Aside from being Sofia Vergara's longtime pal, Domingo Zapata is a contemporary artist who has received critical praise for his works. Splitting time between New York, Los Angeles and Paris, the 38-year-old artist primarily works in mixed media, and is a favorite of the celebrity set. We caught up with him to talk about his family, work and those pictures of Sofia Vergara covered in paint!
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in Mallorca, Spain, my father is a car painter and my mother is a tailor; I guess that’s what makes me an enthusiastic painter! Mallorca is a beautiful island, it has incredible light and in fact it is the homeland of many artists of the past as well as many contemporaries. It was a great place to be a kid and grow up and of course because of my dad’s work I was always around paint, and always excited to do murals among other things.
Then I studied in the US and I had a great opportunity to stay. I worked with a gallery in New York and there were some collectors who were interested in my work and I guess that’s when everything started.
What's your earliest memory of being interested in art?
I actually don’t have one.I think I was always interested in it, in paint, in the art world, when I was a kid. I don’t remember a day when art was not part of my life.
How would you describe your work?
I try to create happy moods with my paintings. I don’t paint what I see but what I feel. I try to express that feeling through the canvas and color, and the expression of these to other people and give them a beautiful thing to look at every day.
You make your home between New York City, LA and Paris. What distinguishes each city to you? What do you love (and hate!) most about each one?
As an artist what you’re attracted to always is light and how you can express it and how different it is; how it impacts your work. In LA the light is bright, the clarity is amazing...New York has more of an electric almost purple light, it makes you more aggressive, and it’s more intense. Paris is the light of the French impressionism and that’s the school that I want to base my inspiration on so I think the combination of the three helps me create what I’m trying to express.
How did you come to know Sofia Vergara?
I met Sofia through a common friend a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and we hit it off right away; we became friends and then after that we just decided to work together one day. Then we did!
How would you describe her?
She’s amazing, so talented and down to earth! It's great working with her because you know that anything you do with her is going to be great.
Polaroids of you and Sofia body painting circulated around the web -- what was happening in those moments? Describe the scene!
We were in the kitchen having appetizers and a glass of wine and talking about what we were going to do, and it was just spontaneous, we thought let’s [paint] now but I said I don’t have a canvas, to which Sofia replied "well why don’t you just use my body?" Who says no to that?
What do you want to evoke with your art? Is there anything you do to get you in the mindset to create?
Not really, I love to sketch and draw and everywhere I am I look at things and see what they would look like in a painting and I try to keep those memories and try to document them. Then when I’m in the studio I start thinking and dreaming of all of those moments that are so beautiful or special for any reason; sometimes we think so much about the big picture and we have no time to pay attention to the little details, to the moments that can fill us with happiness. I try to do that every day, to take my time to experience life and to feel it and let it into my soul. When I’m working I combine all of these things and try to recall them and make it all into a painting.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
My two kids obviously. They are everything to me. In terms of my career, just to be able to do what I want -- to paint. I was once asked what I would do if I wasn’t successful at painting. I had never given this much thought. It took me a whole day to come up with an answer but the answer is that I would be painting! Cars, or streets or light bulbs even! The achievement is that I get to paint what I feel and I get to enjoy it.
What's on your radar/what projects do you have coming up?
Right now I’m concentrating now on Art Basel in Miami this week which it very important to me especially this year with so many things going on during the fair for me. I’m unveiling a mural I did at the W Hotel, showing piece I did on the windows of the Hublot boutique in Bal Harbour and I’m having a showing of my new collection so it’s definitely going to be busy! .
After that I will be focusing on the Venice Biennale which is next summer where I have had the opportunity to do an installation that will be on show for six months. I’m very excited about that.