Kikyz1313 . The Infinite Artist

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Kikyz1313 was born in 1988 in Querétaro, Mexico, and creates beautifully intricate ink, graphite, and watercolor works on paper. From beneath the initially alluring, and understated, first impression of the works, emerge unexpected oppositions and abject tensions. Studies in the afflicted wretchedness of humanity, her work is neither despondent nor obviously gory, but rather presents an aestheticized nightmare of sublime abhorrence; ambiguously gorgeous despite its agonizing discomfort.

She received a BFA from Autonomous University of Queretaro and had her first solo exhibition at the Museum of the City (Queretaro City, Mexico). She has completed an artist residency at the Nordic Watercolor Museum in Skärhamn, Sweden.

Showed in several art fairs and group exhibitions in the USA, Berlin, and London as recently presented her second solo show entitled 'The Progeny of Chaos' in Los Angeles, California.

‘Through my work, I am trying to build an emotional momentum, one that rouses the intellectual exercise of questioning one's vision of reality. While looking at my artwork, the viewer will begin to experience a series of diametrically opposed thoughts and emotions. Initially, they may feel overwhelmed by the obsessively intricate and highly detailed forms, the composition, the technical skill and the pleasant color vibrations but as an analytical shift in perception slowly overtakes them, the viewer unwittingly grasps the artwork’s inescapably wretched and subversive subject matter. This new clarity forces the observer to re-engage with the work and rethink their initial opinions until, in some way or another, the shift takes place and the observer's perception of natural things expands to include elements such as disease and death itself. While these types of human experiences are often veiled, the artwork truly embraces them and functions as a reminder of our ephemeral existence and places in doubt our vain and materialistic way of understanding life.This intellectual exercise will continue to expand until the conceptual structures of the artwork, particularly it’s elemental lack of apparent reciprocity, unwaveringly pushes the viewer to put them together into the same aesthetic context. In turn, a new meaning evolves and gives birth to a poetic paradox, a concept that I have been developing for 6 years and include in each piece that I produce.I also want to share my own vision of life and what I think matters the most. Maybe the viewer will engage with my work in such a way that it encourages introspection or solves an issue, or possibly they may become morally disturbed and confused; but whatever the outcome, the ultimate intention of my work is to open a dialog and incite thought and reflection, which I think must be the primordial pursuit of contemporary art.

 

The Artist & Gumiño

 

What's your name? Why kikyz1313?

My name is Laura Ferrer, but I have rarely used that name in life. 

Since a child, I’ve always been called Kiki causing through the years to be a nickname with I identified myself better, and even introduced myself as Kiki instead of Laura.

So in my teenage years, at the time when I started to consider an artistic life, It felt natural to keep using Kikyz as an artistic name.

The full kikyz1313, on the other hand, is a silly story that goes back to my asthma haunted years, when I was a very delicate 4-year-old child that spent the whole days inside the house playing and drawing.

I was always advised by my father to sign every single dumb drawing I made with my name, so I then figured ‘kikyz1313’ would make it. 

I kept using that signature because it felt right, it had a warm familiar feeling to it.

 

 ‘Sorrow´s piercing dart’ 2016 . Graphite, watercolor and white acrylic on paper

 

Describe your path to becoming an artist.

I guess it started like most of the artists; with the luck of never stopped drawing.

Since a child, I used to attend to summer art classes with other kids, just for the fun and because I had no use in other disciplines like dancing, martial art, swimming courses, (I tried them all) and was terrible at camping experiences.

So drawing was always the little shelter where I was better at it, I guess I just got stuck with it and kept doing it until I realized that an artistic journey would be the only life fitting for me. And as everyone else who think that for making a life you need a school degree; I, at the age of 18 went for it and graduated from the local University of Visual Arts, which said I was an artist.

I’m still not comfortable enough with my work to call myself an artist, not even the beginning of my career, but I did realize that in order to be recognized and noticed I needed to give impeccable and unique artworks to the world, and that’s something I’m still driven to do.

 

Where is your studio and where are you from?

My studio is inside our home in the province of Mexico, in a small Catholic district called ‘El Pueblito’ (Spanish for ‘Little Town’) and I am from a small growing city called Querétaro, which is a 10-minute ride from my studio and a very conservative place as well.

 

‘The tender for another´s pain’, th’ unfeeling for his own . 2016 . Graphite, watercolor and white pastel on paper

 

Tell me about where you grew up and how your childhood influenced your ideas about creativity

I never moved from the same place, and the same city, so I’ve witness the transition from small town to growing city, and everything that involves that; the huge contrasts of thinking in where fervent Catholicism clashes with social hypocrisy and cultural shame and contradictions where prehispanic ingrained feeling of ‘pride’ opposes to the high desire to flee the country and be from somewhere else.

Mexico is a land full of contrasts and contraries, and I believe that growing up with such an ambivalent way of thinking and the narrow social circle I was since little, made me wonder and question this very same train of though, influencing in a big way what I am and what I do.

 

How would you describe your work?

I would describe them, as small-enclosed scenarios of poeticized human tragedy.

 

 ‘Ghosts from a griesly sweet scent’ 2016 . Graphite, watercolor and white pastel on paper

 

What motivates you as an artist?

I think that the first thing that always comes to my mind is the motivation to reach the imaginary ‘self’ that’s living in my head. 

I always picture the look of an artwork or I picture an image of myself of ‘How I would like to be’ (emotionally, intellectually and even physically) and day-by-day, drawing-by-drawing I try to get closer to the idealized image of things, in hopes I can achieve it.

