Abel Zavala studied fine arts at the Universidad Veracruzana, but his creative production processes have led him to a point of convergence between artistic practice and the exercise of design. From art he has assimilated the aesthetic character of an object based on an essentially basic perspective: sensitivity. While from design he has taken the functional relationship between the object and the user. "In my work I opt for simple forms, abstractions and monochromes. The design of the pieces is directed to appeal to a sensory reading rather than to an interpretation. "
During college, Zavala (1986) focused on painting and two-dimensional supports until he detected a need to work with a solid matter. It was in ceramics where he found plenty of opportunities not only to explore the three-dimensional but also to approach a more craftsmanship work from a contemporary point of view: "I like the intersections between the languages of contemporary art and traditional materials and processes. And ceramics have a handcraft and ancestral essence. "
The nature and culture of his native Xalapa had a significantly influence in his approach to ceramics: "I live in Xalapa, where ceramics have a strong presence, from the pieces at the Museum of Anthropology to the many workshops that currently exist. This material also contains possibilities that go beyond matter. "I think it's interesting to blur the boundaries between art and design. Ceramics allow me to have two lines: sculptural and functional pieces. Thus, art can be integrated into life in a more accessible way."
In addition to ceramics, Zavala also works with different animal’s hair such as cat, pony, alpaca, sheep, dog and Pelibuey sheep. As he says himself, in his work there is special attention in the language of materials. It is through them that he can create a specific form or express an idea. When a project begins, the conceptual approach sets the standard for selecting the materials that later will be worked with a spirit of exploration that allows him to understand and manage their virtues.
That natural character embodied in his works, granted mainly by the material, can also be reflected both in the organic shape of the pieces as well as in their names. Zavala explains that this has a lot to do with his context and proximity to vegetation. "I transform certain conceptual aspects into formal realities from the observation of nature” .
Epiphyte, ash, larva, orchid, hail or hyperparasites are referents from nature and are part of the names of some of his jugs, jars, vases, bowls and other objects. In the case of the sculptural series Epiphyte (2013) Zavala started from the behavior of plants that live on others without harming them, " a series of white pieces which have a low profile presence emerged to make an analogy of how art is integrated into the space ".
Meanwhile, Larvae (2013) are sculptures that use the material aspect in favor of the concept and representation. “These pieces are inspired in the red clay hills in my city. So, I make an interpretation of the forms and include the mud of this land in the composition. Thus, they are not only a representation, they also carry a little of what they represent. "
In these and in other projects as Hiperparásitas (2015), Cuenco Ceniza (2015), Cuencos Turquesa (2015), Jarra Azafrán (2015) and Vasija Serpentina (2014), you can observe a meticulous care for details. According to the material, Zavala explores its elements to highlight and promote the values, shape, textures and colors of the piece.
Although his work is more related to art, Zavala does not forget his interest in design: "I see art as an area of freedom, as a language with which I can talk about my concerns or what is important for me to me to say. I decided to be an artist because I love and enjoy the whole process: reflection before, during and after the creation of my work, and then to encourage reflection to the audience”.