Junior Portfolio Review
I have always been “fond of the word”, one could say. Literature and philosophy are where I feel comfortable, where I can use words to create images and develop concepts. But what happens with those things I cannot say? To me, both ceramics and photography are media of communication for those ineffable things. In both I feel like I can say what cannot be said in words, showing what I find beautiful. Beauty can be found in many different ways and places, from flowers to animals, to even death and suffering. Other media, like drawing or painting, let me explore some other forms of communication, yet I still feel that in ceramics -especially- I can develop my own language to render this beauty in all its variety, fragility, strength, versatility, and ineffableness.
Linguistics, history, philosophy and nature are my greatest passions, and I like showing what I think of them through my art. Hegel said that a part of being a human is recognizing oneself as a human, and one can do it, he said, through theory and through practice, and art is the practice: the techne. To me, art goes even beyond just the practice. Art is a process of first experiencing, then thinking, understanding, and acting on this new knowledge acquired. Art, through the act of creation, is meta-comprehending that experience that initiated the process in the first place.
Sometimes my creations are discussions, dialogues with history or with myself. Sometimes they are just a way of emptying a flow of emotions or memories that are ineffable. If I have no words for describing something, then I feel a need for creating it. I like thinking for the sake of thinking; walking for walking’s sake; art for the sake of art.
What resources do you use for your ideas?
If there is a way of summarizing where do I take my ideas from, I would have to say they come from my interest in history and nature, and my passion for studying and researching. I love studying different cultures, their history, the ways they became what they are (or were), as well as with nature and its own history. Therefore, I am always reading about cultures and nature, always trying to find knowledge that may help me understand them. I try to find contemporary artists that are also interested in this topic, to see what they know about it and learn from them. My resources are normally books, museums themselves, and multimedia platforms like Instagram and DeviantArt.
What motivates you to make art?
Besides expressing what I cannot express with words, there are three main reasons why I make art: learning, teaching, and wondering. I have a natural passion for learning, and I am in constant need of finding new knowledge, but I also have a passion for showing this knowledge to people so they can learn as well. When humans learn and then teach they keep that sense of “wonder.” And wondering is what keep us interested in living. I believe art is the origin and end of “the flow of knowledge”, the different “subjects” or “studies.” From the capacity to observe, think, understand, rethink and create is that humans have developed new knowledge, and like that we know where we stand in the universe, in existence.
How do you use color, space, form, and other dynamics in your work?
I like representing things based on their own contexts. I do not think of my work as a continuous flow of a single development. To me, each of my “creations” is a separate, individual form, and therefore their colors, forms, dynamics and the way they use space have to be thought so they exist on their own paradigm, so they can stand on their own. If I paint flowers, they have to exist as flowers, with their colors, forms and the way the wind moves them, so they can use space as flowers do. If I sculpt a ballerina, I have to think of what kind of performance is she doing, so I know her clothes, colors, movements, the step she took before and the one she will take after. I cannot say I use these elements (color, space, form, etc.) in a single way, because it completely depends on what am I creating and what I want to show.
How do you view your craftsmanship?
To me, craftsmanship comes in two ways: process of production and skill of production. The first one is the work ethics of the artists (how engaged the artist is with crafting, from the moment of looking for new ideas, through planning the project, to creating). The second one refers to the skill in crafting (how well done is a certain technique done). I believe I have better craftsmanship in the first way than in the second. I came to the visual arts field from writing and philosophy, and I never had the opportunity to really push myself while creating visual arts -I never needed to. Before coming to St Edward’s I never really worked my skills in this area, I did draw a little bit, and I had encounters with building (my father loves to build things), but I never thought of becoming an artist. If I compare myself with other art students my age, I am far behind in the skills, but I am further away in the process. As a writer and an athlete, I develop a sense of work ethics that normally artists do not have. I can push myself to create something “out of thin air” while many of my peers need more time to think and analyze to then create.
What do you consider to be your strengths?
My biggest strength is the combination of my craftsmanship (process wise) and my critical thinking and ability to analyze. I work very well and I love learn while doing it. And since my motor for creating is my passion for learning, teaching and wondering, I cannot get tired while I am creating, leading myself into a good craftsmanship. It is a circular motion that keeps me creating.
Are there skills you feel need further development?
The ability to create a sense of 3D in a 2D technique. I know I lack this ability when compared to my peers, because I have never really worked on it as much as they have. But the good part is that through working I can get better.
How does your work relate to art historical precedents and contemporary trends?
The work I like to do is based on historical references. What I want my work to be is exactly that: a dialog with historical precedents. My work is historically-based. But concerning contemporary trends, I am not very happy with them in general. Many contemporary artists try to get away from historical precedents. So I guess my work can be thought as an antithesis to contemporary trends.
What are your expectations/goals for yourself over the next five years?
First, graduating from undergrad. Secondly, I would love to get into a Master program, but I am still not sure if into ceramics or art history. Then I would love to be able to get a PhD, but I guess that doesn’t really get into a five-years plan. But what may count would be becoming a university teacher, and hopefully while having my own ceramics studio so I can also work on my own art.