With a wide range of possibilities, from funeral graves to modern sculptures or business logos, Raúl Abad is a 21st century sculptor who keeps working in his pieces with affection in an entirely artisan process.
Could you tell us how and when did you start in the job?
I started drawing when I was very young. Later, when I was six, I used to play with clay: my dad had a stone studio in which I would pick up pieces that were left over and I made my first sculptures.
You cover several styles: modern sculpture, figurative and religious. ¿Who are your models in every style?
Apart from these styles, I also create sculptures in graves. I do very special works, as I wouldn’t even call some of them graves, they are true works of art: one of them was an sculpture of an 80cm tall angel. I have got many models, but especially Bernini, Miguel Ángel…
This summer you have exhibited your work in the Centre d’Artesania of the CV in the exhibition “Sentidos”. What has that meant for you?
It has been a pleasure for me to exhibit my work in the Centro de Artesanía. It is a chance the craftsmen are given to be able to reach to a bigger audience. It is still early for an evaluation, and I hope it is good.
Which one do you think is your distinctive signature?
The difference between my working methods and those of the rest is very simple. In the first place, the attitude of working innovating and creating original pieces, always searching for the spot between what the clients are looking for and what I can add in terms of experience and work quality. Secondly, the direct and personal treatment with the client, creating a work relationship, but very personal at the same time. For me the client has to leave satisfied with his product, no matter which line we are moving in. My signature is the originality and creativity, the quantity of materials I can work with. The harder the challenge is, the more I like it.
Tell us a bit about the creation process. When you get an order, how do you manage to capture the idea of what the client wants?
Well, I try to capture the idea from my clients by listening to them. I’m like a sponge because sometimes I speak with them, not about the sculpture they want, but a little about their lives: about how they are, things they like… In this way I can express the sensations in an specific idea. It’s something so inexplicable that almost emerges without noticing.
Your studio is located in Alfara del Patriarca (Valencia) Who are your main clients? Have you got or have you had some outside the Comunitat?
Churches, individuals, and custom orders. My working area is national and, ocassionally, international.
How do you see the future of the craftsmanship sector and the carving and sculpture in particular?
Of craftsmanship, very good. Nowadays, artisan profesional work of high quality is in short supply. I think that those who really are good professionals have a future, provided that they have the appropriate conditions of innovation, professionalism and big workload. About the carving and the sculpture, making a life out of this kind of job on a professional level is hard. The bohemian sculptor, which is something that seems mandatory for an sculptor, or famous and rich, rarely exists. Virtue is said to be the middle course and that is hard to achieve. If you do what you like and you sell it properly, brilliant, but if you do what you like and you don’t sell anything you can’t have something to eat everyday. Then, what’s the virtue? The sacrifice you have to make most of the times is in order to be able to eat and, because of that, be able to create the pieces you want to create. For me the biggest virtue is to get the most of everything I do focusing exclusively on the sculpture theme.