An Insight With: Aythami Alonso Torrent.

Tell us a little bit about yourself personally ? Who you are you ?

I’m a painter from Spain. I live in El Puerto de Santa María, south of the country. Land of the best wines, food and a slow type of living near the beach. No big cities and crowds. I think this quiet lifestyle helps me understanding what I want to express and creating art as pure as I can.

What got you into painting Miniatures, where did it all begin ?

Like a lot of painters, I started with Warhammer at the age of 8. I played the game a lot but mostly liked staining my Dark Elves figures with thick paint. I grew up and changed painting for partying until 2013 then I re-started again with a professional vision. I guess art has always been inside me in some way.

What inspires you? 

Life. In the most simple way of understanding it. Im constantly getting inspired by many things and people. It is a thing I love doing and cannot control. My girlfriend Is always having to wait for me when I see a big poster in my neighborhood’s hairdressers, I have to take pictures and start talking to her about lights and volumes of hair. I see a beam of light rebounding on a rock and it gets my attention. I start analyzing the blue in shadows, the sun light surrounding it, the cast shadow of my hand and how it blurs into its curves. With this I mean that inspiration is everywhere at any time. I could give you tons of examples: a good film, pictures, books, illustrations, my own emotions, an imposible idea that challenges my limitations. I love observing life and then translating it into a piece of Art, first going through the filter of my brain full of ideas and imagination.What inspires me is the power of creating something that’s only in my head, into a real and tangible piece of story. That POWER man, it fills your heart.

Who are your inspirations in and out of the miniature world ?

 My inspirations are mostly from illustrators. Patrick Jones because of his taste for colour. When you see one of his incredible skins full of richness, you immediately feel that you don’t know anything. The great Boris Vallejo and his use of light. Roberto Ferri and his perfection in anatomy. Caravaggio because it has the perfection of Roberto Ferri but tells deeper stories with his art. If I have to paint female faces Bokkei is the best, also Musa Celik to study anatomy. Lately Im studying Justine Florentino and the pastel look he gets. By deconstructing his art I was able to paint my piece Eva in the way I liked.Inside the miniature world. Raul Latorre and his capacity of telling a story with the sculpt. Pedro Fernandez and his sensibility. Kirill Kanaev, for me the best painter capable of reaching a level of realism on the pieces that reminds me the old famous paintings of museums. Ruben Martinez and his use of light and colour. Arnau Lázaro for his braveness and intelligent use of colour. Alfonso Giraldes for being the painter that opened the eyes of the community to experiment and see miniature painting not as a Hobby but as ART. The thing I like most about this “list” is that It never stops growing. Every month there’s a new awesome painter that inspires me.

What do you feel are your strongest attributes when it comes to painting ? 

Light and observation. I’m a curious person. I like observing how things happen and then translating this into a figure. I think thats the clue for the learning process. It has helped me a lot copying and understanding volumes in my beginnings because we don’t have it in our brain. It’s a bareer we all have to jump. Understanding that isn’t a bad thing copying elements of other art and adding them to the tools we have to show our own vision. Pure creativity doesn’t exist. Light for me is the second most important part in a piece. A figure has to work perfectly in black and white. All values and volumes, specifically the position and shape of them has to have coherence. I focus a lot of my attention on light because you can tell a story with it. What about a secondary light affecting the side of the face that comes from a red bulb of a futuristic building ? This adds extra layers of story. The piece has a long and deeper read. Most important part is the story.

What do you feel are your weaknesses ? 

Colour and letting my brain run free. I’ve struggled with colour a lot. I don’t have the fluency of colour ideas that other great painters have like Antonio Peña. I have to stop, and think and experiment a lot to achieve something interesting. Thats because I’ve centered a lot of my studies in light and volume. But now Im in the period of time that im focusing all my attention in colour and Im feeling the changes. This is because of a recommendation of the great Alfonso Giraldes. Im creating my tones, starting off with primary colours plus black and white only. It helps me to unlock my brain and flow more with the piece having more creativity. Test this: when you want to paint white. Create 8-9 different tones of white only using this limited palette. Create 3 more tones of highlights and other of shadows. Fill your palette like a colorful picture of tones. And then start painting. You will flow with the project cause your brain doesn’t has to stop to think what space wolf grey to choose now and you will find yourself just grabing the tone you need cause the figure tells you.The second weakness is that I tend to think a lot and constantly use the logic to achieve things. Don’t misunderstand me. This is great. And it’s a way to enjoy art that I love. But sometimes I have to put aside my brain and just paint. Just paint without having anything in your mind. Only feeling the stroke. With any plan. That’s a beautiful way to paint that helps you achieve more interesting and surprising approaches.Let’s say there are two sides when we paint, The rational side and the sensitive side. The combination of both is the clue. Sometimes we flow and sometimes we have to think how to solve painting limits.

