David= D Federico= F
D What’s your favorite object to use? The colored Pencil?
F I always wanted to be a painter. I just wasn’t the painter I wanted to be. Colored pencils are essentially lines of color that you can make in any size. So essentially it’s a line of color that you can build with. So I’m painting with a three-dimensional object. Colored pencils have a special connotation on people’s hearts. Even if your childhood was miserable, the moments you were playing with colored pencils, even if you’re not an artist today, it’s a pleasant memory in everybody’s head. So, everybody has affection for this object, and I like the idea that people have feelings that they can’t avoid. You look at pencils and subconsciously it brings you to your childhood, even if your childhood was bad, that moment with colored pencils was good.
D What’s the most unusual material you’ve used?
F Working with objects is hard because finding the plastic possibility of them is difficult. Most of the objects that I’ve used are not made to be beautiful; they are made to be useful. I worked with shoes from Puma and those were made to be beautiful; somebody had that intention before me. I’m being challenged with what he did and doing something with what he did. So that was the worst part for me: destroying subjects that were already made for beauty.
D What did you do with the Puma shoes?
F Animals and trees. There’s a very simple rationale I use in my work. People kill animals to make shoes so I disassemble shoes to make animals. People cut trees to make books so I disassemble books to make trees. There’s a lot of that in my work; the idea of returning to where things came from. It’s a simple idea but it’s…
F Poetic in a way. It can make you think. I don’t pretend to give messages to people in any way. I believe that I’m a plastic artist and this is just for the senses and enjoyment for the senses. I do this for the eyes.
D What’s the piece you most enjoyed creating?
F Most of these things are about discipline more than anything because you have the idea of building this portrait then you have to stay hundreds of hours doing it. It’s a meditative process not a joyful process. You quiet your head listening to these nails going into this wood and that’s it. I like being here. I like doing this.
I enjoy this process, but I couldn’t say it’s fun. Only after the images are created I can say they look fun or funny or humorous or whimsical. The process is just discipline.
D But you’ve fallen in love with the process, right?
F Si, of course. It’s always challenging, always. In these new series of portraits I try to create from gray to black scale, but using different colors, like from yellow to purple or from black to blue. Those are challenges I make for myself.
D Federico, how do you like your bacon?
F I like bacon but I’m obsessed with the idea of health and organic foods and doing exercise. When I travel I eat bacon in every breakfast because I’m outside of my life and I eat burgers and French fries, but not in my daily life. Every time I get out I do it, I haven’t lost that.
D Talking about going out, what’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
F I like it quiet. Si, I go to cities and I don’t stop working. Somehow I’m either looking at objects or art or going to museums or whatever. I’m working. For me to really enjoy I have to go to my family’s farm in Colombia or I go to Costa Rica to this hotel and spa where you can get massages like a Japanese cow and disconnect from all these things -my obsession with objects- and looking at things and creating.
I went to New Orleans and I liked it, but I went to all the museums and I went to see their architectural treasures. It’s fun, I like knowledge and I’m obsessed with it, but it’s not relaxing for me.
D What are the artists that inspire you?
F I look at classical paintings more than I look at anything else. I don’t read art magazines. I don’t really know what’s going on out there. Even if I like an artist I never remember his name. I just remember the objects he made. When I go to art fairs and see something I like, I know I like it, but I never read the signs on it. Mostly classical painters, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Tiepolo, Tiziano, especially the Italians, they have something that is attractive to me. What is it? I don’t know. At this age I understand you’re not attracted to things because of something, but just because you’re attracted. You like apples better than you like pears because you like apples, not because the texture is better. You like them because you like them.
Justification for taste is stupid. You’re attracted to things because somehow they resonate with your own body. I have this idea that if people really listen to their body, then they would be closer to themselves. Instead of buying a pink shirt because everyone has a pink shirt, go into a store and say which one of these shirts is me really, which one is closest to me, and then you find something that is unique to you. Listen to your intuition.
D Thank you Federico, you’ve answered all of our questions, is there anything else you’ve like to share… with the people of the world?
F To me this process of creating objects is all about the senses, it’s not about meaning, it’s not about a message, I’m not trying to say anything specific to you that I want you to understand that I’ve understood about life besides that I have seen it. I have seen people and animals and landscapes and this is the way I see it. That’s all. Anyway you relate to that, good. If it makes you smile, better. If it makes you think, I’m sure you’re not thinking what I thought. I don’t believe this form is to transmit knowledge or ideas, no, just feelings. The process to create any of these things in here is somehow to translate a feeling into an image and I have the hope that this image that I have created somehow relates to this feeling that I had, and somehow will relate to your feeling on that.
More information on Federico Uribe can be found at: www.federicouribe.com
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