ART: Q&A with Grimanesa Amoros
ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING: Q&A with GRIMANESA AMOROS
How does an internationally-acclaimed sculptor strike the delicate balance between motherhood and career while crisscrossing the globe to create and showcase a stunning array of art installations? If you’re Grimanesa Amoros, the in-demand visionary approaches each venture with a lot of energy and love. The Peruvian native’s distinctive perspective and sensual, organic pieces led to the recent honor of having her work tower above crowds in Times Square and prominently aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s luxury cruise ships, Allure of the Seas. In coming months, she’s traveling to Mexico City, Austria and Asia for art installations. Somehow, she remains grounded and gracious in the spotlight.
NOTE: All photos provided by Grimanesa Amoros Studios in New York (excluding Tania Fuentez Media image)
TFM: You’re currently featured in the March 2012 edition of Whitewall Magazine, which also visited your studio in New York. What did you take away from that experience? As an independent artist, are you comfortable with the attention generated by your unique approach to sculpture and use of light?
Of course I am fascinated with the attention generated by my work! My main focus is to do work that I can share with all kinds of people globally. This is what attracted me to public art. Your audience becomes limitless. For the Whitewall visit, I loved meeting the videographers and seeing how passionate and dedicated they were to film my vision and my work.
TFM: How would you describe your style and what is your inspiration behind such pieces as the Uros Island series and upcoming interactive art installation in Mexico?
The Uros series is inspired by the Uros Islands in Lake Titicaca located southeast of Peru. They are floating islets made entirely out of totora reeds, a sub-species of the giant bulrush sedge. The pre-Incan Uros, who live on 42 handmade floating islands in Lake Titicaca, build everything out of this material – everything that ranges from houses to boats to watch towers. I created the Uros series to reflect the natural elegance of sea foam and totora reeds. The light sculptures maintain the traditional technique and shape of these islands.
I have always worked with subject matters that relate to my personal experience. I prefer to work with organic shapes. The natural world moves me, but obviously cannot be replicated. As an artist, I have always been interested in different materials and what they bring to my work. Living in a world surrounded by artificiality, I sought to bring the natural world into these artificial materials. Since I work with a lot of technology, I thought merging the two worlds would bring fascinating results.
TFM: In April, you’ll travel to Austria before heading to Asia for a month. What’s on your agenda artistically; any new projects planned?
We are currently doing a piece for the La Torre de los Vientos as part of the Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C. and the World Monuments Fund in Mexico City. My light sculpture, Uros Island, that is currently on exhibition at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will be traveling to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung, Taiwan, as part of the traveling exhibition Future Pass, which began at this past year’s 54th Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. The exhibition will open this May.
We are also discussing a Retrospective of my work in Peru scheduled for 2013 at the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA). I have several private commissions to create large outdoor light sculptures, one of which is for the gardens of a private collector in Vienna, Austria. I will also be part of the Momentum: Women/Art/Technology Exhibition at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2013.
Lastly, I am in conversation with Broadway Housing Communities regarding the design & construction of a piece for their new development in West Harlem, which will include the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling and is scheduled to open in Spring 2014.
TFM: How does that (extensive schedule) translate into your daily life as a mother and businesswoman?
As a mother, I knew I wanted to spend time with my daughter, Shammiel, from the moment she was born. I nursed Shammiel until she was 4. I knew I wanted her to feel secure that I would always be there for her. She knows that she is my first priority, even above my artwork. As it turns out, that lasted 7 years with me out of the art world. I knew that I had to give her a very good base, as the early years are important in childhood development. I traveled with Shammiel extensively until she was around 8. She accompanied me everywhere I went. Today, in daily life I have learned to manage my time well. When I am doing my work, I am 100% focused on my artwork, and when I am with Shammiel, I am 100% focused on her.
TFM: Speaking of family, how do you strike a balance between work and home life with a full schedule as an internationally respected artist?
I think I have been blessed with having a lot of energy, it is the way my body is built. I am always working and guiding people to be in a place they are comfortable with. I also meditate every morning and every night. I think that is very important. I am constantly trying to balance my life. For me, balance is another word for happiness. I need less than 8 hours of sleep, thankfully, so this adds more time to my day. I see less movies than I used to, and I don’t have time to read a book from front to cover. These changes allow me to spend more time with my family and my work.
TFM: What do you do for fun in your down time? Some of your favorite places to reflect and rejuvenate?
Honestly, I don’t have that much down time. From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, I am constantly doing things. Twice a year, though, I go with my family on vacation where we can spend time with each other 24/7 to refresh and rejuvenate myself. I also dedicate myself to my family on the weekends.
TFM: The art industry is a highly competitive field and it’s quite challenging to thrive in the current economy. What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
To have confidence in yourself, perseverance, and not to worry about time but to put realistic goals for yourself.
Grimanesa Amoros: http://www.grimanesaamoros.com/
Whitewall Magazine: http://www.whitewallmag.com/