The Nation / Fathers of Art

By Tony Roberto, [email protected]

This year, on Father’s Day, Toni Roberto remembers those other fathers, those who were mentors along the path of our lives.

Is it Father’s Day? That’s what they say. For many of us who ventured into art from an early age and raised our families in that world, we have our mentors, in my case I can define them as that group of people we meet along the way in our lives and then put together a puzzle to place them in the instead of a father, a mother, brothers, uncles and cousins, that family we choose.

That’s right, back in 1979, two brothers who taught plastic arts at the Cristo Rey school arrived, in what was previously called the first year of secondary school, they were the brothers Víctor and Harmodio Soler. Thus, on any given afternoon in February at the end of the 1970s, the two entered the class very friendly with large “cartons”. Inside, “the material to go to war” as they said: a compass, a thread, chalk of all colors, it was all we needed to travel to the wonderful world that they proposed to us: learn the technique of drawing.


Since that day and seeing the abilities of some students, it was normal for Víctor or Harmodio to call two students who were not very applied in mathematics to the blackboard, one of those two was me. Spatuzza and Roberto go to the blackboard, we are going to look for “the perfect vanishing point for the perfect ranch”, the Solers said, and we went to that, “Spatuzza stretch the thread, Roberto spread the chalk” and from that small point the perfect landscape began that they proposed to us

That desire that the Soler Méndez brothers gave us, sons of the great painter from Asunción, Ignacio Núñez Soler, encouraged us to look for places to study art, so my classmate and son of the art of these two great teachers decided to go to the 14 years studying at the School of Fine Arts and I at the Center for Brazilian Studies, with Lívio Abramo. One afternoon, after school, we walked downtown with Spatuzza, we arrived at the old house on Iturbe and Fulgencio R. Moreno streets, where Bellas Artes worked. I continued my trip to the legendary house of Anselmita Heyn, where the Center for Brazilian Studies was located, determined to introduce myself to the great Brazilian master, I arrived and said: “good afternoon, professor, I would like to study drawing with you, but I will not be able to pay the classes because my parents don’t allow me to come”, he said a single word to me: “sit down”, he threw some cardboard and some pencils at me and told me: “do these line exercises, drawing has its own language, break with the old forms, create a new one”, from then on I felt that I was with my other “father of art” with whom I would later ride together with his wife Dora in his legendary blue German combi touring the city in those 80s.

Were my parents art? I do not know. I can only say that I owe them a love of free expression, critical thinking, technique. Result of the encounter between the academic of the Solers and the Brazilian modernity of Lívio.

A few days ago I finished a piece for Nación Media, a group in which I work, and there I was able to see the three of them, the first two in the “perfect vanishing point” and the last in “freedom of the line”. Yes, they were my art parents. Congratulations to our parents, those who saw us born and to those others, our mentors, all of them inspired us to walk in life.

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