Our July Artist of the Month is Fernando Aznar Cenamor, an illustrator specialising in drawings of architecture and everyday life in ancient times. He graduated from the Official School of Advertising in Madrid, where he also completed several years of formal study at the Superior School of Architecture.
He has extensive professional experience, including work for newspapers, magazines, television, government agencies and some of the most important publishing houses in the country. We talked to the Bridgeman Studio artist about his inspirations and processes behind his work.
Mosque of Uqba. Kairouan, Tunisia. Main façade, /Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
What is your earliest memory of an artwork and who was it by?
There are several. Venice views by Canaletto, Vermeer and Dutch painters from the 17th century, Alma Tadema's pictures depicting Ancient Rome, Albrecht Dürer, and the classical painters that we know: Velázquez, Holbein, Goya…
What is your favourite time of day to be in your studio?
Mainly in the morning but I usually also work in the afternoon too. Almost the whole day!
Talk us through a day in your studio. What does a day in your life look like?
Nothing special, really. I start to work at 9 am until lunch time, taking a little break before noon. My work time ends around 6 or 7 pm. I'm very precise in my work day! However, as documentation is very important to my job, when I'm not drawing and designing I use the time to visit exhibitions on art and architecture, as well as painting and visiting archaeological museums.
|Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Spain / Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images||Palenque, Mexico. Temple of the Inscriptions / Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images|
How would you sum up your practice in 5 words?
Documented, precise, careful, handcrafted, constantly inspiring.
Your work is very intricate, with each illustration going through a series of stages before hand-painting comes back into it. How did you develop this system of working?
My methodology is very complex. First, I search for documentation about the monument - plans, elevations, etc - to draw the pieces needed to make a 3D model. The next step is to build this model with simple volumes and then it is printed. Afterwards, it is traced on an illustration board on a lightbox. To achieve the illustration, I draw in rotring pencil with sepia indian ink, adding textures and details not included in 3D. The process is finished with liquid watercolour. Sometimes, I use design software for these last steps.
Which processes inspire your work?
The interest for art and architecture, its inner beauty made reality in all kind of monuments and the pleasure to draw them.
|The Holy Family, Antonio Gaudi. Barcelona, Spain / Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images||Palatine Chapel. Aachen. Germany / Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images|
What has been your most exciting commission or award to date?
It was twice: La Alhambra from Granada, Spain, and The Forbidden City in Beijing, China
How do you find working to commission? Do you find it pushes your work in new directions?
I usually work to commission. It's the kind of job where I feel comfortable.
Which other artists, dead or alive would you choose to have dinner with?
Bacon, Klimt, Antonio López, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, Alma Tadema, Picasso… as painters and illustrators. Gaudí, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier… as architects.
What convinced you to join Bridgeman Studio for licensing, and what are your hopes for working as a Bridgeman Studio artist?
The prestige, the respect and manners with the artists. My hope for working with Bridgeman Studio is to spread my artwork.
Alhambra, Granada, Spain. Aerial view / Fernando Aznar Cenamor / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
See all of Fernando Aznar Cenamor's works available for licensing here