Holstered in perfectly shiny Bostonian shoes and a green ‘V’ sweater, gray-haired, and a mustache with thickness worthy of the crystals on glasses so thick they look green, a peculiar way of walking that announced a great passion for plastics in abstract expressionism, facts that result in the description of an intense painter, drawer, and engraver.
Teacher Aranguren was trained based on the academicism of the last century; his personality could not be understood without imagining him with his semi-rolled attendance list under his arm, which he used to extend coupled with the face of someone who simulates being accurate when accrediting one point to anyone who participated in his class.
His tests, unlike the rest of the teachers, were not printed through a mimeograph and consisted of the list of face-to-face questions, generally ‘finished’ with the word ‘i-llus-trate’.
Teacher Aranguren was an artist sheltered in teaching, which most likely allowed him to be his own patron to keep creating, and, as time passed, he ended up giving lectures of what it is to be a ‘Teacher’; a proof of this is the students’ pilgrimage all the way to the third floor of the design center only to consult him about a topic or simply to enjoy a kind and willing chat. Aranguren expropriated from the Tecos a whole workshop in order to turn it into his own ‘solitude fortress’, where he operated an ancient engrave press.
I cannot stop mentioning the fact of having had the fortune of being a university student in the late eighties, for, in this period, the figure of a ‘teacher’ resulted in a source of much more hierarchy due to their knowledge, as in Aranguren’s case, being circumscribed to hi work, adventures through Europe, and the frequent Catechism over the artistic work that he always professed to anyone who was willing to listen to him.
It is worth noting that he always showed that all individuals covered with a constant interest for knowledge would obtain a solid cultural experience and, hence, a higher easiness to invoke Muses…’
His vision regarding art rested in, what he used to call, ‘project disciplines’, which refer to the practice, commitment, and deepness of artistic work that every person must reach in order to project their own individuality through their work.
I would not exaggerate if I say that he always encouraged and motivated everyone who expressed him the desire to penetrate into art, in that sense, being ‘Nono’ is, in a large extent, thanks to his encouragement and nice words regarding the commitment required to paint and relinquish all paradigms under which, as people, many times we are ruled; likewise, he taught us that, through work and honesty, we will have the most solid argument to stand before a canvas.
In order to take this conversation to its conclusion, I would like to presume and anecdote about one of the first tests he applied to us, which was about ‘the color’ from the perspectives of its refraction and pigmentation, as well as its relation to the chromatic circle; I remember having prepared so much for that test that I ended up abusing caffeine the night before and, at the time of the test on the next day, it was impossible for me to approach it, so I only managed to answer the first question that said as follows: what is color?; resigned, I handed over the test. Aranguren observed me from head to toe, surprised by my prompt surrender and, after reading my only answer, he dedicated to me a complicity face that I still remember these days.
On that sheet, it could be read:
‘Color is nothing but the whims of light captive in the magic of our eyes’.
Rest in Peace, Teacher Gustavo Aranguren Guillén.