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Sculptor Juan Miguel Quiñones, next to his most famous piece, the Dracula ice lolly. SUR
The Estepona artist who stuns with his cool 7,000-kilo marble sculptures
Art and culture

The Estepona artist who stuns with his cool 7,000-kilo marble sculptures

After having worked in construction, Juan Miguel Quiñones now exhibits his art in Miami, Zurich and Milan, and his Dracula ice lolly is currently on display at the Thyssen Space in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Girona

Cristina Pinto

Malaga

Friday, 5 July 2024, 15:22

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Draculas, Maxibons and Fantasmikos: three ice creams that will take many back to childhood. Malaga-born Juan Miguel Quiñones recreates these as sculptures - on a huge scale. His pieces, made of marble, can weigh over 7,000 kilos. He does not alter the natural colour of the materials, instead using stone, hammer and chisel to create his art. Ice creams, bodyboards, skateboards and retro consoles are the most common elements of his work, which is inspired more than anything by his childhood. "My artistic project is based on the memories of those summers I spent as a child between Vejer and Estepona, playful moments that will never return," the artist told SUR ahead of the exhibition of his 'Drácula' sculpture, which will be shown at the Espacio Thyssen in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Girona, from today.

This sculpture of a Dracula ice lolly marked a turning point in Quiñones' career as a contemporary artist, which began just over a decade ago. "But it was when I exhibited in Madrid in 2019 that several collections bought my work and everyone was talking about the ice cream that was exhibited in Alonso Martínez. Before that I did live off my works, but from that point onwards, everything got better," says the artist, who, that same year, exhibited his project 'Drácula x Drácula' at the CAC in Malaga.

Before making a living from his art, the Cadiz native, born in Vejer but raised in Estepona from the age of six, chose not to continue his studies. His father therefore offered for him to work with him in construction. "From the age of 17 until I was a little over 20, I worked as a bricklayer; then I started working for a restoration company, and one day I was watching how they made a sculpture because I had never seen anyone cut a stone," explains the artist. This is when he became interested in carving marble, 16 years ago - although his father tells him that he already had an interest in this as a child. "He says that I was very interested in the stone façades of churches and that I always asked him what materials they were made of."

Juan Miguel Quiñones is entirely self-taught. "It's all been natural, something that I needed to do in my life. It's like that magic that they say exists in art, because that's what I feel, that this is something I had inside of me," he explains. An aesthetic close to neo-pop features prominently in his works, which are up to four metres long. "It's something I'm very good at creating. However, if you give me a blank piece of paper, I don't know how to paint or draw. But if I put myself in front of a stone, I'm capable of producing a hand-carved face."

International recognition

The Malaga-born artist has sold pieces in Japan, and has exhibited in Milan, Zurich, and Miami. He is one of the most acclaimed contemporary sculptors, both nationally and internationally. And now his participation in the group exhibition at the Espacio Thyssen in Sant Feliu de Guixols proves that he is continuing to make great progress in his career: "It is an accomplishment that I have achieved without meaning to, without knowing anyone, and to be asked to be there is a source of great pride. I'm sharing a space with Jaume Plensa, who is one of the greats, and I think it's incredible," Quiñones says. The exhibition, Entre Obres, which features artists such as Nei Alberti, Manei Álvarez, Eva Lootz and Pilar Viviente, opens on Friday 5 July and will run until 27 October.

He started in construction, moved into restoration and is now fully dedicated to sculptures which are guaranteed to provoke a reaction. His urban style, careful marble work and impeccable technique have placed him among the contemporary sculpture greats. And all this from his studio in Estepona, where he has grown both as an artist and as a person.

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