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Paco, who paints under the name of Pacol, (centre) with some of his colleagues at the accident and emergency department of the Hospital de la Serranía de Ronda. SUR
The talented artist whose day job is as an emergency department nurse at the hospital in Ronda

The talented artist whose day job is as an emergency department nurse at the hospital in Ronda

Paco López started creating portraits of his colleagues during the pandemic, as a tribute and an escape valve; and he has become very popular among his colleagues and patients as a result

Vanessa Melgar

Ronda

Tuesday, 30 April 2024, 10:58

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Paco's smile, his vitality, greets many of the patients and their families when they arrive at the accident and emergency department of the Hospital de la Serranía de Ronda. This nurse tries to humanise healthcare and, in most cases, he succeeds. He devotes himself to his work, but also to his other dedication, which could have been his main livelihood, but he decided to open his range. He trained as an artist and then as a nurse and today, both contribute to his livelihood, which is why he is popularly known as the nurse-artist or the artist-nurse. He wouldn't know which one he'd prefer to go by.

Paco became especially well known when he decided, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, to portray his colleagues, as a tribute to their extraordinary efforts during the health crisis. The result was an exhibition, 'Eyes of Soul', which was shown on several occasions in the hospital itself as well as the exhibition hall of the Convent of Santo Domingo, in Ronda town centre. Recently, he has also exhibited in Gaucín with great success. These are works in watercolour and drawn in ballpoint pen, which highlight the gaze of their protagonists.

Francisco Javier López, artistically known as Pacol, pointed out this initiative came about by chance when, before the pandemic, one of his colleagues retired. "We thought of giving her a farewell gift, but with the pandemic, we couldn't. So we decided to give her a more special gift: five portraits, ours and hers, in a kind of mural. She really liked it," he said. From then on, art became an outlet for Paco, who took photos of his colleagues and then used them to create portraits. He wanted to "bring something good out of so much bad" during the pandemic.

Paco always had the art bug inside him, but he decided to broaden his career options. "My beginnings in the world of drawing and painting were almost fortuitous. I have always wanted to express myself from within, drawing and colours were the closest and most comfortable way to achieve satisfaction, from childhood to adolescence. At adolescence I defined myself in ink drawings in the form of engravings, I began to take an interest in the human body and its movements, ballet scenes, martial arts, yoga...," he said, adding that he received classes from Vicente Bolós, whom he considers a "great teacher and a great man". In 1995, he trained at the Escuela de Arte y Oficios in Granada; and in 1998 he took part in the Taller-escuela del mármol, in Fines, in Almeria province, where he also explored carving and modelling.

Orders from private individuals

At the age of 55, Paco's motto is; painter of everything, brush of no one, as he draws from different influences. The artist combines the handling of bandages and syringes, among others, and that of the palette knife, brushes and canvases, to name but a few of these utensils, with his life experiences to inspire him when it comes to making his creations a reality. He uses mixed techniques and moves in surrealism, realism and figurative and sensationalist styles. He likes to make critiques and is constantly receiving commissions from private individuals for which he makes space in his diaries as both a nurse and an artist.

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