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Cesar Fernandez Arias

by Max Gold in Culture on 21 November 2008

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"You have to be understood by every kid in the classroom including the dunce, not only by the smart ones." Cesar Fernandez Arias' principles of simplicity make for powerful art in multiple mediums while maintaining the integrity of his message. The figures he creates have a primal quality lending them the immediacy of a road sign. At the same time, they're loaded with personality and their unmistakable shapes situate them within their own, often whimsical narrative. Fernandez Arias' art has the ability to speak to people of any given age or background and still be completely understood, much like the childish charm of a Gondry flick.

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Throughout the past several decades Fernandez Arias has worked in Madrid's art community as a sculptor, painter, and illustrator. Collaborating extensively with many writers and illustrators, he more consistently works with kids. That is to say you'll find him every weekend at El Circulo Bellas Artes holding various workshops.

Interactivity plays a strong role, both in his process and as a quality of the finished pieces. Much of his work is meant to be experienced by children, though as is apparent in the content of his most recent exhibition, Fernandez Arias limits his audience to nobody.

While his illustrations make up the bulk of his work, Fernandez Arias caught my eye because he added New Media to his list of artistic frontiers. His new web-toy called Abecedario, uses short whimsical animations to represent each letter of the Spanish alphabet. My personal favorite is, "Q For Quixote". "I have always believed in the power of simplicity," Fernandez Arias explains. "It is better to be simple yet clear than loud and misunderstood."

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