THE JOURNAL | Portrait Of An Artist With Odilia Suanzes
FOCUS ON | Odilia Suanzes
Be inspired this season by a portrait of an artist. We spoke to the Spanish artist Odilia Suanzes about her work and creativity.
1. How did you first get into art and sculpture?
Since I was very small, I have felt the necessity of immersing myself in my thoughts and creativity, spending hours drawing and making things forgetting about time and space. My family, also, have always allowed and encouraged me to follow my creative path. I had a very imaginative and open education that enhanced all these. Art slowly became a way of living, my inner philosophy. I did my BA in painting at City & Guilds of London Art School, but throughout time I have felt other necessities that have introduced me to a more three-dimensional way of expressing myself, even though I still feel that painting plays a very important role in my life.
Last September I started an MA in sculpture at the RCA, but for the moment I am deferring it due to the global situation and the fact we were not allowed to go to campus and use the facilities and studios of the school. For the past seven months I have been living near Lisbon, in a warehouse. Here, I have been very inspired by the space I was living in, the industrial park, the abandoned factories, the scrapyards and found materials in all these different spaces. Realising the importance of using found materials to create art and not needing to buy anything to create, helping with the impact producing work might have in the environment. In the past couple of weeks, I moved to the north of Spain where I am going to stay for a little while. In a very different space, surrounded by nature, where I am hoping I will implement new materials and thoughts from this new place.
2. Where does your signature style originate from?
I feel everything started in university, where I started exploring painting in an abstract way, developing a very particular way of painting through the experimentation of materials. Now, abstraction has become my way of expression, I don’t attempt to represent the external reality through my work, rather than expressing what reality makes me feel. Using shapes, colours, forms, gestural marks, found materials and objects to represent and inner understanding of the world, a non rational feeling. I feel my thoughts flow in a more fluid way when the rational part of myself is not fully there and my unconscious starts to work and play a bigger role in my creation.
3. Where do you find inspiration and what is your creative process?
I find inspiration in places and experiences, which let me feel something that will make me feel a change internally. I tend to move around like a nomad, exploring different environments to understand something intangible from the world, from nature, from people, from cultures, architecture…
4. What is most rewarding about your work?
I love making very big things, where there is a side of what I am making that I cannot control and has its own personality. I love the feeling of looking a pice art so big you feel totally surround and immerse within the work.
5. Do you have any dream projects?
I always dream of creating work bigger than what I have previously created, no matter the medium I choose to create with. Have an indoor and outdoor space where I can expand and explore all those gigantic ideas in different parts of the world.
6. Who is the most inspirational person in your life?
Is difficult to tell a specific person that has been very inspirational for me, as I feel each period of my life has been influenced and inspired by many different people, artists, etc… At the moment I feel very inspired by Joseph Beuys, who was the creator of social sculpture, and Shelley Sacks, who is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, social sculpture practitioner who writes, teaches, performs and lead to new ways of seeing and shaping our lives and the world around us.
7. What’s Your Favourite holiday destination?
I love discovering new places, exploring new cultures and destinations different to my own. I have always enjoyed leaving Europe and getting tastes from other continents.
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I have had many very useful pieces of advice, but something that makes me flow with life and the world is, to think about life, myself and what I do as a journey of experiences that will make me grow and evolve.
9. How do you relax at the end of a long day?
I love going for a walk in a natural space after a long day of work, where my mind can just absorbs the energy of the sounds of the forest, the sea, the birds, the wind, the sun… as well as taking a hot and cold shower/bath to recharge for the next day.
Born in Madrid, Odilia graduated from City & Guilds of London Art School in 2016, where she won The Board of Trustees Prize for an Outstanding Piece of Work in the Graduated Show. She found her first residency at the Griffin Gallery which was a great opportunity and inspiration to her as a young artist. Ever since, residencies have become the base for her practice and artistic development. In these residencies, while traveling in different locations in the world she has indulged in long periods of research into natural landscapes and cities to find a line of investigation that best encompasses her interests. She is also part of the Brocket Gallery, where she has done a number of exhibitions in and out of London.
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