Born in Quito, Ecuador, Rafael Valdivieso spent his childhood in the Loja region in the south of the country. At the age of ten he returned to Quito to continue his studies. It was originally thought he would study engineering as many of the men in his family.
By age 14 it was clear that plastic expression was the path Valdivieso wanted to follow. He majored in painting and sculpture at the Facultad de Artes at La Universidad Nacional. Valdivieso was trained as a publicist and graphic designer at the Instituto Latinoamericano de Diseño de Artes Graficas.
His travels in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East inspired his work and sharpened his attention for lines, shapes, and colors. He decided to join his family in the US in 1997. Currently residing and working in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Valdivieso’s work continues to change. Living in a different artistic environment than the one he was trained in challenges and inspires him.
“Our languages tie us to our world, our experiences and our beliefs. Worlds are opened and limited by language. Different tongues render untranslatable variations that describe the subtleties of the human essence. Amid the efforts to cultivate my creative freedom and to promote reflection, my work becomes the outcome of my desires and experiences. My tongues – Spanish, Quechua, English -build dialogues that seem the same but in reality reveal different paradigms. They show me that life can be experienced from different vantage points. In the face of these scenarios I observe and I take flight. My mission is to create channels of communication between the inside and the outside of these worlds. In my visual labyrinth I find my understanding, I grow.”