Friday, May 01, 2009

Art Space Talk: Catalina Viejo (Part 1)

Catalina Viejo has a strong interest in the portrait and its surroundings. In her paintings she emphasizes how important it is to introduce the figure in a challenging space. Catalina states that the space around the portrait is just as important as the portrait itself. Thus, she investigates the division of the painting surface and the relationships of the figure to pulsating color and pattern environments.

Catalina also creates collages. Either figurative or abstract, the collages adhere to the same rules of divisions and layering as her paintings. When combining collage with other mediums to create a figurative collage, she makes sure that all mediums on the piece emerge simultaneously to create a single balanced piece. Catalina states that she enjoys the immediacy she gets from the collages and the fact that they have helped her in the division of large and small ratios in her paintings.

Catalina has worked on a series of letter collages. Each letter is aimed at a very specific being. They vary from people, such as Letter to an Artist and Letter to Mama y Papa, to more abstract entities such as Letter to Barbara’s Womb or Letter to the Night. Just like any letter, Catalina thinks about what she desires to say and who she is saying it to. She states that she translates her feelings about the person, being or thing and the emotions that they express into a combination of shape and color. In other words, a letter to her lover will convey a very different type of excitement than a letter to her parents.

In the Light by Catalina Viejo

Brian Sherwin: Catalina, what can you tell us about your academic background concerning art? Did you study art formally? Tell us about your art studies in general-- any influential instructors?

Catalina Viejo: I went to Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. It is a very small school (less than 400 students) but that is what I loved about it, since you really developed a personal relationship with professors. All the professors there are great, all very different from one another so you just took a little bit from each and bloomed into your own work.
BS: Tell us about yourself. At what point did you gain an interest in creating visual art?
CV: I am originally from Spain and I went to school in Dublin, Ireland for many years. I then came to U.S for my Bachelors in Fine Arts. I’ve had an interest in creating art ever since I can remember. When I was really little I used to make drawings and paintings and sell them to my parents in order to earn some money. I stuck with making art ever since.

Alejandra by Catalina Viejo

BS: Can you tell us about your art? Give us some insight into the thoughts behind your art.

CV: I have two main bodies of work. My representational paintings and my abstract collages. I work on them pretty equally since each medium allows things to be said differently. The paintings tend to represent figures among environments that speak directly about them.

The abstract collage letters are a series of letters in which I think of a person or thing that I would like to write to. I think about what I want to say and translate those feelings into color. Literal words are replaced by little shapes of colored paper that I feel convey the thoughts just as well as words would.

David by Catalina Viejo

BS: Can you discuss your process in general? Are there any specific techniques that you utilize?

CV: For the paintings I use many many layers to achieve depth within the paintings. I will sometime use photoshop to modify compositions and placement of objects.

In the abstract collages I cut and glue each little shape by hand. It is very time consuming, but there is something very therapeutic about it. I tend to use papers that I find on the ground. That way they already have a history to them that can be incorporated in the letter.

To read Part 2 of my interview with Catalina Viejo click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

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