Fashion / Style

Pablo Picasso’s Great Nephew Creates His Own Art Moment at River Oaks District’s Handbag Heaven

Jacob Vilató Live Paints a One of a Kind Creation at Moreau Paris

BY // 04.26.22

While much of the world eagerly awaited the return to pre-pandemic life, artist Jacob Vilató reveled in the solitude. The painter found solace and creative freedom in the void of commitments and events, offering him the opportunity to dedicate all his time to his craft. 

“It may sound selfish but, in some ways I liked it,” Vilató says. “You couldn’t leave your home and there were the restrictions, so that gave me the chance to not be so social and focus on my art. So for me, it was great.” 

It’s not surprising the architect-turned-painter leaned into a quiet space during a time of global turmoil. Artists are often fueled by sadness or conflict, and for Vilató, the great nephew of Pablo Picasso, it was second nature to create during the pandemic. 

Vilató brought his talents to Houston at luxury bag maker Moreau Paris, where he live painted a bag that will be auctioned for charity. It was his first visit to the city since he was five and came at the behest of Luisa Rangel de Alba of Moreau Paris and Assouline Books. The event aligned art and fashion at the only free-standing Moreau Paris boutique in the country. 

Vilató is soft spoken, letting his colorful paintings do much of the talking, but he is aware of the interest between his famous great uncle and himself. The through line is undeniable, but Vilató has come to terms with the familial connection and is confident in his own abilities. 

“It took me a long time to embrace it, but I have come to peace with that,” Vilató tells PaperCity. “Obviously, when you try to paint there’s always that big shadow over you. They compare you, but now I embrace it.”

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Vilató Charts His Own Unique Art Journey

Vilató pursued his own path, founding an architecture firm with locations in Spain, China and India before opening Vilató i Vilató, a Barcelona-based art and design firm in 2018. 

Much like his famous uncle, Vilató is drawn by a variety of interests, although his work isn’t broken into different periods. African art, jazz music, 1960s cars, Avant-Garde paintings and death occupy his creative space. This artist is motivated by the desire to learn while also trying something new.  

“If I keep doing the same thing for too long, I feel like I am dying,” Vilató says. “It’s not about the medium, but the learning. I need to jump from one thing to another thing.

“The good thing is that I keep learning from everything.” 

Jacob Vilató
The crowd at Moreau Paris watching Jacob Vilató at work.

Vilató’s architectural background also plays a role in his mind’s eye, but his right brain often leads the charge.  

“The art influenced the architecture instead of the other way around,” he notes. “The way I learn to analyze in architecture, a shadow here, a line there, I draw from that.”

He applied that skill set to the Moreau Paris bag he chose for the live painting, mulling over colors and brushing before letting his creative juices flow.  

“Art comes from fear of death, so every second counts. When one year has passed and it feels like three, that’s feeling alive,” Vilató says. 

Once a date is set for the charity event that includes his bag, Vilató will return to Houston. Until then, he encourages people to engage with art, regardless of who created it or when. 

“Art is as social as language,” Vilató says. “Everybody has something to say. Art is for everybody.”

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