One of the many things I love about Lina Puerta's work is her unique blend and balance between what almost seems like a collaboration between a utopia and apocalyptic alternate world or landscape. Her work has a quality of being from both the future and the past, escaping that definition of time and place into her own wonderful otherness.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? Did you grow up in an artistic family?
I grew up in Colombia and even though my parents were quite supportive of my artistic inclinations, I didn’t think of Art as a suitable profession. When I returned to the USA and attended college is when I realized I wanted to be an artist.
My mother, discovered art late in life and created wonderful woodcarvings in the last decade of her life. My father also had a great sense of design and was passionate about art and architecture. I had an uncle who would draw compulsively; I remember his room being covered in his work from floor to ceiling. He was an amazing outsider artist and a great inspiration and influence in my life.
You use a lot of re-purposed materials, how do you find the materials you use? Is there a certain quality that draws you to them or special meaning and purpose behind the materials you choose?
I choose materials, mostly intuitively and also that relate to fashion, femininity, body adornment and domesticity. I also am attracted to vintage items.
Many materials I simply find on the street. I also was able to source materials through my 2014 art residency with Materials for the Arts. Occasionally, I may buy in the fashion district if I am looking for something specific.
Has there ever been a material that you wanted to use that just didn't work out?
I am stubborn and hate waste, so there have been materials that I have tried and disliked using, but I forced myself to follow through with them, until the art piece is completed. It almost becomes a battle, where I refuse to give up on it. So what happens is I simply try to avoid that particular material. For instance, when I’ve used fiberglass, I hate handling it, it’s itchy and it gets everywhere, I only use it if there’s no better alternative.
You also aren't shy about using things like insect wings in your work, where did that inspiration come from? How do you gather those materials?
The works with insect wings started on one of my visits to my family’s country home in Colombia. As I found dead insects in and around the house, I started to save some that seemed interesting by placing them on a tray for mere visual enjoyment. The following year, when I returned to visit Colombia, my aunt had liked the idea and continued saving and collecting many of them. I noticed some of the insect wings were formed as netting, similar to that of lace, which I frequently use in my work. This is when I decided to incorporate the insect wings into my work, by creating collages combined with lace and gouache.
One of the things I love about your work is that your aesthetic comes through multiple mediums, be it work on paper to large installations, is there a process that you've always wanted to learn or inspires you in others work?
I am curious and love experimenting with other art processes and techniques. I have been very fortunate in the last couple of years, that I've had the opportunity through residencies like the Arts/Industry Kohler, Lower East Side Print Shop and Dieu Donne, where I was provided with the support and resources to delve into mediums that were completely new to me. I would love to create videos. I have clips, photos and ideas that hopefully I will at some point in the future bring to reality. The only process that I am scared of to death is performance :) --I am way too shy for it.
As a maker of objects, how do you feel about the complex issue of how we as artists are contributing to even more consumerism (all be in on a different scale obviously, but how the Art World contributes and is connected?)
To me art is much more than an object or commodity. It is an important manifestation/ expression that must come in contact with an audience and have a place in society. The art market does however, commercialize art in grotesque way, however, we all need the market to survive and as long as you keep a balance and don’t sell your soul to the devil, it is absolutely fine and to some degree necessary to be part of the market.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self a bit of advice about your artistic career, what would it be and why?
I would say to myself, don’t get discouraged keep going. Everything comes at the right moment. You are very talented believe in yourself J.
Do you have any favorite female artists?
Olga de Amaral
Berlinde De bruyckere
Do you have any shows or events coming up that you'd like to share?
To learn more about Lina Puerta and her amazing work, please visit her website: http://www.linapuerta.net/