How did you start painting? Is there a story behind it?
I think since I was very little, I liked to draw, but I started painting at 14 when an aunt gave me a box with acrylic painting. That was the first time I got in touch with a little more professional materials. Then i got brushes and a good paper, and I started. Then when I went to the university I chose Painting as my major, and I continued doing it more professionally.
In your paintings you use very bright and bold tones. How did you choose your palette?
I enjoy strong colors in general, I like the pure bright colors, they are very direct and fresh. And when I paint human figure I like to get certain effects, like glossy and oily skin, so many colors come out to give that feeling. I also work with grays and ochres, but they are functional to enhance the vivid colors. But also I got this palette because my earliest art referents where the pre-renaissance flemish masters, and Latin American Colonial painting, which used mostly frontal light, not so many shades, and very vivid colors. I think I started to like this kind of painting because the Christmas cards that people used to send in the 90´s, with many religious artworks that I met by chance, and many of these had this very vibrant colors.
Is there anything particular you wish viewers to see and feel in your paintings? Or is it more about your relationship to your work?
I always say that visual arts are visual messages, so the communication between any artwork and the viewers it has to happen. And I think every painting I make is connected to some sensation, or to a concept rather than a “message”. Some might be erotic, weird, decorative or awkward to see, but in general I paint images, so it is very easy for viewers to see or feel something, because all the elements I paint are very recognizable, and mostly human figure. But I’m not sure if I wish viewers see something in specific, but for sure they are gonna see of feel something. Anyways many of my personal concerns and my concept of beauty are there.
Your queer identity is a strong part of your art practice, how did you navigate it coming from one of the most conservative provinces in Chile?
I’m a very political person. I think when I was living in my hometown I realized about all injustice that LGBT people have to go through to be themselves in a traditional and conservative environment. I guess that kept in my subconsciousness. And now that just come out very naturally, I can’t even control it too much. When I plan any painting I just engage in the imagery and aesthetic that I understand more, and I feel more connected with, so I just let be all the queer elements might appear. But it was stronger at the beginning because I started to make exhibitions with the portraits I did of Chilean Drag Queens, and I was displaying them during 2010 and 2011, and after that I continued with some of that thematic, but now I changed to male portrait, which is still in a very queer key in the way I do.
Moving to China- How did that happen?
In 2011 I awarded a scholarship for Master’s degree in China, in the China Academy of Art, in Hangzhou. I spent there 4 years, and when I graduated I moved to Shanghai and stayed there 3 years more.
You are both an artist/art historian and a language teacher. What are some of the challenges being an artist and having also a ‘real’ job’?
The main challenge is the time to create. Having a job where I have to leave my place during the whole day and come back late doesn’t help. In those conditions it is very hard to make new artworks and develop new ideas in a proper way. Other challenges is the networks I have to do. As a language teacher many people know me in China, and I usually get a lot of offers there for tutoring people, but is not happening to me as an artist. So I have to focus on putting more efforts in my artistic career.
Why did you choose Belgrade? Did you find your inspiration?
First of all, I wanted to try how is living outside of Asia and Latin America, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. In addition, I have been always very curious and interested in slavic cultures and languages, and Belgrade has a lot to be discovered yet. Belgrade is also not a cliché in Europe like Paris, Barcelona or Berlin, with the due respect to those places, but at least for me, this time I wanted to explore another kind of place.
And yes, I have found a lot of inspiration, I have met many people, I have lived the daily life here, and I have learnt a lot about the country and language. Belgrade has very nice museums, and a very interesting underground scene too.
What other projects do you have on your agenda for the rest of 2019?
During August I’m going to participate in an artist residency in Macedonia, and after that I think I’m gonna find some galleries to exhibit what I have done during the year.
Your message to artists coming to Belgrade in the future?
I encourage people to learn the language, at least some notions, in order to feel more involved in the city, and get more of the local spirit. People here are very friendly, and I think when someone is able to learn the language of a place, is a step forward than a simple tourist.