Friday, November 10, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Studio Visit with Contemporary Mexican Artist Laura Villareal - Mixed Media Brilliance!

Recently, I had the pleasure of a visiting the studio of Laura Villarreal at her beautiful Allapattah, Miami studio/work space - yes, really beautiful - not messy, you would be happy living there. I first discovered her work in an apartment in Long Island City, NY and was happy to learn that she resided in Miami.  During the west of Wynwood locations' open studio tour I met Laura and was introduced to her stunning combination of paintings, textile pieces and many other mixed media incorporations.  
Just a small fraction of her working and presentation space is featured below with all of its unique decor and if you would like to see more in person, be sure to visit the Pinta Art Fair (@pintamiami) in Wynwood December 60-10, 2017.
Where are you from originally? Reside now?
I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and have lived in the USA since 1998. First
North Carolina, then New York City and Miami, FL since 2001.
Artist Laura Villareal
When did you first begin perusing art? When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I always wanted to be an artist and started my formal education when I moved to the USA.

If you were not an artist what would you be?
If I weren’t an artist I would not be me.
I’ve noticed you have formal education degrees and accomplishments, which series of education do you feel was exceptionally valuable?
My studies at UNC-Chapel Hill gave me the base for my pictorial education. And
later my master at the University of Barcelona was a perfect compliment to my
Studio Art Education. I see art as a whole, and I love to learn every aspect of it.

When did you truly feel like an artist? I feel that way everyday, it surrounds me in everything I do. When I had my first solo show. My first solo show was in Miami in 2001.
What do you love most about painting?
The freedom it gives you and the joy you are able to spread with it. It helps me
connect with myself and the ability to give that possibility to other people through
my art.

Regarding your mediums; I notice paint, fabric, transfers, cardboard and I’m sure many others?
I see a possibility everywhere I look, some times the hard thing is to limit my self
and do the job. I could wander around materials all day.

How do you describe your style?
That’s a hard one. I paint what I see outside, in the world. But all this observation
goes into a personal process of transformation that results in a painting or a collage or any aesthetic result.

Tell us about your works and what you are developing?
I am working on Imaginary Universes, utopia proposals of perfect worlds.
What inspires your current body of work? What is the thought and inspiration behind them?
The focus of my work is the human being with its recurrent feelings and perception of reality. Both of these elements enable me to open myself into a process that results in an urban vision plagued of imaginary beings that come to life in my work. Painting and embroidery are my means of expression; with them I grasp a piece of my life as a child, creating a sense of longing and rebellion against my perception of injustice built upon our own selves and others.
Loneliness, joy, imperfection, anxiety, love and fear are some of the forces driving my work. A work that is inspired by children’s innocent expression, that lacks the need for the approval and perfection that as an adult awaits me every day of my life.”
Who were your favorite or most influential artists growing up?
I love the powerful work of Basquiat and the balance of the soft and sharp work of Louise Bourgeoise.

You mentioned you are a big Tracey Emin fan, why?
I just love the force she puts in creating art awareness and how her work can be
pretentious and appeal to mass culture as well. She is not afraid.

Which other artists do you gravitate to?
I would say I love the work of Damian Ortega and Gabriel Orozco, and
even though their work is amazing, maybe it is just for longing of my Mexican
What do you want people to understand or take away from your art?
I want them to have an emotion, no matter what it is. For them to look at it and
have something to say.
Do you ever get frustrated and give up on a piece?
I just tore apart a fabric piece I had been working on for weeks. When something is going no where you have to be courageous and let it go. By the way, the feeling was great!

How tough is your inner critic to deal with?
I am very hard on myself, I aim for perfection and that drains me.
Do you ever ask for constructive criticism or advise from others?
Yes I do, you have to have tough skin to take it. Sometimes it is not what you want to hear.

What is / was your most favorite piece completed so far? Which piece are you most proud of?
Now I am in love with the fabric collages and the possibilities they give me. I feel
they are an honest expression of my deepest feelings.
Of all the galleries and museums you have shown in, what was your most
accomplished or favorite exhibit?
Each one of them is exciting and challenging in every way, but one of my favorite
shows was in Mexico where I showed my Lucha Libre series. Going back to
Mexico after so many years abroad and going back to my roots to show my work
was priceless.
What are your future plans for upcoming shows, galleries, special exhibits, etc.?
I just showed my work at Ch.ACO in Santiago, Chile and will be showing at Pinta
Miami this coming December.

If you could collaborate with another artist – ANYONE (no limits) in the world for a painting or project who would it be?
Louise Bourgeoise, you said no limits!
What are your favorite pastimes when not creating art?
That is a hard one, in my mind I am always creating. I have to drift away from it by reading or playing with my kids. Otherwise, my mind is just going and going.

Music is big with us artists, what type of music do u listen to while creating?
I love music in Spanish, just plain pop. But living in Miami you can’t escape from
Reggaeton, and Guns & Roses is still a fave.

If you could have dinner with one or two people, dead or alive who would they be and why?
Mary Magdalene to hear her story and Robert Rauschenberg, to hear about his
creative process.
Be sure to catch Laura at the Pinta Art Fair December 6-10, 2017 in Wynwood - Miami, FL and learn more about the artist by following here: 
and on these social media sites: Instagram @lauravillarrealart and 
Facebook Laura Studio