Jorge Cocco Santangelo is an Argentinian painter who also works in sculpture, lithograph, etching, ceramics, and washi zokey (art with handmade paper). His work has been acquired and exhibited at museums in Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and the United States. He has lived and worked in both Spain and Mexico. He maintains studios in both the United States and Argentina.
Tell us about becoming an artist. My evolutionary cycle has practically been the same as the art history itself, exploring at least briefly all the main schools and styles until I found the elements to create my own language. That is to say that I started from the more figurative to the more abstract; I started drawing and painting landscapes and the human body, and evolved to a more intellectual work, with no models to copy from.
You once wrote of the Book of Mormon, “I had a strong urge to begin painting the more recognized scenes in the book. This urge led me to observe and internalize pre-Hispanic art on the American continent. This provided an extra benefit in looking for my own artistic expression.” Art is as effective as the spoken language when it comes to convey a message, and I use it as another way of reaching out to more people to declare the truths in the Book of Mormon. I had the opportunity to live in Mexico and there I was in deep contact with the local archeology. I draw benefits for my own art because in the first place, the pre-Hispanic culture has a very unique and rich language and second, I went through a discovery of hidden symbolisms directly related to the Book of Mormon. I adopted certain aspects of the languages of the Olmecs, Mayans, Aztecs, etc., and also I incorporated symbolic elements to my own artistic expression.
Images courtesy Jorge Cocco Santangelo and LDS.org. Special thanks to Jorge’s art manager, Amiel Cocco-Verbauwen, for the translation.