older entrepreneur

From an entrepreneurial point of view, one could say that it is one of those businesses that are undertaken alone from home. AT A is a virtual art gallery where Ataulfo ​​married Bustarviejo offered his paintings for sale. But it’s not exactly a one-man project, either, as ATA had collaborators who helped design the website, set up the online store, price the paintings, and even paint them.

The story of Ataulfo ​​​​​​Casado has been told many times. There is even a documentary film, “Ata, Painting Negro”, in which he expresses one of his obsessions: “It is that although I do not see the colors, the others will see them”. Therefore he distances himself from submissive viewers who, guided by compassion, might think that the painting was very beautiful, even if it is a churro. He wants them to be critical, sincere, and most importantly, warned if he’s still “bald,” which worries him a lot.

Before going blind, Ataulfo ​​Casado was initially a painter, a career in which he began to excel at an early age. At the age of 17 he became the youngest copyist in the Prado Museum and shared this privilege with a few other artists, “all very kind and charming to me, but let’s see none of them would live to be 50.”

“I was successful”

From that moment on, painting became his main source of income. He sold replicas of the Prado to many foreigners and then plunged into the world of exhibitions and galleries, sometimes being the sole author and managing to sell everything. “Yes, I was successful,” he says bluntly.

At the age of “40 years and one month”, at a consultation on Calle Toledo in Madrid, he was told that he was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, which would leave him blind. “I soon accepted it, but my mother didn’t. The worst part was telling her. Don’t be careful son, you won’t go blind. You can’t go blind. Look how you are studying with so many orders”, was the mother’s first reaction.

But it wasn’t long before the doctor was right and a few days later after checking his watch that “it was 2 minutes before Angelus time when I looked up I started seeing everything grey”.

The illness meant a break of more than 10 years in his career. “I could only paint, I couldn’t do anything else.” Until one day, the “12. October,” he got bored of remembering things. He commissioned his friend Inocencio Villegas to buy him some wood, a conglomerate of paints, some brushes and some paintbrushes and he once again found himself in front of the canvas. When the painting was finished, he asked Villegas for his opinion, “but don’t come up to me with the poor little blind man. I want the truth”. And the answer was: “I love it, what could be more interesting. Please keep painting.”

Since then, ATA has been painting while he is signing his paintings with an assistant whom he indicates mixing colors or asks him to show him the utensils. He paints from memory, from the images he has kept from the 40 years that he has been able to see and with which he has always known how to “consider and appreciate the beauty that surrounded me. Look not only with your eyes, but also with your heart,” he reveals.

The Entrepreneur Chapter

On January 27th, ATA receives a special mention in the election of the winners of the second edition of the +50 Emprende Awards organized by Generación SAVIA and the production company 02:59 Films. The jury gave him the commendation “for his exemplary perseverance, his enthusiasm and the quality of his pictures”.

The online shop to sell his paintings was launched just before confinement. It’s not like sales are “rocketing in the middle of a pandemic to see who’s thinking of buying paintings.”

But the lack of income does not deter him, because neither the Internet nor the mechanics of the market are his thing. However, he sees himself as a born entrepreneur in the sense that no matter how bad things get, “you always have to keep going”, and to the extent that an entrepreneur wants to add value to society. “I’ll be honest, I’ve always painted to make others happy and to help people. I do it through painting”.

Thanks very much

On January 14, Ataulfo ​​Casado turned 73 years old. His story, more than pharmacological knowledge, is filled with thanks and names of people who have been important throughout his life. As the list is long, we will only mention a few: Don Teófilo, the school teacher “who taught me to speak in a medium tone, to ask for things and to say thank you and to respect all people”, doña Teresa , the woman from Don Teófilo, “who prepared a delicious rice pudding”, to the neighbors of his house in Madrid, “who encouraged me to take part in the El Corte Inglés painting competition and I won, I don’t know if 3 or 4 years in a row”, to Curro, “who convinced me to apply for the National Prize for Painting organized by the Falange and I won it”, to the Association of Nativity Artists, to the School of Arts and Crafts in La Palma Street the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, to «my extraordinary friend» Inocencio Villegas, to the young woman who is now helping him paint, «she is very clever», to Santiago and above all «to my mother who gave him the Epiphany gave my first block and color box at 3 years old».