You have a very complete collection of artifacts from diverse cultures. How do you see it in relation with your oeuvre? Is there perhaps feedback among them?
Yes, there is feedback, but they are also fragments of that reality I am interested in and I bring to live here with me. You may possibly note in my work the influence of certain things, like proportions, colors, techniques, but many times I choose the pieces because, in a given way, they are in tune with what I want to do. I can collect tribal art and, in fact, I do, but not all of it: just some objects that have to do with me. When I see these objects, I try to have them near me and see them all the time. For me, that is the interesting process. It is like books, as having open books before me all the time. There are artists who, for example, want to have their house full of their works. I consider that totally futile, because it is as if you were eating yourself. I find no meaning in that. I prefer to see this type of objects all the time and, little by little, they have an influence on me. It becomes a natural process of internalization of the object. You see it day by day and, at times, aspects I had not seen before are revealed. I see them so much that I begin to understand why some objects have certain qualities. For me, it is vital to have them around me, more than my own paintings. Every time I go somewhere, I try to get things that have to do with that specific place or with the people there, and to spend most of the time surrounded by them.
You have several times spent periods of time in some communities …
Yes, I frequently try to do that. In fact, I was in Alaska not too long ago with a group called Yupik, in a festival which coincided with the exhibition I had recently held at the University of Alaska Anchorage,1 to which I was invited. It was very nice to be there with them. I very much like their culture and what they do. Although this may seem extrapolated, Yupik culture was almost a formative influence on the Surrealist movement. The first Yupik masks known were collected by Andre Breton. That is why this culture became famous through Surrealism. Today these masks are objects collectors look for with much interest.
How do you consider having moved to Miami has influenced your oeuvre? That is, in case you consider it has influenced it in a given way
I have never thought it has influenced me at all. Miami is an entirely circumstantial thing I did not choose. It was mi first wife who chose coming here. And, in a given way, I was kind of trapped in her project. I consider Miami my headquarters, the place where I live and do my work. I have been very nicely treated. I can’t complain. I am highly considered here. I have placed my work in several art projects in public spaces and I am an acknowledged artist in town. But in the level of cultural interests, any other place would be better for me, Mexico, for example, Peru, or perhaps somewhere else in the United States, like Arizona.
- The exhibition was Syncretism and Spirituality: The Art of José Bedia, in Kimura Gallery, University of Alaska Anchorage, from March 19 to April 18, 2014.