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Check out Carla Contreras’ Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carla Contreras.

Carla, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I come from a small biodiverse country by the name of Ecuador. The city I grew up in is Quito, which sits high in the Andean foothills at an altitude of 9,350 feet. I left my beloved volcanic skyline two and a half years ago to come to Atlanta in pursuit of an international experience that enriches my journey as a visual artist.

Here I started my M.F.A Program at SCAD and formed a little multicultural family with a Brazilian husband and our trilingual Jack Russell.

Being far from home and struggling to adjust myself to a new life in a completely different environment and context is what defined what I am now both personally and as an artist. I am not a very sociable person, I am selective, nostalgic, anxious, emotional, perceptive, impulsive. I find it difficult to socially connect or engage with people I do not know well, and adapt to different contexts and situations. These two and a half years had been definitely a challenge for me. Trying to adjust to a married life with cultural differences, a totally new life style , and the absence of what used to make me so happy back home: my mountain landscapes, my dog Luna who passed away a couple of months ago with 16 years, and my sister Maria Emilia, who has been my best friend for 22 years.

Making art is a way for me to deal with my emotional struggles, my preoccupations, and obsessions, and also the only way I can feel comfortable with to connect and engage with others and communicate what I believe is important to reflect on or pay attention to.

Are the struggles, the encounters, the joy, the injustice, the lifestyle, the control, the freedom, the madness, the human condition what moves me, what awes me, what makes me wonder.

Being a public transport user in Atlanta made me experience the city in such a meaningful way that this determined the whole direction of my intentions and voice as an international artist living and producing here. I was able to connect with the surroundings, the realities, the life and death of the city. And have something to say about it.  

And it has been that intricate net of personal sentiments combined with more locally social preoccupations what has informed who I am, how I feel, what I care about, and what I make and communicate in a place away from home.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do? Why? And what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work examines the relation between urban development and the human condition. I am interested in analyzing and questioning the impact of a booming urban ecosystem over its inhabitants and their interactions within those transforming surroundings. Through a multidisciplinary approach that combines video installation, painting, drawing, and printmaking I intend to tackle societal challenges and hurdles such as the fragmentation of communities, sterilization of areas of the city, and homogenization of populations. The formal language and color palette of the work is drawn from the recognition and observation of visual information and marking systems in the utility sector and construction industry, as well as from more intimate and personal processes and interactions with simple living organisms such as kidney bean sprouts that I grow in cotton balls.

I hope to suggest and encourage the viewer to be more aware and critical about its surroundings and the systems that control and shape our urban ecosystem, interactions, and lifestyles in order to become more emphatic to the social struggles that affect us all as community.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I believe that the role of art has always been to challenge, to provoke, to awaken, or to simply suggest a new perspective of things, of life, of assimilation. Art responds to an intrinsic human necessity to reflect on the world within us and around us.

I think that the role of artists is to create a platform with their work to share preoccupations, curiosity, and obsessions. It is also a bridge to connect with others and build trust and community.

Coming from a different context where first world countries like the U.S are idealized, I am interested in examining the side effects and discontents of a ‘wealthy society’ in recognition and empathy to the harsh search of a better life for Latin American migrants. My aim is to have a voice through my work that let me pose questions and reflections that could potentially have an impact on the way how humans tend not to recognize themselves in others.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Yes, my MFA Thesis Show is coming up. It will be at Besharat Gallery in May and is free and open to the public. I will post more details about it in my social media soon.

People can see my work on my website, on Instagram, on Loupe Art: Streaming Online Art Gallery, and also by doing a studio visit.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Carla Contreras
Abraham Dos Santos

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