Monday, 2 May 2011

So much to do and so little time Part 2

As I was also offer a place to exhibit at the Some books are to be tasted show... I made new work and I wanted to show the process from the beginning to the end.

Bogotá is the city I was born in and i hate it and love it. I have to be grateful to it for many things but specially for being my regular source of inspiration. It's hard to live here I can tell you, but you find beautiful things in the everyday.
On the streets of my city there are plenty of people selling of sort of things in order to make a living. Some of them carry battered wooden boxes full of colorful sweets and snacks that fill every single corner of the busy neighborhoods.

They look to me like people selling stores all contained and squeezed in the little uneven compartments. I stole they're improvised aesthetic to create a portable box that contains my story. No, I didn't steal it, I'm inspired by them.

Dad and Mr Luna

My dad knows an amazing craftsmen that made my box exactly the way I wanted it and even more. His name is Hernando Luna, he is a real artist and when we visited his workshop I loved naturally beautiful chaos of it.

Based on the tea boxes he normally makes, he created a pine wooden box for my oh so very artistic purposes.

Tea box

y box is a a much deeper and larger square (45 x 45 x 5 cm) and this is how it looked when finished by Luna

After that I must confess I let ideas get marinated for a while after doing anything to the box itself. It was hard to think what kind of story was containing the box, why was going to be a book, why was just a canvas and the content the meaning...

It was important for me to have a strong presence of color without having defined lines; thus creating a whole with blocks of shades and tones that would make the image itself. I piled papers to create this blocks of color but I didn't get the results I wanted, it looked poor and empty. So I used little cardboard boxes that fitted in the empty spaces of the box creating interesting spaces and little architectures within that where ready to fill up with color.

Now, so I could visualize the image within, but I wanted a meaningful image. I haven't recently been taking much pictures but my dad has and his always fascinated with the way the city is surrounded by the mountains and how they sort of mutate depending on the weather, the light etc. The picture I chose was took on one particularly sunny day, one of those we haven't had in a long time since the whole country is enduring terrible weather, rains and floods.
This was my chosen picture for the colorful box

It was a whole process where I consciously fought against making a criticism about the current state of the city

And based on it I created the color palette for the box' image

I continued painting the little cardboard boxes and even though the box was beautiful to me I always felt it looked raw. I was told it would be really hard to paint it so at first I didn't dear to do anything but after much thinking and observation I varnished it with this two product that I'm not very sure how to translate:

Handcrafted wax and patina

This, I think, gave it a lot more character despite looking a bit battered and not perfectly painted. But I think that was the original idea.
While drying up I kept painting my little boxes which bit by bit deconstructed the original image within the limited space of the big box. In the morning this is how it looked like:

It was time to decide whether all the elements where working fine or not. Content and concept sounded a bit disconnected so I wrote a little story that would give a more coherent connection between image and box:

In spanish:

A veces salía el sol y entonces caminaba por los techos y las baldosas,
buscaba rescatar el verde que peliaba por florecer.
No había mucho por rescatar, pero el conjunto de colores hacía la vista
de alguna manera agradable
"Hay que sobrevivir aquí, hay que inventar una historia antes de que anochezca"
se decía a sí mismo y seguía saltando, buscando ganarle a la puesta de sol.

In english:

Sometimes the sun came out and then walked through the roof and tiles,
seeking to rescue the green that fought to blossom.
There was not much to rescue, but all the colors looked somehow nice
"You have to survive here, you have to invent a story before dark"
he said to himself and kept jumping, looking to beat the sunset.

So that's the story of the box, a travelling, deconstructed painting that tells a short story about a place in Bogotá, a book-box that is open but can't be touched and it reveals nothing more than what it's showing.

The city is the story (itinerant)
La ciudad es la historia (ambulante)
at the Some books are to be tasted exhibition


  1. Hi there Carito

    I think I visited your website in the past but it has disappeared now from the internet ??

    I clicked on the link in the somethinkcollective web page.

    I am enjoying reading your blog and am wondering how you are getting along there. I mean as an artist trying to continue to be creative in Bogota ??

    Tell us how you are doing even if it is not so good - we do care to know your story.

    Currently I am working on a hard project making an edition of artists books . So much gluing together and stitching ugh pretty boring !!

    best wishes

    Aine Scannell

  2. dear aine
    thanks so much for your lovely message.
    I must apologize for abandoning both my website (I'm changing my service provider) and my blog. My only excuse is that my new job and some personal commitments have been taking most of my time. But now that I'm trying to have better time management skills I'm finally publishing some drafts I had for a while, I hope you like them. Is so nice to know that someone checks my blog.
    I must say I also checked your website and you do wonderful things.

    As for my new life in Bogota I have to tell you is still pretty hard to get use to but some good things have come along too. Still, my heart is in England ;)

    Hope your book is going great.

    Keep in touch