"I'd say that, like a kind of Don Quixote, I sought my identity by living in a large, abandoned water tank near the ocean."
Theus Alayo was born on June 24, 1955, on the Summer Solstice and day of the Inti Raymi, or "Sun Festival."
"I am self taught in painting and the understanding of art," he says. "Through art, I express a sensitivity toward beauty, and I inhabit a different world than most people. Therefore I left the city and, like a bird in flight, sought open spaces... beaches where I could find myself in the seagulls and the infinity of the sea. There I left behind my repression and, living alone, I paint, write and play music. It is something like a return to the past, trying to find oneself with an originality of form. This epoch is very evident in my paintings with the theme 'Flight' and in the deep mysticism of my 'Microteus' series.
"I'd say that, like a kind of Don Quixote, I sought my identity by living in a large, abandoned water tank near the ocean. I decided to think of it as a classroom, and experience the height and dimensions in a radius of six meters at an elevation of more than 30 meters. While I lived there, I identified with that tank in that it used to be a source of water, vital for the human being. For me, art is that vital element for my spirit's life. Without it, I could not live. So this is a place I will never forget - it is where I feel I became an artist. It is located at the site of an important ceremonial center dedicated to the pre-Hispanic deity Pachacamac. This made it possible for me to make the leap from the micro to the macro and to the cosmos itself."
Theus' life is filled with anecdotes as unusual as his paintings. One summer he improvised an open air gallery on the highway where vacationers passed by in their cars. Each Sunday he would stand there, trying to sensitize motorists on their way to the beach. "It was a marvelous experience in my life," he reminisces. "I met many art connoisseurs who are now my friends."
His works insinuate a latent eroticism interlaced with forms, color and composition, along with a sensation of freedom. Theus' commitment to nature is represented by birds and fish. Once, he painted a still life to be displayed in a Caribbean nations traveling exhibit. But nature had other plans. Hurricane Mitch affected the airline warehouse where the painting was stored, but his painting was miraculously saved. Today he keeps that work as his own and would never part with it.
Theus signs his name as TEO, followed by three lighting rods which he considers his trademark. They symbolize the energy in his art.
Theus has been painting since 1980 and has shown his work throughout Peru as well as in Medellin (1982), Seoul (1983, 1984), Havana (1984), Charleroi (Belgium, 1984), Sao Paulo (1985, 1987), Mexico City (1986), Bercamo (Italy, 1987), Shinoh Nodera (Japan, 1990), Oxford (England, 1991) and Washington D.C. (1991).