In the early 1960′s a Peace Corp volunteer by the name of Velba Taylor gifted a small wooden easel with canvases to a Cañas youth named Otto Apuy. At the time he was considered an “overly expressive” boy who would often paint assorted objects different colors to see what patterns would appear as he ran around stamping walls: his first multicolored mono-type. At every opportunity Otto expressed himself artistically and often it was interpreted by his elders as nonsense or rebelliousness. Though sometimes criticized for his behavior, it only served to motivate him. Velba began to introduce Apuy to the world of art with books, information and magazines. The most prominent of these was a “LIFE” magazine featuring Jackson Pollack. It would become an inspiration for Apuy’s first abstract paintings.
This serendipitous gift given to a rebel youth exploding with creativity and artistic talent planted a seed that would bring him to the world’s stage.
In the 1970’s, Otto moved to Barcelona, Spain. Within two months his art was on exhibit at the Picasso Gallery and he began to be featured in other art institutions across Spain. This is also where he published his first book, “Diabolica” in 1979. In 1985 he moved back home to Costa Rica and continued innovating and pursuing new avenues of expression. Apuy is now a multifaceted artist and writer who is also a sculptor, painter, designer, and one of the pioneers of video art in the country. His work has been characterized to include figurative, abstract, conceptual and impressionistic. Otto’s pieces have crossed the borders of his home in Costa Rica individually and collectively, and have been exhibited in Spain, Sweden, Germany, Canada, United States, Central and South America.
He truly is a national treasure and continues to create new and interesting pieces that tie in cultural, political and emotional issues. Otto Apuy’s most recent exhibit opened at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery in Guanacaste on April 21st with a large reception and remains on display until June 15th. Apuy also has an exhibit in the passenger screening area in the Daniel Oduber International Airport through July 2012. The public will have an opportunity to meet Otto during his second appearance at the Hidden Garden in early June. Watch their web site for more details or contact them via Facebook or telephone at 8386-6872.
Contributed by T. Rund and Hidden Garden Art Gallery.