“You can learn how to draw. The hard part is standing out and creating your own style”

Inspiring people


Carla Fuentes (Valencia, 1987) has spent her whole life surrounded by brushes, watercolors, and color, and has successfully turned her passion into a profession. She loves the technique of portrait painting – but her way. She’s used to painting imperfect faces that bear little resemblance to reality; she says there’s already photography for that. We set her a challenge: To paint the world of Jean Leon using wine. We spoke to her as she undertook this challenge.


When did you start to paint?

I don’t know exactly, because I started very young. I remember always being surrounded by colors and paints.

In other words, it runs in your family...

Yes, I think it’s really important for your parents to encourage your creative side, and I was really lucky they did that. Ever since I was little, right up to now, I haven’t stopped painting.

Do you still have drawings from when you were little?

Of course! My dad has all my drawings categorized with the date written down.

Do they look like the ones you do now?

No! My style’s been evolving over time. (Laughs).

Is drawing a technique that can be learned or is it innate to the person?

I think you can learn to draw, but the hard part is being creative, standing out, having ideas, and creating your own style.

What do you like to paint most?

Everything! What I like most is that I’ve been able to turn my passion into my job.

Why are most of your works portraits?

Because I like people. A portrait conveys more than a landscape. The visual artists I like are all portrait artists, too.

Can you name some examples of those artists?

The ones who have influenced me most are Alex Katz, David Hockney, and Elisabeth Peyton. When I was studying Fine Arts, I noticed that what I was wanting to do was similar to what they were doing.

How would you define their style?

Spontaneous and imperfect.

Imperfect... you don’t like your portraits to be realistic...

Yes, because we already have photography to reflect realism. Drawing, portrait painting, makes you look at things differently. By deforming the complexion or a face, you can pique the interest of the viewer.

Do all the portraits have a name and surname?

No! I make lots of them up, but others do actually exist.

You don’t get criticized for imperfection with the ones you make up... I imagine you do for the others, though...

Of course, everyone likes them when they’re anonymous. When they’re actual people, people start giving their opinions...

And what do you say to them?

I say, “I’m sorry, but that’s my style!” I like ugliness, sad stares. I can’t draw beautiful, smiling mothers and fathers.

What part of your personality is in the portraits you paint?

They’re the complete opposite of me. My works are described as sad but, on the other hand, everyone says that I’m really happy.

What dreams have yet to come true for you?

My dream would be to die painting. I mean, to keep doing what I love for my whole life.

You’re managing to do it at the moment...

At the moment yes, but who knows...

What’s your relationship like with the world of wine? Do you like it?

Of course! I totally agree with the saying that goes: “El que a este mundo vino y no bebe vino, ¿a qué vino?”, which roughly translates as, “Whoever comes to this world and doesn’t drink wine – why did they even come?” Wine means a lot to me.

What do you think of the wine painting experience?

It’s great. You get away from your materials and realize there are lots of things you can use as paint or to give portraits color.

Will you keep using it?

Of course! To create skin color in particular (laughs).

Was it hard for you to depict the face of Jean Leon?

It’s more complicated when you have to do a portrait that has to be recognizable.

Are you convinced by the result?

It’s turned out too well! (Laughs).

Categorías: Inspiring people