Opus Art, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

The Mystic Healing of Santos by Hector de Gregorio

Hector de Gregorio Biography

Bestselling artist Hector de Gregorio has been described as ‘an unswervingly incendiary artist’, he is interested in seducing the viewer, and his deliciously dark photographic images certainly act as a visual lure. In his images nothing is sacred, containing as they do religious overtones and something beyond mere festishism.

De Gregorio graduated from London’s Royal College of Art in 2009, with a Master’s Degree in Printmaking, where he developed his labour-intensive way of working. Each image involves extensive research and costume making, photography, digital imaging and hand-finishing.

Hector de Gregorio photographs his friends, often in his studio against a blank wall, and dressed in elaborate costumes he has designed and made. He takes a number of photographs from the initial shoot, and stitches them together to distort the perspective of the finished image, and adding elements such as a parchment-coloured backdrop, Latin phrases, and other motifs, often with religious or mythical connotations. The finished images are then printed onto fine art paper or canvas, and overlaid with oils, waxes, gold leaf and varnish.

Hector de Gregorio is interested in European art, and particularly the representation of ecstasy, whether this is the sensuality of the Renaissance painter Lippi, the realist style of Caravaggio, the macabre of Bosch or the metaphysical of Dali’s surrealist works. Other influences include his mother, who was a dressmaker and taught a young de Gregorio how to design and make clothes, and his Catholic upbringing, which seeded a further interest in religious and devotional art from all religions. All these elements combine in these portraits that have often been described as having a medieval feel, and therefore they are utterly familiar and rooted firmly in the past, yet are completely contemporary.

Hector de Gregorio has exhibited widely, with exhibitions in London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Miami and Chicago. His deliciously modern portraiture is held in the collections of Lady Victoria Conran, Mehmet Omer Koc and Theo Fennell.In November 2009 he won the prestigious annual Young Masters Art Prize for his inspiring contemporary portraiture.

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