Argentinian artist Estela Cuadro’s artwork invites the viewer in with it’s explosion of color and surreal dream like atmosphere. Where do these gorgeous renditions initiate from? We had the opportunity to ask Estela about her inspirations and workflow in this Artist Spotlight.
Where in Argentina where you born? Where do you live now?
I born in Buenos Aires, were I live nowadays
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I began to connect with art when I was five years old. But I really want to be and dedicate myself to the art from fourteen years ago.
Since then I try and spend time learning and doing art works.
Did you have any formal art training?
When I was five years old I started drawing in a ordinary place where I took my first steps and I learned there technical knowledge.
Everything was constructed there. I had to use millimeter grids and I had to made copies.
I remember I was very young then and that was pleasant for me at that moment. While I did not realize I was not doing the best I could there, I was not using all my imagination.
They give us copies which were made in a laser photocopier. Then, a grid is placed over and I had to fill boxes in other scale. This experience proved me something very important which is that my parents always take me where I could learn what I want. When I was four years old I left classical dance classes and my mother took me to this studio. Although it was very hermetic, I could introduce myself in the art world since I was young and I learned a lot of things from different painters, from books of art and in other ways. I consider that it is very important to help children to continue doing activities they like. You will have positive results later because you will get many tools for your work.
I met Silvia Mato’s studio. She was an important guide for me. She drives me to recall my sensorial side from places I had never worked before. Silvia Mato also helps me to understand my body language, the energy and many other things. Turning all that into my drawings.
If you weren’t an artist what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I love art in general, not only painting, also music, dance, theater, writers.
How would you describe your style of artwork?
If I had to define myself as an art style, I find it difficult. Perhaps I associate more with the surreal art, my characters, settings and everything I create has nothing to do with reality, but its the distortion that I love do.
The reality is part of my inspiration, my contact and experience with her too. But their difference attracts me to paint it into a game.
My artworks are based on the unconscious and then generate relationships and things not thought so far. They are associated with my dreams, relationships, life itself.
What medium do you use to paint / illustrate?
I used a lot of techniques, like pencil, small coal, oil. Specially when I was young. Nowadays I like to use more than one techniques at the same time, and make a different result. I use India ink with salt, and I let them act freely on the support. I use other things to generate texture, and I use oil painting, pencils and pens to realize details.
How do you begin work on a new piece of artwork? What inspires you?
When I start a new art work, I used to use an special cardboard that allows the pigments and water act in a special way. Giving textures, shapes, deformations and then let my imagination act freely. One of the things that inspire me is music. It always transpose me and my sensory part takes me to an inside world, introspective. It nourishes my imagination, it motivates me. Constantly leads me to paint many of my painting and I feel pleasure of that. I feel like I never want to stop doing this. It’s part of my lifetime.
Lúdico y Compañero
Many of your pieces could be categorized as exotic and primitive…examples being Encantamiento, El banquete and Magnético. Can you share with us the meanings behind these pieces of art in particular.
I think each work’s have something especial, they are part of my “games”, my pleasure. I feel that the important is feel total freedom without restriction and without much precise meaning. I like to leave the interpretation of each piece to each person, you can get carried away like I do in every piece of art.
Have you exhibited your artwork before? Where?
I did several exhibitions in Argentina and New York.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions? Where?
My next exhibition would be in Buenos Aires, Casa Nogal.
Serie Fela Kuti Tribute
If you were having a dinner party and could invite 3 people living or deceased, who would they be and why?
I´ll invite my grandmother, she taught me a lot about many things about life. In her way and how she could. She was a person full of love and happiness and my passion for plants today, I associate with her. And from them my creations, that have contact with organic forms, patterns with flowers.
Luis Alberto Spinetta, I love his music, his poem, and he was a great person with all the people and his family. He had something especial, his compositions, the lyrics to his songs, his unique poetry, his voice and his ability of expression makes me feel a great love for him.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, because his beautiful madness.
Who are your favorite artists? Why?
I love the art works of Frida Kahlo. She is an artist who I admire. She had a strong personality, her passions, her ideology and her deep love for Diego Rivera. All her art works were about her life and her pains. Her pain and her suffered was a big fighter in her life. She was very sensitive and despite of this she could do a lot of art works full of colors. Pablo Picasso, my admiration for him by his versatility. It’s amazing the amount of art works that came to do in his life, in my opinion I consider him as a genius. I love watching his videos and how he could turn an art work in other constantly. This is an example of I want to tell about his art:
Picasso´s art are in transformation constantly. In this videos you can see how his imagination can create from a flower, a fish and then a cock. Is great to me can learn about him and his form of changes. I love his work and admire him.
Amy Cutler, I like her imagination to tell things and levels of details. She creates characters completely, from their clothes, their expressions, their hairstyles , animals and landscapes.Paul Klee, the use of color palettes, his compositions, his details.Egon Schiele, his contact with the human body. His obsession for the expressions, postures, sexuality. He try to capture the sensuality of the women and men. Jean-Michel Basquiat, his expressiveness, his loose strokes, his liberty.
Estela in the studio
Do you have any advice for budding new artists in the world?
I would say that the passion about art, is to feel free, to have your mind open to all the things new that can appear. Every crisis is a new starting point and always the beginning of something new and not something that ends.