Editor’s note: Many thanks to Raimundo Folch for submitting an articulate description of his beginnings and the process of his art.
I was born in Manila, Philippines on February 15, 1960 of a Spanish father and a Filipina mother. The blending of the East and the West culture in me has enriched my cultural and artistic background in such a way that some of the critics note the influence of both worlds in my artworks. I am self-taught and since I was small I loved drawing and painting.
One significant day during my childhood in Manila, my mother brought us a package of plastic clay for me and my brother and sister. In just a moment she made the head of a clown. That moment was magical to me because I discovered the best toy in the world. At last everything I can imagine could be materialized on my fingers tridimensionally. I could make castles and planes, Indians and cowboys with Fort Apache, Pirate ships and buccaneers, a figure of Tarzan or Superman, an Egyptian sarcophagus with a mummy inside, Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory or an operating room with all the paraphernalia and a patient which internal organs I extirpate as a surgeon with a Gillette blade etc.
During my summer vacations in my grandfather´s house in Malolos, Bulacan still a child, I discovered the plasticity of natural earth clay that was inside the flower pots in the garden. I use to make small cubes and throw it into the fire as a child curiosity of what would happen. As I think of it now, it´is seem a premonition of what was to be my profession today as a ceramist-sculptor which I fire my earth clay sculptures inside a ceramic kiln.
More lately I improved my ability in earth clay doing the figure of Don Quixote coinciding with my family arrival to Spain and I was then an adolescent way back in 1975. Thru the hands of destiny we happened to end in Valencia, a wonderful city that is the land of great artist like Sorolla (painter) and Benlliure (sculptor) etc. And then I saw “Las Fallas” which consist of gigantic colorful and satirical figures made of paper mache, which is then burned into flame on the night of March 19 feast of St. Joseph. This experience even reinforced the sculptor within me and soon I enrolled in a course of modelling and mold manufacturing at the School of Arts and Trade of Valencia. A decade after I studied the technical know how of ceramics which I employed in the making process of my sculptures.
My art pieces are directly modelled from a clay called stoneware which then I apply ceramic glazed that gives them the color and texture of natural stone. My main subject is the human figure on it most sensual expressive point. My inspirations come to me involuntarily in the form of flashes. I have a very strong imagination like Salvador Dalí, I can see human and animal figures almost on any place where there is a combination of light and volume such as a crumpled leaf or paper, the twisted branches of a tree, the rough texture or stain on a wall etc. This process is called pareidolia.
I would describe my works as a sínthesis of different art trends starting from the greek-roman where the classical proportions of the body I stylized like the art-deco and sometimes has cubism and abstract form when the torso is twisted to an abrupt angle. The flow and posture of the body reminds of the renaissance and when over decorated about baroque or orientalism and finally giving a finishing touch of surrealism and expressionism always having a sense of movement or floatage in the ether.
Folch has exhibited in many cities and provinces of Spain: Valencia, Castellon, Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Gerona, Granada; in Berlin, London and in France – Paris,Vittel and Calvi ( Corcega).
In 2011, Folch was awarded the Baumel-Schwenck prize which is is the highest distinction in sculpture given by the French National Society of Fine Arts in its International Art Fair Salon yearly held at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
In 2013 Folch was awarded the golden medal in sculpture, also considered the highest distinction in sculpture at the 31st edition of the Salon Internationale de Peinture et Sculpture in Vittel, France. In the same year he was comissioned by the Phil. Embassy in Madrid to make the Rizal bust and monolith which was inaugurated by the Phil. Ambassador Carlos Salinas and Senator Edgardo Angara last july in Cadiz, Spain.