An all-consuming passion

Via his incredibly beautiful sculpting, Horacio Esteban breathes life and vigour into seemingly dead and buried rock, a rare talent that was recently showcased at an exhibition of his works held at Arteccentrix Fine Art Gallery located in Governor’s Square. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull was in attendance at the opening night of the exhibition and reports.

When you walk into the Arteccentrix Fine Art Gallery it is always an adventure because owners Nickola McCoy-Snell and husband Maurice Snell love changing the surroundings to suit the artworks on display.
 
This time the sectional pieces that delineated the work of individual artists have made way for a large and airy single space, full of plinths and tables perfectly positioned throughout to hold the might of Horacio Esteban’s magnificent sculpture.
 
Horacio is a prolific artist, carving hundreds of exquisite pieces out of his favourite medium – Caymanite, and filling up his home and art studio with his creativity.
 
Visiting Horacio at his studio, Nickola knew straight away that she would love to feature his work in a solo show at her Gallery.
 
“The entire place was filled from floor to ceiling with Caymanite sculptures in various stages of completion,” she says. “As art gallery owners we are always looking for diversity and we certainly have this in Horatio. We just had to do a show featuring all his incredible work.”
 
Horacio says he sits with his latest piece of rock for ages at a time, positioning it in different angles to try and work out how the sculpture will evolve.
 
“I can sit with a piece for up to three months trying to decide where I’m going with it,” he confirms. “I have to introduce it into my spiritual being before I begin to work on it.”
 
He says he pays particular attention to the light that is reflected off the rock, its thickness, size and, importantly, its imperfections. 
 
“One chip with the chisel or hammer in the wrong direction and the sculpture changes forever and I have to completely adjust my thinking” Horacio explains. 
 
Although Horacio produces some stunning pieces out of Caymanite and he confirms it is his favourite medium, he also says it’s a tricky substance to work with, sometimes becoming quite flaky and hard to sculpt.
 
“Some of my works are made from a number of pieces joined together and as Caymanite also comes in so many differing colours it is sometimes hard to find a balance in the colour palette,” he states.
 
Horatio gets around this by introducing different mediums such as metal, thereby creating an important neutral backdrop for his pieces. 
 
Some of sculptures are hugely detailed and physically large in size, and Horacio confirms they can take anything from 200 to 1000 man hours of loving, perspiration-fuelled work.
 
“I am driven to create new and more exciting pieces,” he says. “I’m always finding something new in my work.”
 
Artistic Director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, Henry Muttoo, was in attendance at the opening exhibition and explains why he enjoys Horatio’s work so fervently:
 
“I think Horatio is one of the most talented sculptors we have in Cayman,” he confirms. “His strength is in using local materials creating artwork with an almost theatrical sense. Each piece has drama; the lines within the work are dramatic and clashes happen creating a rhythmical conflict within the lines themselves.”
 
Henry also enjoys Horacio’s artistic talent as well as his sculpting skills: “Although there is no paint involved, the clever use of the coloured Caymanite suggests paint on the surface, with shades and toning,” he says. “I particularly like the restful smooth surface texture which suddenly erupts into a conflict of roughness in terms of texture.”  
 
Horatio’s exhibition is but a small slice of his prolific work, a continuous body which continues to evolve.
 
“I love what I do – I don’t have to go on vacation, I don’t need to shop or even to eat sometimes,” he says. “I’m just consumed by my passion to sculpt.”

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