When you paint, where does your mind go and how does it make you feel ?

It is interesting how your question matches my last answer. Wasn’t intended but it’s funny.My mindset while painting has two switches like I told you before. I will explain it better.A rational way to paint. Thats with a clear idea in mind, an objective, even an illustration in in front of me to copy and analyse and a sensitive way, when im only flowing with the paint, feeling each stroke like being part of it. Like I’m the paint. Decisions are made by instinct. Enjoying the piece with calm and tasting each second when suddenly minutes become hours. This interaction between mindsets is not always so easy to notice and they mix together. I can flow with the stroke and immediately think about a certain obstacle and how to solve it.
The symbiosis of this way and knowing when to switch, makes you a more complete painter. If you are like me, a more rational painter, try to switch to a sensitive mindset. You will learn a lot. Answering to your second question: how does painting make me feel? Makes me feel satisfied with myself. I feel power inside. The power of being capable to represent almost anything I have in mind. And also a hidden feeling that only painters will understand. The more limits I overcome in paint the more courage I get for other aspects in life. The more you grow as a painter, the more you grow as a person. When I say “grow as a painter” I might not be saying to be better technically, but having less ego and letting your art flow more pure without fighting with other painters ego.

Do you have an artistic background and if so what is your experience / academic background ? 

I don’t have an academic artistic background, only the one I’ve been learning for myself and with the help of others in the last years. Few of my painting studies of the past years come from analyzing the art of others and trying to explain to myself the secrets of skins, for example, The process is this: You see an amazing piece of art that provokes emotions in you. You want to know how to paint some details in your own art so you start dividing the hole project into pieces, the more you divide the more you understand. For example that almost all the concentration of saturation is situated on the midtone, dividing light and shadow. Why? Think about it.
Art books have been an amazing help. James Gurney: Light and Colour. Betty edwards: the Colour. Patrick Jones: oil painting techniques.But a thing I have to say. Is that they way I see art now is because precisely I didn’t have academic studies so I had to almost learn everything from experimenting and having mistakes to find the solution. I say this because I might never had to experiment so much to know that orange and green are two colours that combine perfectly well, as much as green and red that they are complementary colours, but if you desaturate one of those it combines even better. And having a “stained or desaturated not pure” wheel of colour helps the eye to catch more realistic and better combinations. Maybe this is my own vision of it. But thats the thing, academic studies of professors might tell you things are true, your mission is to prove them right. The good professor is the one that encourages you to contradict his teachings by proving that there is something better, or maybe better for your painting style.Or maybe I will be a better painter now with years and years of academic studies cause the scientific vision is carried inside. Who knows.

Is there anything you believe could be done better in the industry ?

Yes. As a painter. And it’s a personal opinion. I feel like sometimes we set our prices too low. Is not only the amount of hours we spend painting directly, It is the hours we spent studying, testing, failing and knowing how to do things. But I think this is a mistake from us, the profesional painters because of fear. Sometimes we don’t value ourselves. A solution for the newest painters could be a “price commission guide” to prevent lowering so much the prices. Of course it will be only indicative, to help. Painters can do whatever they want at the end.  Also the fight with piracy , I don’t know exactly how to stop this and even if we can do something, Informing people is a way to teach. Brands gain a little margin of all of it. It’s about honour. We help our small community spending 30€ more. A meal. Another solution could be “the Lucas Pina” way. 48 hours and it’s gone.

A lot of people refer to their miniature painting experiences as “ A Journey ” , where do you believe you are on your journey ?  

Sure it is. Im in my journey and the more I learn the more I realize that I have so much left to know. Im about to be 30 years old and years go fast man. I have so many projects in mind, so many things to test, that I feel I need three more life times. I want to create diagonal beams of light representing them on the figure but also in the background. I want to add a smoke system below Red angel’s Brom figure. I want to write a poem on a plinth that tells the story of a puppet miniature pirate. I want to add music to a troubadour bust. It’s a reminder that I have to choose intelligently each project I get involved with, to get the most advantage of the time I have as a painter. In the future I want to be a sculptor. I have a lot of things in mind that I cannot do now but I hope I will.

