Rafael Rix is an abstract artist based in London. His work focuses on the power of marks as the record of a unique movement and moment and as carriers of meaning and emotion across time. He works mainly with ink and flashe (art-grade vinyl emulsion) on paper.
Rafael studied Classics at Oxford University before working as an investment manager for 30 years.
His current artistic direction developed from his study of medieval manuscripts and palaeography at the Courtauld Institute, where he gained a Master’s in Art History after retiring from investment management.
Rafael’s work has been exhibited and sold in Italy and (prior to the invasion of Ukraine) in Moscow.
Abstract painting is like playing chess against the surface. I make my opening move, my first mark. The way it looks is the paper’s move back to me. It’s a fluid process which, like chess, gets more complex with each successive move.
I work mainly in ink and flashe (art-grade vinyl emulsion) on paper; applied with brushes, nibs, or by relief printing with found objects or unique handmade plates.
I’m attracted to ink for its minerality – it handles in a very different way to paint – and by its long history as a carrier of meaning over time. I prefer flashe to acrylic because of its intense depth of colour and matte finish. Both media enable me to switch between opacity and translucency.
I am fascinated by colour, texture, overlay, the interaction of pigment and surface and by conveying a physical sense that the work is a thing that has been made; unique, and unrepeatable.
The way that a mark is the record of a movement and energy at a moment that will never recur captivates me - both in historic manuscripts and in art. Although my work is abstract and my process organic, classical themes often provide the initial idea for my pieces.