Zil Hoque: Equine Scenes From Spain


Zil’s unique style is influenced by his deep knowledge and passion for the history and culture of Spain. You can see the powerful emotion he conveys in his work along with his use of light, which he is known for. He is inspired by artists Goya and Velasquez and he has had many exhibits over the years in both London and Spain.


Zil Hoque

Website, Facebook, Twitter 

Location: Born in India 1962, lives and works in London, England

Zil describes his work best:

I would not call myself an impulsive painter; rather the experiences of my travels are collated in the form of charcoal studies, colour studies and then the final symphony on the main canvas.
The imagery of Spain in all its facets is an impression upon which I apply the plastic qualities of oil paint. Colours become real light and space within the canvases, building the surface into a composed impasto and optical contrast. Light against dark fat against thin and so the drama grows.
My deep interest in the masters such as Goya, Velasquez, Rembrandt and Bacon is echoed in their handling of the stuff of paint, the description of the subject is a joy to see when the medium becomes one and the same as the observation. These issues constantly pre occupy my mind whilst painting. It is never enough to see colour sitting on the canvas in a passive way, it has to move, illuminate and intrude our physical space. Only when this has been satisfied and on close inspection, should we see the subject emerge from the canvas.- Zil Hoque

How long have you been around horses? 

I haven’t really been around horses for long, it would rather be a case of admiring certain type of horses  for their origins rather than an interest in all things equine. An interest in Hispanic subjects lead me, indirectly to study the Arab breed.


When did you first start creating art? Do you/your family have an artistic background?

I started art like most children, playing with colours and shapes at an early age, before I could read about 3-4 years of age. My mother encouraged me with drawing pads and colours. I remember copying from illustrations and trying to make a likeness of what I admired. Usually these were birds, exotic animals, rather like all children do.

My family doesn’t come from a fine art background so although I did make paintings at home, it was never seen as an end “product” with this mentally and passing years, my hobby was a form of pass time whilst studying for more  “useful” academic subjects opting at the last moment to enter into art school rather than follow the academic route.


Would you tell us more about your paintings? What sizes do you paint and do you make prints? 

My paintings are usually about my obsession with all things Spanish. It is very difficult to explain this passion and I see this reason to explain, as my driving force of the art. So you could say that both were self feeding. My medium of choice is oil, I find this allows be the best form of expression, blending,impasto and glazing techniques are all used in conjunction. I really believe in the tried and tested methods of the masters. Velasquez and Rembrandt are probably the easiest painters to follow primarily because their technique is so solid.

My oil, canvas studies, being quick are usually small , 30 x 50cm which then usually lead to the main paintings starting at 120 x 150cm. Unfortunately I do not make artist prints preferring to draw instead.

TFS: How would you describe your style?

ZH: Following masters such as Velasquez and Remabrandt my style has evolved by observation of  their details, looking expressionistic which finally lead me to Goya as the prime example of true fluid expressionism. His late works showing this to great effect.


TFS: What’s your process?

ZH: There are many ways of beginning a painting. Usually with me, I see a photograph of a moving bull, horse or dancer and that sets the ball rolling. That image is then drawn and re drawn until I can reduce it down to the essential element of the subject. This may reach the stage of a colour study should I feel interested enough to carry on with. At each stage of production the subject then takes on a life of its own at which point the paintings starts to live and a dialogue begins.

So from the original photographic or illustration instigation, I often find the painting went off in a tangent and even surprised me. The most planned and worked out paintings often failing to surprise me at the end!

TFS: Any upcoming exhibits?

ZH: Nothing planed for the gallery this year but I do take part in “impromptu” mixed shows.

TFS: Where can people see your art?

ZH: Currently with the T5 Gallery, London. Also have an online presence with various bodies here and the USA. My website is www.zilhoque.co.uk

TFS: Any advice for other artists?

ZH: In an ever changing market, the art world is for changing its character. I don’t think I could advise any other artist as to how to proceed other than to keep honest to your aims and ambition. A strong sense of direction always helps when things are falling apart around us.


TFS: How do promote your work and find new collectors? Do you find in-person events or social media work better?

ZH: I have the online presence which I try to keep up to date. But I’m of an age now that clients are recommendation’s from other clients. Having said that the social media is good to get my work seen by a wider public. I find people are actually interested in the state of the studio and working process.
Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Zil! Looking forward to seeing more of your new works.


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