Blog Hotel El Duque

15 June 2021

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Victor, the painter of Hotel El Duque

Victor the painter from Hotel El Duque. Today we want to show you one of the changes that we continue to make to improve our hotel before reopening. As you know, we have been working all this time without rest so that when you come to Hotel El Duque, you will find a renovated hotel. One of the most beautiful changes, we are making it with the help of the artist Hrvoje Victor Kucan. He is bringing all his talents to turn our hotel into a museum of works of art. Victor is painting one by one all the pictures that we will place in the rooms, making murals throughout the hotel and many more things that we keep secret so that you can discover when you visit us. Next, we tell you who Victor is, his career as an artist and a series of questions that only he can answer with all his talent.



I was born in Bosnia, then the Republic of the former Yugoslavia. My interest in drawing started at a very early age and, unsurprisingly, my first idols were the cartoonists who were very popular at that time. Above all, I was interested in moving figures and the dynamics of dramatic scenes.


He repeatedly and studiously drew human bodies, but also animals. Horses, above all, awakened my passion that persists to this day and is an important and very present part of my art of drawing. I deepened my knowledge by studying anatomy, drawing musculature, and learning the nature and mechanics of the body. It is a base that in subsequent years facilitated my entry into the “Academy of Fine Arts” at the University of Sarajevo, where I finished with a degree in sculpture. I decided to study sculpture out of curiosity and interest in learning something that even my studies did not know.


Sculpture studies completed my knowledge and opened new fields for me to investigate. The most important part of my artistic career was undoubtedly my ability to make charcoal portraits. Very soon it became the art of my main interest and for many years it was an important source of my income. As a teenager I spent the summer months on an island in Croatia where I already had a position as a portrait artist and made a living drawing people in public.


Those were the days of my adolescence and my beginnings in the world of professional artists that in the future was going to mark my career for many years. They were the experiences that helped me gain confidence and clear the fear of the public. Really very soon I found myself comfortable working in public, which allowed me to draw without complexes and with great success.

It was my beginnings as a professional artist and I was barely 18 years old. My studies at the University of Fine Arts were a great advance in my understanding of art in general and a door to a new world to investigate. Thus I immersed myself with enthusiasm and energy in this new world that awaited me after finishing Fine Arts. After finishing university, curiosity led me to visit Barcelona where I spent a few months before deciding to travel to the Canary Islands. I chose Tenerife as my destination by chance and made it my permanent residence until now. My arrival on the island occurred at the beginning of October and my first impression was one of surprise.

What I expected was to find a tropical environment typical of Caribbean advertisements and in reality, I learned that the island of Tenerife is very different from what I imagined, and I have to admit that it took me a long time to assume it and get used to a completely new environment. shocking. There was certainly something intriguing and strange from the point of view of someone used to the Mediterranean environment and landscapes, but at the same time, fascinating and inspiring. It did not take me long to discover that it was the place where I had things to discover and I decided to establish my residence on the island of Tenerife until today.


What inspires you about Tenerife for your paintings?

The island of Tenerife is a world of contrasts and diversity where the environment invites inspiration. It will be the high peaks under the clouds or distant lights of a fishing village, a jacaranda tree in bloom, or a beach at sunset …

Everything has a particular island air, fascinating and inspiring. This unique environment and this mixture of contrasts are what I try to capture when I paint a landscape of Tenerife. The essence. The island is a phenomenon where nature remembers its roots and shows its creative power expressed in shapes, materials, and colors in their most spectacular splendor. Capturing the essence of this world is capturing the mystery of its secret corners, melancholy of the past, and nostalgia for today. It is to capture the spirit of materials, forms, and energies in their pure and wild state through painting on a canvas.


This is my purpose and inspiration. There are innumerable places of fascinating aspects where nature surprises and impacts. Heaven is an immense permanent stage where the show does not stop and does not repeat itself. It is very present in my painting and I never tire of painting it. The wild coast of sharp black volcanic rocks beaten by the Atlantic that produces fear and admiration was also and continues to be one of my favorite subjects.


Atmospheric phenomena can dress corners and sites in any way and change their customary appearances in more exotic settings. The dynamics of change manifested in a constant metamorphosis is one more addition to the attraction.

How long have you been working with Hotel El Duque?


My collaboration with Hotel El Duque started with a phone call from the hotel owners. They found my contact in a mural in the hotel kids club that I had painted years ago. They consulted me and suggested that I decorate the walls of the kids’ club with paint again with motifs and settings suitable for the room, and I accepted. From this work, which turned out to be successful, the relationship with the hotel had been established and my collaboration with the owners has lasted for many years. During this period I was hired for a series of jobs, always related to decoration and aesthetics issues, which I found very attractive and I accepted and carried out with enthusiasm.


From the beginning it was easy for me to get on with them and interpret their ideas, contributing my alternatives and suggestions that have always been accepted. Ideas also emerged that helped me deviate from the routine and adopt a different approach. For this reason, when I talk about all these works, I like to say: “we have done”, why do I consider that the participation of both parties brought benefits of equal weight and thus was reflected in a striking product of considerable quality. During the last two years, starting with a couple of murals, we have completed a series of paintings that are placed in the corridors, new decoration of the kids club, a collection of acrylic painting canvases with hibiscus flower motifs planned to beautify the atmosphere of the new restaurant and, finally, a huge series of paintings in order to dress the apartments with original and striking works of decorative appearance and a modern aesthetic.