If you were to give one message now, to Aythami at the start of your journey, what would it be ? 

Don’t follow your ego or other peoples expectations. Don’t fight for medals, Fight to get outside the purest thing you have. Don’t let your insecurities and fears touch your art. Trust your own vision. Time goes fast. Choose each moment with intelligence. It will create your path to become a better painter and you will grow faster. Do emotional figures that means something to you. You will be more satisfied and you will understand faster the true purpose of ART. Anything else is garbage.

You have your own Miniature range and Website where people can join and watch your video tutorials, tell us a little more about this ? 

I started years ago my “Patreon” type of painting academy called where I show my students how to understand paint. I not only show techniques and Colour theory, I’m constantly talking about all I said in this interview with a deeper analysis cause I know that motivation and why we do things are as important as the technique itself. I teach how to observe and analyze art like a judge.I show the importance of trial and error and teach how to correct mistakes to feel more courage. The importance of testing own ideas even if you find a big barrier In front of you. Just test it. The only bad idea is the one you never try.
I also have a brand of miniatures. I will launch in a few months a new one thats a bust of a dragon with a girl riding it. “The last deflagration” It’s an amazing piece by the sculptor Pablo Sapia based on the concept of blocsanchez. A huge piece that I hope you like.I always produce figures that I will love to paint for myself. 

You have worked several times with RobotRocket Miniatures, and a plethora of other companies ,what have been your favourite pieces to work on and why ? 

Something I just thought a few days ago was the “reading time” of figures. Is a layer the analysis of a piece that tells you how many seconds of action or story has the figure you are looking at.For example: a barbarian girl with an axe. The “reading time layer” will be of 1 second of action maybe. It’s a general barbarian with a warrior expresion. You think about her story and it’s short and obvious. Maybe if it has a few tatoos that tells more about her personality the “time reading layer” can increase. But is plane about emotions or deepness. Now if you analyze the “time layer” of the bust: Ancient lady of Bali of Robot Rocket you will discover a lot of seconds of story. Her smile, her kindness, her old brown skin full of stories. It projects emotions on you. You have to smile with her. It tells you things about her home, India. Her dress with drawings that she sewed. All adds seconds to your reading. You spend more time wondering than with the prototypical figures. Thats what I love from this brand. Also Lucas Pina has it. This magic feeling that brings you inside his world.Being able to paint such amazing pieces and help to create emotions has been an honor for me. Carmen, the gypsy. A piece that moved my heart cause I wanted to paint a melancholy emotion. Not sadness. Because I was building a strong woman personality. I remember I spend hours playing with her eyebrows. Too much curved, thats too much suffering for her. Until I got the exact emotion I wanted. I felt something I never felt before. When I looked into her eyes I felt strong emotions, felt connected to her story, my body shaked.Then I looked at my other pieces in my cabinet. All figures with guns, axes or war poses. Their expressions were plane to me.I learned the importance of emotions and thats all because the bet of RobotRocket and other brands that does the same to create something different and emotional. But I also love typical figures like Lena from Mirico. I remember it was love at first sight and I knew I wanted to do a tribute to Boris Vallejo and Patrick Jones.It’s a piece full of my heart. I felt I didn’t want it to show to anyone cause was so special for me. It was an important big step to continue with my studies of transliting a 2D illustration to a figure.By the way you have all the painting process videos of this figures and many others in my website

Will you be attending any shows next year ? And if so, in what capacity ? 

My plans are to go to the world expo in Eindhoven in summer and bring a few new pieces with me. Also I will give a small demo in the stand of Robot Rocket so you are all invited. We will have fun and learn a few things.Also I want to go to Monte San Savino. My dream for many years. 

If you were to give anyone reading this a parting message, that you felt was important to being an artist in the miniature industry,  what would it be ? 

The clue to become a better painter is not the practice. Is enjoying so much painting that you stay all night when you have to work tomorrow.Is working and thinking at the same time how to do this metal that you have at home.You have to breath it. Your passion is the fire that will keep you doing this the rest of your life. So don’t get anxious about knowing the secrets of becoming a better painter quickly. You have it inside. Passion. Passion leads us to spend hours practicing, searching for good professors, testing ideas, creating emotions and having fun.

An Insight With:

Aythami Alonso Torrent.