Contemporary Californian painter Henry Asencio has emerged as one of the most intriguing young artists working today. His compositional style refers to the classical ideals of figurative painting, but merges introspection and visual spectacle with unmistakable modernity. His highly personal investigations of the female figure are characterised by open brushwork, sweeping colour, bold use of texture and great technical precision; qualities that have earned him an impressive range of international accolades.
Henry Asencio graduated with honours from the San Francisco Art Academy in 1998. He was a chosen finalist in an Artist's Magazine competition that same year for his work in portraiture, but as time went on he became more concerned with creating a mood and aesthetic context as opposed to replicating a scene or an image. Naturally drawn to painting the human figure for what he describes as "its timeless sensitivity", he is noted for the sensual vitality of his work. Influenced by themes of transformation and spontaneous beauty, his stated aim is to explore the essence of a mood and create work that is striking yet simple.
Henry proclaims an admiration for individuals who have chosen their own path. Inspired by the works of British artist Lucien Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud, he is also motivated by the "unbelievable vision, work ethic and unrelenting passion" of Pablo Picasso. Other notable inspirations include Willem de Kooning for, "making every stroke of the brush different" and Gustav Klimt for, "making decorative painting with integrity".
The artist prefers to work in oil, believing that nothing compares to the richness and workability of the medium, and it does perfectly complement his aggressive, painterly style. He begins each composition with a 'gesture drawing', and then mixes colour and applies the paint according to his temperament. He uses a palette knife, thereby transforming a traditional painting into one possessing his cutting edge signature style.
A native Californian, Henry Asencio lives and works in his studio near San Jose, north of his birthplace of Los Angeles. His work is now exhibited and collected all over the world.
"I want people to feel what I am doing - not just see what I am painting."