1) Hello Huaika and welcome to ARTiculAction. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://happylabsantateresa.art in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Your journey in the world of Visual Arts started in the field of Fashion Design: you studied History of Art for two years in Rome, and after having worked as a flight attendant, you moved to Costa Rica, where you have had the chance to study classical art, pre-Columbian art and you also developed personal artistic techniques. You later obtained the certificate in Modern Art from the prestigious MOMA of New York City, as well as a Certificate in Roman Architecture from Yale University: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does the multifaceted nature of your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?
1) Thanks to ARTiculaction for giving me the opportunity to reflect on my creative path and to give voice to my thoughts. The training, as you have well described, shows a not linear and direct trajectory, but above all multifaceted. I believe that these characteristics are today one of my strengths. This long and varied preparation period helped to create my own personal language. At the same time as my study, my maturation and experiences also influenced this evolution. Undoubtedly the Italian origins, fashion, studies and work experiences have shaped that substratum you speak of. Today, my research in the artistic field, in its simplicity, focuses on space-time travel, from which I derive a living dimension where logic and the irrational meet. Furthermore, the continuous desire to improve artistically causes me a feeling of constant dissatisfaction that leads me more and more to deepen the knowledge of my interiority in search of the deepest and most true chords.
2) The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ARTiculAction —and that our readers have already had the chance to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently use such powerful combination of realistic elements and unique surrealistic sensitiveness, to highlight the connection between the realm of spirituality and material world: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you develop your ideas? In particular, do you create your works intuitivelly, instinctively? How important are improvisation and spontaneity in your practice?
The first stage of the creative process is pure intuition and chaos, pure creativity and emotions spontaneously trace the lines and foundations. This is followed by a period of incubation, of study of the composition, message and symbols. The realization proceeds in parts and is oriented to bring order. Often the depicted reality is distorted to serve the concept or to create unusual associations. I combine elements of the classics of art by creating new connections of ideas in a visionary language, where a spiritual and dreamlike realm joins the material world … probably as you say, with a personal surrealistic sensitivity.
3) Your artworks are marked out with such sapient combination between rigorous sense of geometry and precise choice of tones, that — as the stimulating Betesda Angél — provide your works with recognizable visual identity: how do you structure your process in order to achieve such brilliant results? In particular, how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in your artworks?
3) The use of the term wise when describing color in my works surprises me, I confess I have fearful respect mixed with devotion for how the greats use color … I am thinking of the vibrant notes of the Impressionists or of Leonardo’s nuance.
In front of the immense potential of color, I become paralyzed, it is a means of emotional expression and a basic tool for construction. In many works I was inspired by the colors used in Roman wall painting, inside the famous Pompeian domus, elegant combinations that identify my Roman origins and help me divide the spaces into often bi or tripartite bands. As in the MMXX series. In the specific case of the Angel of Betesda, on the other hand, I harmoniously combined cold colors with gold and in the background soft references to the sunsets of Playa Santa Teresa, the place where I live in Costa Rica.
4) We definetely love the way Victory in faith and L’Arca features such stunning combination between realistic elements and such unique reminders to the spiritual, almost dreamlike dimension. Scottish artist Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic work of arts are derived more from within the head than from what’s out there in front of us, how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production?
4) As Peter Doig rightly quotes, painting is a mental act even when the real world is represented and in my opinion it is doubly so when it represents the imaginary or the dreamlike. Victory of faith is a triptych from 2019/20, in the central panel a spiritual scenario dominates. The artist is represented sleeping, behind her strange characters populate the darkness, ancestral, zoomorphic, monstrous figures, below Salvador Dalì. The sheets are an ocean and the pillow a lover in a different reality. The virgin of Guadalupe dominates the central space with her back to the observer, while she turns her gaze to a multitude of beings of all times, as the living hourglasses show us. Bizarre of my subconscious with a spiritual message to find a meaning to the events of life through the mysteries revealed in the Bible, as in the Ark, where we see a strong Moses drag the Ark over his shoulder during the flood that happens inside a glass of whiskey. The alien spaceship is alive and appears to have a temporal purpose.
I believe that these descriptions are a clear example of the interplay between reality and imagination in my artistic production.
5) We have particularly appreciated your sapient use of peculiar iconographic symbolism, that — especially in the interesting Thinking of You and The Room — evokes the ubiquitous connection between Past and Present: how do you consider the role of symbols and metaphors in your creative process? In particular, are you interested in creating works of art with marked allegorical features?
5) The values that move my choices of freedom, equality, faith, rights, social processes or human coexistence are represented as visions loaded with iconographic symbols or metaphors that help me to reconnect and recognize events that have marked the past and attribute meaning to facts described. In particular, in Thinking of you I have placed next to the personification of the tide painted as a beautiful woman in blue robes a Neptune that refers to the emblematic statue attributed to Bartolomeo Ammannati. Medusa’s face appears on the treasure map, staring at the observer and revealing a disenchanted message “U Fucked Up!” It is she who denounces the environmental emergency that threatens our planet, marine pollution.
