Vince Cuadra

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Exchanges with Vince Cuadra:

1. Vince, how does being a queer-trans Costa Rican-Argentinian multimedia artist influence your work?

I feel like my artwork is very personal to me and it’s almost like an extension of myself, so with this all my identities are tied to it. I had a recent realization that the reason I am the way I am as an artist but also as a person in general is that I found how to connect with my inner child really early on in middle school and have since then been the most genuine version of myself and  with this I have made the most genuine version of my art. I decolonized my ideas of how I should allow myself to exist and stopped conforming to expectations of what a person like me should act, look, or create. Using a multitude of media has allowed me to explore my childlike playful style and translate it into different forms of art and further navigating my identity and how it plays into what I create. 

2. How did you integrate clay within your artistic practice and why did you start to display it outside?

I started playing around with clay when I was 14. When Irma was hitting Miami my brother found a really cheap Airbnb in New Orleans so we decided to evacuate the hurricane and drive all the way to Louisiana. On our way there we stopped by a Walmart and I grabbed some Crayola model clay; as I’ve been wanting to make some kind of funky street art using material that would stick onto different surfaces. In the car I made some faces and then I started sticking them on walls, poles, phone booths, fire hydrants and I haven’t stopped since. I find a lot of value in public art and always have especially growing up in Miami where street art is so popular. I did a lot of graffiti when I was in middle school and it branched out into something more. 

3. How does color palette function within your entire work? Do you intentionally choose a specific color palette for different media or is it much more organic? 

Usually the way I go with color or any elements in art really is that more is more. I think a lot of the reason I’m so attracted to using a lot of color is because I’ve always been surrounded by it—growing up in Miami surrounded by crazy colorful beautiful Art Deco and kitschy tourist attractions and neon lights. A lot of my work isn’t planned, most of it is very spontaneous and I kind of just go along with what I start and play around with it until I’m satisfied. In every medium I’ve worked with I use a lot of color, sometimes I’ll plan a painting out in just pencil and color in as I go. Usually what I do is I pick one color at a time and fill out all the things I want in that color and move on to the next color and add finishing touches at the end. I do try to make pieces coherent with colors and try to use the same shade of colors throughout a whole piece but usually I usually use the whole rainbow, I think this might be because in reality we see all the colors in the rainbow all the time so subconsciously I’ve portrayed this in an exaggerated maximalist way in my art… or something like that.

4. What artist or pop culture icon inspires you and perhaps your work if different?

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were for sure a big influence on me in 8th grade which was a very formative year for me as far as aesthetic goes, I shifted into a new more playful and experimental art style and found that I was most happy working with bright colors and more childlike looking work. I draw a lot of inspiration from a lot of artists now including popular cartoonists like Pendleton Ward, Matt Groening, Stephen Hillenburg and JG Quintel, Peter Max, Jim Henson, if someone’s work is colorful and makes me nostalgic chances are that they’re my biggest influences. 

5. What are you focussing on right now? Any art projects you are currently working on?

I just came back from San Juan Island in Washington where I did an artist residency/internship at Alchemy art center which was super exciting and gave me the opportunity to delve into ceramics!! I love working with clay but usually only have access to polymer clay or modeling clay which is what I use to create my street art and trinkets, so I’ve been super grateful to have had access to a ceramic studio during my stay and focus on creating different types of art using clay! 

Now that I’m back in Miami I’ve been playing around with digital art as I don’t have a lot of time or space to make physical work. I’m going back to school soon and taking my first in person class since 2020 for studio art which is exciting! And I’ve also been applying to pretty much every opportunity I hear of and I have a lot of confidence that they’ll work out! 

6. What are you doing  to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an artist?

I’m trying to take as many opportunities as I can in the arts, especially to learn and to network. This residency I’m currently doing gives me access to different studios and other residents who have amazing artistic skills and experience, I always try to ask questions about processes and meeting other artists and having the tools to create art definitely helps with that. I’ve also been working in galleries which gives me a lot of time to learn about the work and artists that are  there. I’ve also been trying to explore and experiment with new media which is always fun and exciting and helps to create new kinds of work. 

7. How do you make sure you have time to create? Do you have a set time or build it into your calendar?

Recently it’s been a bit hard to have a set time to work on art because I have a lot of things going on at once and move a lot between places, but whenever I know I’ll have free time I use it to create, this time varies anywhere between having time to make clay faces while I’m on the bus to knowing I’ll have a couple hours at home to work on a painting. I try to have a sketchbook, a variety of materials, and my camera on me at all times in the case that I get the creative urge to make or document something.

8. Do you have a network of other artist you rely on—and what do you do to support each other?

Yes I do! Many of my friends are artists and we always do our best to support each other as friends and artists, this could be just by communicating what we appreciate about each other’s work or giving advice and critique when asked for, or helping with actual processes of making work, or letting each other know when an opportunity arises to keep each other involved in the art world, and collaborating when we need each others skills.  

9. What’s your biggest barrier to being an artist? How do you address it?

I think my biggest barrier right now as an artist is not having my own physical space to create. While I still make a lot of work I’ve realized that having the space and time to dedicate to my art practice and experimentation is crucial and currently inaccessible. I strive to make really big pieces using all kinds of media but without the space I’ve learned to use what I have and take advantage of the limited time and space that I DO have to create, mostly digital, work. 

10. Do you feel that your art community challenges existing barriers and assumptions?

For sure, there’s definitely a lot of issues with the art world whether it be relating to accessibility or exploitation and the community of artists I’ve been involved with push to make involvement in the arts available to everyone and offer a lot of opportunities for artists to showcase work and make money for themselves off of their work.

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