“I paint from the heart…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Laura Pretto Vargas
Paul Zimmerman: How did you develop interest in art?
Laura Pretto Vargas: I’ve always loved art, the endless search of the beauty in things, but it was through fashion school that I started my artistic career. In the beginning I thought since I adored playing with fashion to express myself that I would be able to do that in a fashion line, but in reality was far from that. This industry now a days is more interested in the business than art, it wonders more for accumulation than quality, it’s all about the next trend, and that was never the idea for me.
I wanted something to express who I am and how I see and fell the world, that’s way I chose to do art, because it isn’t a trend, is something that lasts and a form of being free.
So I dropout of fashion school and started in a public art school in Italy.
PZ: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
LPV: Dealing with too many constraints can be limiting to the creation process, I mean sometimes it gets really hard to not lose your concept or identity trying to follow all the guidelines. I’m always looking to get my message out there and work delivered, just believe in the process and your journey, stay strong.
PZ: What is your artistic process? How do you create your paintings?
LPV: First thing I start with some form of music, instrumental or acoustic, to loosen myself, the process of creating a painting sometimes happens just on my mind, other times I like to do a drawing to loosen up, then I like to pic colours, at least the main ones and it all goes from there. I like to think the process of painting as a slow dance or encounter I have between the brush or whatever I’m using that moment, the canvas, and myself. That field is sacred, as long as the connection is happening is as I’m in a complete trance.
PZ: Do you have any particular goal in mind when your start a new piece?
LPV: I normally start a project by intuition or if it has a theme with that, and go from there, I like to think that I paint from the heart and let my hands follow the energy flow as I go.
At the same time, a new piece always need to mean something important to me, to convey an idea/message, or to express a feeling or phase I’m going through, or even if it’s just to show beauty or ugliness, but the pivotal point is that if I believe in it others will too.
PZ: How do you know when the painting is finished?
LPV: My artworks take sometime to leave the studio, I like to experience them while i paint and a time after to see how i feel about it, only then i feel they are ready to be shown.
PZ: Has your practice changed over time?
LPV: Like many other artists, I’ve started drawing and painting figuratively and
I like to thing take I’m transcending from that to abstraction, sometimes figurative abstraction and sometimes the complete abstraction.
Also my practice changes as my curiosity grows for new materials and mediums, I’m always in search of something that catches my eye or a new way to do something I already do.
PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?
LPV: I would say painters with very strong expression acting with their paint like Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Kazuo Shiraga and Jackson Pollock. Even though I would also love to lose my self in a Mark Rothko painting and his infinite silence of the colours or the immenseness of Claude Monet’s water lilies series. These painters I’ve just mentioned all impacted me in a different way each and have been an inspiration and big influence on my career.
PZ: How would you define art?
LPV: Art for me is a way to communicate thorough the materials, techniques and forms i use, my ideas and what i feel to my viewer as well as challenge, provoke and instigate in the viewer ideas and feelings of their own.
I think art is a movement of self expression that changes as you grow and learn, on your terms. Art is forever! A piece of art is a forever statement your soul makes, that desires to share with the rest of the world.
PZ: What are you working on now?
LPV: I’m working to grow my portfolio and researching new things that inspire and enrich my mind. I’m constantly looking for new technics for me to try and to express my feelings and what’s on my mind.
PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work and sensibility?
LPV: At the beginning of the pandemic I got a little depressed with all the human suffering and devastation happening in the world. After some weeks I decided I would take this time to detox, grow spiritually, increase my skills and work on my art. I did some meditation, did some certifications online, read some books, painted a lot.
During and after the pandemic happened my work became mostly abstract, I feel this moment isn’t a figurative one, its time to detach from the physical and follow the spiritual, as we are all closed up in our minds and houses during this pandemic. I see that I can express my self better in this moment through colours and the way I apply them on the canvas.