All those searches, influences, observations and experimental operations, which Toledo has processed and decanted, combining art, architecture, design and illustration, have led him to find, as he explains, a personal stamp in his work, which is characterized by the use of thick lines, accentuated color, planimetry and the handle of an urban language, which works in the manner of graffiti, seeking a high-impact visual appeal, in which the ingenious eye of the architect is appreciated, who feeds on and appropriates the spaces of the city that he inhabits, lives, plans and imagines, to return it to us with his particular urban vision ─of which he also makes us accomplices─, transfiguring it into works of art on canvas, furniture, objects, murals and sculptures, a product of the fusion between creativity and play, between his rationality and his childish soul, which enter into dialogue in his inner world. To complement and summarize the above, I quote the artist's words below:

“Resources are simple and found everywhere. For me, the world is a kind of canvas that reflects reality and the evolution of our stories. My creative process is born from any provocative event, be it every day or very profound, the difference doesn't matter. The relevant thing is to end up creating a work that connects with people and their contingency”.

Paulo Toledo. En el parque
His compositions are characterized, paradoxically, by an ordered chaos, by a visual discourse arranged in a non-linear way, or in sequence, but fragmented, where color and the line that outline architecture, objects and figures prevail, a set of images that are perceived through a simultaneous vision, all intertwined, in which figure and background practically merge.
It is important to point out that within his urban iconography the schematic image of a red canine is recurrent. Who is this significant character in Toledo's work? Well, it turns out that this character is closely linked to the world of his happy childhood, a pet that his parents gave him, who shared with him for many years, even accompanied and contemplated him in his moments of creative work in his workshop. Gutiérrez, that was the name of his pet, Toledo considers that it was his great friend, who left a deep mark on his being. After Gutiérrez died, he decided to incorporate him into his work to immortalize him as a way of honoring him for the company he gave him for so many years. As time went by, Toledo considered the idea of ​​transcending the image of Gutiérrez, taking it out of the two-dimensional plane, of painting, to transfer it to three-dimensional space and make it a sculptural work, on whose body he draws and paints the polychromatic iconography of his playful and cheerful urban universe.

Like any artist with social and environmental sensibility, Toledo has also expressed his ecological concern, implicit in his urban universe, by the way, which is why he is currently developing a proposal along these lines, which consists of a series of sculptures made with cargo pallets and two-dimensional works, whose support is cardboard, both materials reused for creative purposes and environmental awareness of the territory inhabited: "Saving the planet and taking care of it, is my contribution to the world from my art", says Toledos.

Written by José Gregorio Noroño,

 Arte Original.

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