Héctor Valdés is an artist and cosmetic surgeon with surgeries in Madrid and in Chile, and he also sees patients at the HC clinic in Marbella. Many celebrities have passed through his hands, although he is too discreet to mention names. His philosophy is to seek balance, something that he applies when he is shaping bodies in the same way as when he is shaping bronze. A collection of his bronze sculptures can be seen at the HC Marbella until 8 January.
Even as a child, Valdés was outstanding at manual skills but his mother had her own ideas for him. "She wanted her children to have a more formal career because artists are seen as having a more uncertain future," he explains. So she wanted one of her sons to study law and another medicine.
"I was the one who was to be the doctor," he says, smiling. He studied medicine, but admits that doctors need to be able to handle the profession because "when someone goes to the doctor, they are always worried about something. It's difficult for anyone to feel cheerful when they go to the doctor; they are always afraid or feeling ill," he says. Keen to do something relating to design, he decided to specialise in cosmetic surgery and did so in Brazil.
He always felt a need for art and became a collector but he still needed something more and five years ago he studied sculpture at La Palma School of Art in Madrid.
"I spend all the spare time I have doing this," he says. "I have been working with human bodies for 35 years and moving a piece of wire or iron, wood or stone, after having handled the delicate tissues that also have to be kept viable in humans, is something I have discovered that I can do with incredible ease," he explains.
The time came to prepare his first series of sculptures and he opted for asanas. "In my profession I dedicate myself to cosmetic surgery, which represents wellbeing, quality of life and the longevity we enjoy nowadays, so I linked this quality of life with yoga, a thousand-year-old technique which is focused on wellbeing," he says. In fact, many of his patients also practise this discipline in one of its forms.
Valdés has created a series of 16 asanas - different yoga postures - in bronze, and they are especially stylised because they do not follow the habitual proportions, "which makes them more ethereal," he says.
This was a spiritual choice for a doctor whose speciality is considered the most superficial. However, Valdés considers that the superficiality of cosmetic medicine has to do with excesses, which is why he does not hesitate to turn down requests for surgery from many people.
"I feel that is the right thing to do," he agrees. "Some people are highly influenced by what they see on social media, by Photoshop and by others who live in an unrealistically idealised world. The key to surgery which is done well is that it doesn't give itself away. Someone's beauty must appear to be their own," he says.