The young artist opens the door to his universe through a tour of the studio where he composes his dark and suggestive paintings.

A dangerous pleasure. This is how the universe of the artist Black Butter could be defined. Once you approach him, he engulfs you like a dense black mass that bit by bit swallows you in an ecstasy as harmonious as it is lethal. Pato, the nickname of the boy behind whom his alter ego Black Butter hides, shocks frequently when you have the opportunity to meet him personally to discover that he is a close and kind person, incredibly cool and sexy but with a Lovecraftian mind full of dark corners but undoubtedly attractive. Model, painter, and performer, Pato is skilled in a multitude of arts but, now, through Black Butter, it is painting that arouses most of his passions. Some passions of black color, the only one he uses and from which all his dark works are born but, at the same time, his hopeful works. A hope that can only be achieved by embracing the inner darkness.

I would like to start by asking you, who is Black Butter?

My name is Pato and my artistic persona is called Black Butter, which comes from all the textures and amount of matter that I adhere to black at the time of creating my works. I only paint using the color black, pure black. There are shades, yes, but they always start from black.

Why is that?

About a few months ago, before preparing an exhibition in a gallery in Alcobendas, a friend told me that he thought he knew why I only painted in black. He believes that it is because my father is blind, he lost his vision when he was very young and the fact that he cannot see anything has influenced my way of painting. My father has worked very hard to get everything he has and he has been a reference to me.

Do you think that influence will always be there?

I just let myself go, I flow with my feelings. I never think about what a painting will be like before I paint it, I just gather my resources. My way of painting has a lot of gestures, the strokes are strong, and there is a sort of anger in them. I play with all that along with everything that affects me personally.

Do you remember your first painting?

When painting was a hobby I painted with color but when I started to take it seriously I switched to black. They were very large paintings, with a lot of texture, very labyrinthine. In a way, similar to the cave paintings that a child would paint in a cave.

Don’t you fear that black may awaken some sadness in the reaction of the public?

I look back and feel that some of my paintings are really sad. Especially a triptych that I will never sell and that represents a stage of my life in which I had a really bad time. I fell into a depression that is reflected in a red stripe in one of those paintings that creates an optical effect in which the painting seems to be weeping a red liquid. I know that this is sad, but now from the sadness I have been able to develop a creative part that I think ends up emanating light. There is anger, there is aggressiveness in my painting but there is light. I feel alive and happy now.

So, are you a person whose personality is different from your paintings?

My art and who I am go hand in hand. For there to be darkness there must be light. There is a reciprocal relationship since my works contribute a lot to me but I also contribute to them. It is a very good relationship, Art and I have established a very good conversation.

Why would you say that of all the plastic arts you opted for painting?

I was a bit of a weird kid. So I told to myself “Okay, I know that in this school I have been pointed out as weird. So I’m going to hang out with the weirdos” and it was like a cool experience. What happened later? they transferred me to a new high school where I had so much stimulation that I took a pen and paper and I began to draw in class for hours and hours and hours and hours, without even thinking that I liked painting. there were so many different people around me and so many things were happening that I had to do something to channel it. I realized that as I painted, my classmates looked at what I was doing and freaked out. And there was a moment during a class break when many kinds were around me watching what I had done and I thought if they are seeing something, why am I not seeing it?

Sometimes that happens when you are still very young…

I finished high school and entered the world of fashion. I did a coolhunting course and it was very cool. As a result of that, I started working as a model and I liked it, but I ended up feeling it lacked substance. It’s very cool to parade for someone and wear something that for the designer is art, but I am just a tool. Thinking that led me to performance art. My first one was at the Neomudejar Museum in 2018. I have traveled to Italy to perform. Shortly after, I reconnected with what I felt in high school and resumed painting until now.

You mentioned school, did you have a happy teenage years?

I can tell you in percentage. 70 percent happy, and 30 percent unhappy, because there have been moments that have made me very happy. And then the rest I have had a really bad time. I come from a Christian family that at first did not take my tastes and concerns well. In fact, they wanted to put me in a boarding school. What I told you before, that I was the weird kid was really tough sometimes. Later, in Madrid, I got involved in a series of relationships that did me no good. I left all that behind when I hit rock bottom and started hanging out with good people. And the truth is that now I am super happy. Most of my friends are artists or gallery owners or collectors. People who are very passionate about art, about fashion, and people who live it not from an ego, which is what has also failed me for a long time. We all live not from an ego, but from a passion, from something with meaning, something true.

What do you mean that the ego has failed you?

There has been a time when I have been the wrong type of narcissist. The ego devoured my personality. Now I have learned not to judge. That’s why I’m interested in meeting any type of person who feels connected to the world, and who wants to be nourished by everything that surrounds us. People with a clear mind.

But what about you? How do you contribute to others?

That question is tricky. I don’t know what to answer. I think I can contribute different points of view. Perhaps trust and loyalty. Sometimes also passion.

If you try to transmit all that, what do you think your paintings transmit?

My intention is that all my paintings can transmit something. There are some of my paintings that talk about attachment, about how we cling to the past and how we try to get rid of it. They are much more personal works that speak about my insides and the problems that worry me, they are very emotional. Then, I have another way of painting that consists of concentrating everything on the same point, focusing all the information you can obtain from the painting in one place, and letting whoever sees it interpret it in their own way.

I have seen some of your paintings where you cut out the canvas itself, why?

At the Mayoral Gallery in Barcelona, I discovered an exhibition by Miró in which I found out that on a stage he also cut his canvases. Tápies did something similar by playing with the fabrics, either by rolling them up or stretching them out. He was very inspiring to me and I decided to include him in my way of painting.

Now that you mention artists, who have influenced you throughout your career?

Francis Bacon for what his works transmit, is so raw. Anís Capur for its color and the way it is worked. Daniel Nuñez is also a great source of inspiration, María Prats or Óscar Murillo. Basquiat has also been very important to me.

Would you like to inspire others?

I think that in a certain way, I already inspire something. And the more people it inspires, the better. And if it is through something that is my passion, then great.

And what is your goal?

Exhibit in large galleries and travel the world with my art. I know it may sound ambitious, but it is what I would like.

Do you sometimes have a hard time separating Pato from Black Butter?

Yes, but I have had to work a lot on myself to achieve it. Pato is a person with his qualities and with his defects, and Black Butter is the one who paints, who makes these works.

Come on, confess to me where your nickname “Pato” comes from!

“Pato” means duck in Spanish. There was a time when I smoked a lot of joints, they made me sick, I became very clumsy, and sometimes the tone of my skin looked yellow (laughs). It’s kind of silly but I find it funny. I feel like a little animal that just wants to live its own way.

That’s how they baptized you, but what about your works?

They all have a title. In fact, I always sign on the back and write the phrase “Embrace your darkness”. That is my mantra.

Photo: Abel Trujillo @abeltrujillo
Interview & Production: Juan Marti @ sswango
Talent: Black Butter by Pato @ducckye
Special Thanks: On Tracks OnTracks