For Cuban born artist Josefina “Fafi” Melguizo creating art is a personal activity, but to create lyrical abstraction is to reach the most profound depth of her sensibility and inspiration. “To me, painting comes from the heart. Creating brings joy to my life and I wish to transmit that feeling to spectators,” said Melguizo during our recent visit to her home studio in Brownsville, Texas.
The child of Spanish immigrants in Cuba -where her father worked for famed Bacardi company- Melguizo grew up surrounded by loving parents who bestowed her with a holistic education and appreciation for the fine arts. At a young age, Melguizo experienced the Cuban Revolution followed by the Castro regime when her family migrated to the United States. She attended school in Miami, then New Orleans and eventually in Mexico City. “I have lived between countries throughout my life, and I feel I do not belong to solely one. I carry something from each nation and culture, but the colors that surrounded my childhood are always present in my work,” stated Melguizo.
In her late teens, Melguizo fell in love, married and moved to Brownsville, Texas. Unexpected health issues prompted a concerned family member to suggest enrolling in art classes with accomplished local artist Maria Elena Bouchard. Bouchard opened a new world for Melguizo and introduced her to the basics of classic and figurative art. She was hooked, and the Brownsville Art League at the time offered plenty of opportunities to study under prestigious art instructors such as Oris Robertson. She also studied under Cuero, Texas artist Jim Shafer. “For several years I painted traditional works such as landscapes and still life,” said Melguizo. “It was twelve years ago that I met artist and professor Joaquin Garcia Quintana who has been instrumental in expanding my imagination to the amazing world of abstraction.”
For those readers who remember the heyday of the Juarez Market in Matamoros, Mexico the name “Las Dos Republicas” will certainly ring a bell. Melguizo’s husband was the proud owner and person responsible for purchases. With her husband, Melguizo traveled all over Mexico in search of treasures to market at their store. The real treasures Melguizo found were the country’s villages, haciendas and patios.
“The colorful settings I encountered, and the reflections of light on fly tents floating over vibrant flower and fruit markets mesmerized me. I discovered shadows are not one color, but a kaleidoscope of colors. This still captivates me.”
Upon returning from her trips, Melguizo sorted through dozens of still shots captured with a personal camera she would later recreate into original oil paintings. Her representations of the scenes that vividly captured her imagination became all the furor among local art enthusiasts in the 1980s and 90s. But it was not until her one –woman show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art in 2012 that Melguizo felt she reached a turning point. By this time, Melguizo was fully submerged into the world of abstraction.
“As I progressed in artistic realization, breeding my passion has allowed me to arrive at the gates of the unknown, the unfamiliar; the world of abstraction. My desire is to convey the desire and deepness of each piece to entice the audience’s imagination, and in response awaken personal sentiments that arouse from the Chroma of my memories that swirl through the spaces of our minds.” Text written by Melguizo’s granddaughter for the solo exhibit’s manifesto. The depth of Melguizo’s sensibility strongly reflects in her work. Her paintings draw the audience with intense magnetism leaving one to wonder what inspires this artist?
Melguizo’s ingrained love for art creation and her strong desire for expressing feelings through paint are her driving force. A brightly lit sky, the colors of the sea, or simply something streaming from the heart are elements that inspire her. But Melguizo’s confidence easily stands out. She believes allowing love and emotions to flow from within and manifest themselves through paint without forgetting the basic principles of art will bestow a balanced confidence. She also credits William Turner and Zao-Wou-Ki as sources of inspiration for her work.
Today, Melguizo is busier than ever painting and continuing her artistic education under professor Garcia Quintana. But when it is all said and done, it is her faith in God and the love for her family what matter most in her life.
Melguizo welcomes private commissions and will schedule studio visits by appointment. For more information, please contact her via email at email@example.com or find her on facebook.com/arte.fafimelguizo.
This article was published by Beyond Arts Magazine. December 2015 issue.