Also in the painting The Room from the elaboration of a personal theme gives rise to a social theme on the figure of the woman. Set in a Roman domus, the wall deforms like a thin sheet while a marble pillar forms the basis of the vision of Hercules depicted with 3 daggers instead of legs. The woman is represented with a restless gaze as she talks on her cell phone, fragility and generating force. The composition has an unbalanced structure … the room is empty inside and the action takes place at its entrance, where music by Mozart plays and the mask falls and catches fire.
The woman has always embodied an ideal of beauty that too often is made available to a hungry society, attentive only to her appearances and often indifferent to her potential.
6) Some of your works, as the extremely stimulating Prediction MMXX and Equilibrio Complicato conveys such ambivalent and in a certain sense unsettling ambience, able to raise a wide variety of feelings and emotions. Through such seductively ambiguous visual language, we daresay that your artistic production aims to urge the spectatorship to a participative effort, to realize their own interpretation. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers’ imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?
6) In the Prediction MMXX canvas, the world described is presented in an enigmatic way. Classical architectures, animals, astronauts and aliens stage a structural tangle that complicates the logic of the discourse and perhaps escapes the distracted observer, forcing the viewer to make an effort to interpret the intentions of the message.
It is due to a conscious strategy that paradoxically obeys a tension or rather a feeling of joy called hope that in the uncertainty of the future pushes me forward on our path. And so, references to classical art embody the past, astronauts ready to travel to Mars our present and biblical elements or monstrous aliens in a hypothetical future.
In the canvas a “Complicated balance”, the theme is love … that energy that starts from within our being, runs through the bones and reaches the head in the metaphysical construction of its complicated balances.
Through my artistic work, I have the opportunity to cross my safety zones, ride parallel or incredible dimensions and elaborate and perhaps understand the meaning of life, human events or myself.
It is vital for me to stimulate the observer’s thought to involve him and thus create a bond that unites us in the dimension of the painting … however, I want to clarify, with no desire to impose but only to share a journey.
7) You are a versatile artist and your artistic production challenges the logic of ordinary perception, unveiling the connection ancient cultural heritage and contemporary scenarios: how do you consider the relationship between Past and Present playing within your artistic research? In particular, do you aim to create a bridge between Tradition and Contemporariness?
7) Historia Magistra Vitae, teaches me that the future cannot be separated from the past and there is no future if we empty it of values and lived experiences. My artistic research aims to make different worlds coexist and combines elements that our logic does not naturally allow us to link together. I enjoy creating temporal dilations: past, present and future, in the constrained space of a few cm like On The road, a canvas of only 40 cm where there is a depiction of a Roman era temple supported by columns with human capitals that witnesses an event delusional set on the street. In fact, a living alien spaceship is hit by the stone head of a Moai monolith which in turn takes the form of a white horse. Symbols of life and mysterious characters, they protect a secret perhaps hidden in the words of SATOR or Pompeian latercolo… a scenario in full harmony with the poetry of the incredible that distinguishes my production.
8) Your artistic production reflects such unique convergence between real world and the dreamlike realm: how does your memories and your everyday life’s experience fuel your creative process?
8 I live in Costa Rica, on a paradisiacal beach framed by the tropical jungle, a perfect place to study, meditate and get in touch with your inner world and the past. And for me an ideal space to create because it puts me in contact with nature and the deepest energies … it is a context very far from the chaotic life of everyday human living. Everything I create feeds on my inner and spiritual feeling in contact with the cultural and historical experiences that have formed me.
9) You are an established artist and you you recently had your first international painting exhibition in the virtual gallery of Heclecthik-Art Portugal: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?
9) As previously mentioned I live in a place on the edge of reality and I owe a lot to the global
audience of social platforms.
This is how I had the opportunity to exhibit virtually with Heclecthik-Art Gallery Portugal, to participate in the Cosmosis exhibition of The Holy Art London, to take part in the July 2021 edition of Marvelous Art Gallery and finally to join the COCA project 2021 the center of contemporary artists who have selected me and offered me the opportunity to appear with a page dedicated to me on their web site.
I am in tune with my network audience
and happy to be present thanks to the media, in the contemporary art scene… .but I would like a more direct relationship with the public and be physically present with my works in art galleries.
10) We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Huaika. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?
10) Thanks again for the interesting conversation. Currently I have opened an online shop https://shop.happylabsantateresa.art/collections/all
where the public can buy pencil, charcoal and watercolor drawings inspired by classical art, the acanthus leaves of the capitals of ancient columns come to life and tell fantastic stories, the collection is called Fantastic Classic.
Also available are Mini Oil Paintings on small teak panels that describe Melancholia through photographic portraits.
… And as far as the future is concerned, I am full of ideas and projects to carry out, but above all I intend to do what I love: painting, drawing and creating.
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