In this last year, while the hotel was closed due to current circumstances, the renovation works intensified and my participation in decoration work had a remarkable place that makes me feel satisfied and grateful for the opportunity that has been offered to me. I would like to add that with this last work I am especially happy and I consider it the most complete and striking of everything I had done so far and not only because of the volume and number of works but also because of the artistic concept that was as attractive as it was challenging.


To remember, the main idea of ​​decorating hotel environments with authentic hand-painted works is an exceptional concept and remarkable exclusivity. At this moment, while I am still working on the project, I can reflect with the conclusion that this last year, despite difficulties due to known circumstances, has been a successful year and a unique experience for me. Once the collection of paintings is finished, my most complete work will be presented and the opportunity to exhibit it in space permanently. This for me is a privilege as an artist.


Thanks to the idea and the willingness of the owners to offer a new environment with an artistic touch, once finished, the hotel will present an exclusive space of authentic art and my participation in the project makes me feel especially satisfied and grateful.

What kind of paintings are you doing now for Hotel El Duque?


The collection of paintings that I am doing for Hotel El Duque with great pleasure and enthusiasm is a great job that I have been doing since the last year. Apart from several murals, a series of large canvases, and a long series of paintings of various sizes, it was the most attractive, promising, and challenging part of this project. The basic idea that was proposed to me was to make a series of paintings with simple-looking Canarian motifs to decorate the walls of the hotel rooms. The idea came from there and the “Esencias Canarias” collection was born.


I found this idea to be the most appropriate and especially attractive as it was the continuation of my work on this theme and a new opportunity to do a great job without having to deviate from my artistic tendencies. Carrying out a large series of the same theme includes: deepening, experimenting, and innovating. After a year of working, the collection is mostly finished and it is time to reflect. During the process, new ideas and techniques were developed, but always subject to the same theme.


Now the collection contemplates different phases in painting during the process. From contemporary to abstract realism. The collection includes paintings painted with acrylic on wooden panels. The first edition is completed and realistically done. During the process, it is simplified and reduced to shapes and colors until it is purely abstract, but despite the absence of the figurative, it did not lack purpose and expression of the essential. Once the “Esencias Canarias” collection is finished, it is finally made up of several editions that are distinguished, but belong to the same story told with colors and shapes.


The collection bears the name “Esencias Canarias” and is, in effect, what it intends to present. It is a collection of personal experiences made in a sincere and spontaneous way and I hope that this feeling is transmitted and recognized. Painting a collection of numerous works with the same theme has the danger of saturating the artist and taking him down the path of repetition …


It is an artistic challenge and, in the same way, an extraordinary experience that is pleasant and agonizing. Once the “Esencias Canarias” collection is completed, I can consider it a success to remember and an important collection in my artist curriculum as well as a testimony of a particular time in everyone’s history. I hope that the paintings that make up this collection, apart from complying with the decorative, carry some weight and enough depth to convey the message and make you feel the fundamental, essence.

What are your artistic influences?


At first, my interest in painting was quite limited. This is due to the rare opportunity I had to come across a painting in general, until one day I saw a wall calendar at my aunt’s house with reproductions of paintings by Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Renoir, and of course Claude Monet.


She fascinated me so much that they gave me the calendar, I took it home and began to paint the motifs of the calendar pictures with tempera on paper. In fact, I never felt particularly attractive the painting of “popular” realism, so present in the walls of the houses that I visited and that the owners obviously sported with pride. For this reason, at the moment of meeting these artists, I discovered at that moment my own impressionist sensibility and rightly remembered my nature to express myself through painting.


At this particular moment, my passionate adventure as a picture painter began. Of course, at the time I had no idea about Impressionism or that these artists belonged to this movement and nothing about them either, but I felt that these artists saw and expressed their view of the world in a similar way that was so familiar to me. If I have to talk about my first influences in the art world, I would talk about French Impressionism and the artists I mentioned. These influences were not left behind, they have remained throughout my artistic career and to this day, if I have to categorize my art, I would call it “contemporary impressionism”. It is true that one does not choose the movement that is attractive, if not that it belongs to him by nature and the direction that he sets according to sensitivity.


During the creation process, one develops his own personal and recognizable style and his previous experience always leads him to a new world to discover. With my studies in Fine Arts came my broader knowledge of art and my interest in 20th-century art, which at that time I considered modern art. There were many artists that I met through their work, both painting, and sculpture, and I began to admire them. The most shocking discovery was, without a doubt, the art of Pablo Picasso. This became one of the most important later influences.


I was fascinated by both his art and his character. His influence has been one of the most important in my artistic orientation at the time of my studies and very notable and present in many of my works.


Later came masters of abstract art and new movements that came from the new cradle of art, the United States, which also piqued my interest. From this time I would highlight abstract art painters such as Jackson Pollock, Kandinski, Calder, or Mark Rothko. These left a great influence on my development in abstract art. Influences and experiences that are part of my career as an artist and that make up my art today.

Here we leave Victor’s contact information, so that you can see all his work and contact him if you are interested.

Victor’s website:

Instagram: @victorartstudio

Facebook: Hrvoje Victor Kucan

Email: Phone: +34 626459617

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