Antonio de Felipe: “It’s sad and scary that they want to steal my career and my talent”


Pending Supreme, the famed pop artist broke her silence to respond to her former workshop assistant Fumiko Negishi, who managed to co-author more than 200 works in court.

Antonio de Felipe, famous pop artist
Antonio de Felipe, famous pop artistWorld
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Semi-hidden behind one of the gates of the stately Calle Caballeros, in the historic center of Valencia, is the studio of the painter Antonio de Felipe (Valencia, 1965). Here he takes refuge in what came to be known as the ‘Spanish Warhol’. Madrid’s Provincial Court had agreed just over a year ago, before falling into disgrace as a victim of his former assistant, Fumiko Negishi. sentence that can be put on confirmation upside down in the art world, Admits that she co-authored 221 works of the famous pop artist. Embarrassed in a legal battle that has kept him in the shadows since 2016, de Felipe now breaks his silence from a studio he has begun opening to the public, and it is his hope to somehow recover his name. Symbol of desire.

Why speak now after so long and when the Supreme Court has not yet delivered the verdict?
, My lawyers have allowed it and I wanted to do it calmly. One who remains silent does not approve and sometimes even silence is not the best ally
what is your version?
This nightmare starts with the brick crisis, when I can’t pay the salary of the person I worked for as a shop assistant. I have to sack him and my secretary. a few days later i receive a request
The first is for unfair dismissal.
That trial was painstaking and I have to compensate him financially, but the judge already says that I am the author of my works. Then comes the lawsuit claiming the authorship of my works. I am shocked because the relationship I had with this person was extremely trusting. It was like family. I was disappointed professionally, because she was the one I hired, and personally, because I cared so much for her. It’s as if someone in your family cheated on you to destroy you. It was as if all my hard work was in vain because he had started a defamatory campaign against me. It seems that nothing I have done in my life, that I am a deceiver. And to have all this workshop assistant? The portrait of a workshop assistant dates back to the Renaissance.
To what extent is this normal?
it is. It helps you with technical tasks: sealing, anchoring areas of the frame… nothing to do with creative decisions. This allows you to optimize your time: there are tasks that require prior preparation and can be done by someone else with a notion of art. I would never ask a shop assistant to do something I don’t know how to do, although he has indicated that he taught me to paint. He charged 2,000 euros for half a day, with which he could devote himself to work in the afternoon. but artistically we orbit different planets
Do you think then that Negishi wanted to get some economic benefits?
He wanted to continue milking the cow. Instead of getting things for herself, she grabs someone else’s place. It’s so ugly that if you haven’t stood out as an artist for your work, you have to stand out by biting off the hand that fed you.
But is it necessary for a painter to have an assistant? Doesn’t this mean that works of art have become pure goods?
there’s no need. I haven’t had it for seven years. Although, warhol It’s a paradigm to work with a pop artist and assistants. Artists rely on assistants to be able to develop their work further, to be able to create more. Rubens or Leonardo, for example.
His work would have been the same without Negishi’s help?
Maybe it would have been less work, but it would be exactly the same.
Who was he really in charge of?
I could paint 10% of a painting, which was nothing more than a base preparation without building work. What he did can be done by anyone studying fine arts. His work was technical and mechanical, not artistic or creative. His contribution as an artist to my work is zero.
Do you believe that this decision changes the rules of the game in the art world?
It destroys the way the world of creation is normally organized. The assistant figure is present in all professions. Imagine that the person sewing Lorenzo Capriel wants the rights to the dress. I know actors who don’t want to hire assistants anymore because they are afraid that the same thing will happen to them like me. Not only that, I met my former assistant, who was working for at least three artists before me. Why am I asking for co-authorship rights and not others you’ve worked with before? In any case, any artist may not be subject to co-authorship. And the style of that other artist has to be taken care of.
Have you been banned?
I felt bad as if everything I did was a lie. It is true that with the crisis, the volume of exhibitions was reduced. Then the pandemic. But apparently it hurts me. There have been people who have disappeared.
Those who have supported him are Baroness Thyssen.
As an expert in the art world, she thinks it’s unfair for me to be questioned for being an assistant. He showed me his support from the very beginning as he has worked for me for many years
What has it been like going from stardom to boycott?
I am taking it with dignity. It’s sad and scary that they want to steal my career and my talent, which is the most intimate thing I have. I’ve been dragging off a depressive process for years.
And professionally, how is your work conditioned?
My therapy has been my art and is essentially creating like crazy. In 2016 I started with a series of ‘The Sleeping Paintings’ which are sketches of pictures I hadn’t done at the time and were sleeping. Now I am saving them. And then I have humbly done an exercise and I go back to childhood with ‘Bolipop’, drawing in A4 with a ballpoint pen, because when I was little I used to draw with a pen. I went on and on during the imprisonment pop pocket The only things I had at home were a pen, pencil and pad. And I’ve done over 30,000 digital works. With phone and finger. It’s a job I’ve done for pure pleasure. am On fire creatively.

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