A Venezuelan born in 1947 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US. Rafael Barrios studied Fine Arts in Canada, the United States, and Venezuela. His artistic trajectory dates back to a very early age. He took drawing and painting at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas, Venezuela, achieving his first recognition with the award "National Youth Painting" in 1963. Upon completing his basic studies in Venezuela and Canada, he received a scholarship from J. Walter Thompson International to attend the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada, graduating with honors in "Pure Art" and "Communication and Design".
He received a scholarship from New York University (US) to attend its Graduate Program for "Fine Arts" and "Monumental Sculpture Techniques".
He was granted several national and international awards: "The Sculpture Award", Ernesto Avellán Exhibition; the McLean Foundation Scholarship, the highest award offered by the Ontario College of Art, Canada; the "Excelentísima Diputado Pronvicial de la Frontera" Decoration, for his Monumental Sculpture titled "Tercer Horizonte", to commemorate 500 years of America's Discovery, in Palos de la Frontera, Huelva, Spain; "Second Prize" at the Sofia Imber Caracas Contemporary Museum's Biennial of Visual Arts, in Venezuela; the "Conferry Award", First Sculpture Biennial, Francisco Narváez Contemporary Art Museum, Margarita Island, Venezuela; "Artist of the Year '95", Etiqueta Magazine, Caracas, Venezuela; Decoration by Carupano Township, in Sucre State, Venezuela.
Throughout his career as an artist, Rafael Barrios has worked as Art Director for UNESCO; as Creative Consultant for "Latin Touch" cinematographic creations; as Stage Designer for Chris Von Wangenheim in Vogue and Esquire magazines, in New York, US. He was a Professor of Three-Dimensional and Advertising",at the Neumann Design Foundation, in Caracas, Venezuela; Stage Designer for "DanzaHoy"'s presentation in Expo-Sevilla, Spain; and Stage Designer for Hervé Leger in his "Carrouselle du Louvre" show, in Paris, France.
Rafael Barrios plays with shapes, altering the laws of geometry, fabling volume in space. His sculptures are characterized by breaking orthodox directionality, accessing new possibilities of perception.
Vertiginous elevations cause his virtual works to seemingly erect upon themselves, defying the laws of space, alleviating bodies that should be subject to gravity. Rafael Barrios' works are identifiable by a set of dynamics, levity, strength, and magnetism, which is imprinted on each individual creation in order to reach the beholder's spirit.