Paco Llonis: “My painting is mine with all its mistakes and all its successes”.

Paco Llonis, one of the most important artists making scrolls, with designs of such a style that they are highly valued throughout our autonomous community, without forgetting the decoration of altarpieces, chapels… and paintings, paintings and drawings.

A most endearing guy, cordial, kind, humble, smiling, helpful, friendly… Good people. I ran into him with her charming wife a few days ago and, after jokingly discussing bullfighting with her, I propose that Paco do this interview.

“Look José Luis, I have to tell you first of all that I have studied a lot, but I have no titles of any kind.

When I was eleven years old, I won the Martínez Salazar award at the school in my town. I taught many young people, and not so young, to read, write and calculate. At the age of thirteen I was a carpenter’s apprentice, at the age of fifteen I was a youth in the pharmacy and I began to study commerce, which I could not pass. I began my military service at the age of 19, I became a corporal first and went to the Extremadura Regiment number 15 in Algeciras, where I spent four years and then entered the “Marcelo Spínola” Senior Seminary in Umbrete, until I validated my studies and finished philosophy. At the end of these years of philosophy, I made the decision to continue or not, and I decided to leave the seminary and come to Huelva, where I began all my personal, family, artistic, work and cultural journey, until now.

Paco Llonis

This entire journey of my life was full of drawings, paintings, paintings, decorations and everything that knew art. I have exhibited my works seventeen times between the years 1977-2000, although the truth is that I am not very given to exhibitions. Among them are the “Plus Ultra” Hall of Huelva, Moguer, the Church of the Third Parties and the Ateneo of Seville, Gibraleón, Faro, the Medieval Days of Cortegana, Ayamonte and my town of Paterna.

When opting for the parchment I have to tell you that I have cataloged 779 parchments, and 780 is on the table.

I have decorated chapels, altarpieces, etc. Paintings on the ceiling of the Chapel of the Holy Supper in Huelva, the midpoint of the Iglesia del Polvorín, the chapel of the Virgen del Rosario Coronada in Carrión de los Céspedes, a private oratory in San Bartolomé de la Torre, the altarpiece of the Chapel of the Holy Christ Captive of Huelva and endless paintings and gifts.

In a “grosso modo” this is my career, although there is a lot to point out to assess it in its entirety”.

Well, once this presentation is done we enter the interview, which flows quickly:

Q. – What is your opinion of the situation we are experiencing?

A. – Not very good. The parties are bowed to their acronyms and fight among themselves, and within themselves, without thinking that they are there precisely to look out for the well-being of citizens, and especially the most vulnerable.

R. – How do you think life has changed with covid?

R. – I think that we will always have in many generations the before and after the covid. Many of us, especially the youngest, have realized that we are more fragile than we thought, that we can be annihilated at any moment by any crazy person who comes out there, and that this pandemic has brought us more poverty, more needs, more pain and uncertainty to our lives.

Q. – Did you expect a war in Europe in the middle of the 21st century?

R. – You know that there is a saying that says: “man is the only animal that stumbles twice on the same stone”, and we do not learn from how many confrontations we have had throughout the centuries. And much more now with the destructive and not so destructive technologies that make the powerful more insensitive, more greedy, more greedy, to see who dominates who, as if we were going to take everything with us when we have to leave. I did not think of another war, I think it would be the end of all.

Q. – Have you been afraid at any time?

A. – Especially when it comes to operations, whether personal or family, I panic, I can’t help it. And there’s a little light in there that I turn to. As the saying goes: “we remember Santa Barbara when it thunders”well that.

Q. – What projects do you have for the future and what are you doing now?

R. – Projects for the future there are some, and important ones, started a long time ago that have not seen the light yet.

Currently, I am finishing the most important project of my artistic career up to now, such as the realization and decoration of the Chapel of the Holy Cross, on Malva street in Lucena del Puerto, started approximately eight years ago where the different disciplines are appreciated. that I have learned throughout my life, in the devotional, architectural and artistic sense executed.

Q. – What does Huelva mean to you and how do you value it?

A. – Although I am not from the capital, but from Paterna del Campo, Huelva for me is my home, my city, the one that hurts me in the depths of my soul for the injustices committed against it, the one that I have seen grow throughout Throughout these years, the one that has to abandon that shyness of a big town and take flight with all its potential and place itself where it belongs by history; Stop being the poor daughter of Andalusia. And that corresponds to all of us. As long as we don’t, they will be denying us from all sides.

Q. – Since when have you been making scrolls and how many have you recorded?

A. – I made my first scroll for José María Sánchez Arjona, Marqués de Paterna, then Minister of Housing during the Dictatorship. And I have made 779 and the one I have on the table for the Town Crier of Holy Week in Huelva next year.

Example of parchment by Paco LLonis

Q. – Does it generally take you a long time to carry out your works?

A. – It depends on the parchment. I don’t have set hours. Being at home I dedicate the time, sometimes unexpected, that it needs. Always, of course, so that it is on the date set for delivery. That is my best business card.

Q. – What are the scrolls that you have made that you keep the best memory?

R. – Of all, but in a special way that of the Coronation of Our Lady of Montemayor de Moguer, that of Pope Saint John Paul II, Murillo, Juan de Mesa, Martínez Montañés, that of the Patronage of the Virgin of the Tape. I think I am the person who has painted these two devotions that are so ours the most times. Also, of course, the scrolls of the criers of our Holy Week.

"Mile of Paterna del Campo"
“Mile of Paterna del Campo”

Q. – Is the work you do valued as it deserves?

R. – Well, look, I don’t know. I think that when you have made so many and you have created your own artistic line it will be for a reason.

Q. – How was your childhood and what did you dream of being when you grew up?

R. – I had a good childhood. My first memory with colored pencils was very early, and I was sitting on my father’s knee. So it was clear to me from the beginning, I also spent a lot of time listening to classical music, which at that time and in a town was something rare.

Paco Llonis with his wife

Q. – What are your favorite hobbies and what do you spend your free time on?

R. – My favorite hobby is art in all its breadth. I’m always doing some art, including poetry, which I peek into sometimes, whether it’s measured or free verses to unleash some feeling.

Q. – With which character would you share a dinner and what would you ask him?

R. – I would like to share the moments of a meal with Joaquín Sorolla, I have also copied some of his paintings. And I would ask him how the transparent light of his works can be painted. I who have not had school would learn one more thing. I would do the same with Murillo or Velázquez.

Q. – Who are your references?

R. – Without a doubt, my references are the classics, from which I have been learning. Cennini the Italian, for his expansive treatise on painting, Murilo and El Greco, for his spirituality, Velázquez, for his mastery. There are many more and I have learned a little from all of them. In the end, and at this stage, I can say that “My painting is mine with all its mistakes and all its successes”I do not owe anybody anything.

Q. – What do you regret?

R. – I thank life for everything it has given me. Whenever I have made a mistake I have rectified it.

Q. – What do you value and hate most about people?

R. – What I value most: sincerity, truth, empathy and respect.

What I hate the most: appearance, lying, believing oneself more important than others without being so, looking down on others and mistrust.

Q. – What is happiness for you?

A. – Accepting and fulfilling yourself as you are, without trampling on anyone, being honest with yourself and honest with what you do, always keeping in mind the “Don’t do what you wouldn’t want done to you”valuing each person as what they are: a person.

Paco Llonis with his family
Paco Llonis with his family

Dear friend Paco, it has been a real joy to have this little chat with you and tell you that you are a real luxury for this land.

A big hug

Paco Llonis: “My painting is mine with all its mistakes and all its successes”.