So far I’m maybe far from reaching it, but this one of the thing that drives me to continuingly improve myself in every aspect of my life.

On the other hand, there is always the motivation of staggering others with what you do. To bleed yourself in that piece of paper so you can thrill an audience with something they have never seen. To achieve that something that pierces the gut and lives in the consciousness: one that can change perceptions and one that allows you to be remembered.

 

Tell us a little about these portraits that live in your paintings’ worlds. Who are they and what are they up to?

They portray my personal understanding of human condition: the contradictions, the senseless behaviors, the gained knowledge, my obsessions, the blindfoldedness and fears I perceive in myself thus others, all jumbled in, floating or resting over and under different symbols. Decorated with intrinsically beautiful things with the sole purpose to fool us in that personal world.

 

‘A soulfully denature’ 2013 . Ink and watercolor on paper

 

You do have a very distinct, recognizable style.

Thank you, but I honestly find myself wondering if nowadays that is a compliment or a weak spot.

It’s a very nice feeling to know that all the imagery you’ve been working on for 6 years is solid enough to let the artwork speak for it own, but I must say that this is also a dangerous place that at long term may cause us to fall in the common place and in repetition, instead of moving forward to improvement. 

This easy way may be very appealing when most of the times there’s a fright to feel rejected by our peers, institutions, or our audience.

But, does anyone would really like to be held in a place of pleasing others even when a satisfied mind is at risk?

This is something I’m constantly scared of, and I try my best to never see myself in such situation, even when there is always a big load of insecurities and economic uncertainty. I think I rather resist this dreadful possibility with the opposite: and do a lot more confronting and obscure artworks, a lot more obsessive and critical, to find different mediums and techniques so maybe I can achieve that unexpected and higher perception of reality that I’m looking for.

 

Tell me about the first time you considered art as an actual career.

It surely was in my teenage years, just before the last year of high school. 

I was advised by my family to think about what would I do for the rest of my life even when I wouldn’t be paid for it… The answer was easy, as at the time I enjoyed to draw a lot and an artistic life was never a such a crazy idea since my mother paints a lot.

Since then, I considered art not only as a career but also as a way of life in which I promised to commit myself entirely.

 

‘Devouring smile’ 2017 . Graphite, watercolor and pastel on paper 

 

Did you have any mentors along the way?

I sadly never had mentors, not even in college, but in my first years in the artistic trade did have a couple of artists near me that inspired me a lot to be better. 

I think the one that really pushed me into the world of drawing would be Román Miranda, who was the first artist I knew who lived from art and who worked on graphite and paper with some very intricate and fantastic compositions.

At that time I didn’t even know that one could live solely from drawing!

His work opened my eyes, and even when I saw his work in persona after 3 years, I kept some postcards of his work and only by looking at them was a reminder of where I wanted to be in the future.

Today he is still a huge inspiration, and I’m happy to call him a close friend.

 

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

Absolutely, my family has been a huge beacon of support and encouragement since always, and there is no possible way I could ever repay or thank them enough.

 

‘A slumber embrace’ 2014 . Graphite, watercolor and white pastel on paper

 

What advice would you give to a person starting out? 

I would say that: forget about success, forget about fame, and forget about money.

Do an introspective search for as long as you need and search for that significant thing in yourself that turn your soul on fire, that keeps you awake at night thinking and that it’s relevant enough to share with the world. 

Then, build yourself artwork that speaks for that and most important:  don’t ever try to please anyone, but you.

 

How does where you live to impact your creativity? 

Well… the way Mexico is have really shaped entirely my whole being. The way I think, the way I over saturate my compositions, the obscure imagery, the symbols I choose, the muted smog-like colors, the subject matters I describe in my work, etc.

They are all projections of what I’ve seen and lived in this place.

 

‘Laughing while crying’ 2016 . Graphite, watercolor and white pastel on paper

 

Do you have a favorite book?

The favorite(s) are changing constantly but I find myself always coming back to the 1900’s horror fictions authors, these past days with Arthur Machen and more of his fantastic short stories.

I also have a very special place in my head for ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury and ‘The Gods Themselves’ from Isaac Asimov.

 

What is your current album on repeat?

Right now I don’t have and specific album, though I do insanely obsess over an album in time to time. But right now I’m constantly repeating on my headphones a lot of dark ambient, drone, doom and black metal music.

 

‘The child inside’ 2017 . Graphite, watercolor and pastels on paper

 

Who is your role model?

It’s curious but that’s a question I’ve never asked myself, so this is the first time I’m actually putting thought on it, and I’m not completely sure If I’ve had a role model in the past or today. But I’m certain there have been a handful of artists that have marked significantly my career and deeply influenced my artwork.

Of course, there’s been always the aspiring feeling to be like Dürer or as strikingly raw as Goya, but mostly in the past year, I’ve been highly influenced by the chaotic compositions, staggering bright colors opposing to the muted grayish tones in the paintings of Justin Mortimer.

I knew his work a couple of years ago and since then I noticed my works started to become a lot more chaotic, random and less narrative. In fewer words: driven only by gut. And it’s something I’ve been admiring a lot in Justin Mortimer’s work, that impromptu selection of the characters, figures, and backgrounds always transporting us to a not so distant parallel universe of blurred memories and reveries.

I hope to achieve that feeling through my works some day, even though my technique and intentions are completely different.

 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

You could say I live a sort of a secluded life, in a tiny social circle; therefore it’s very uncommon to find myself chatting in person with someone else and even less about my work. So the only strong advice or critics I’ve ever had are coming from my husband (painter/draftsman as well) who, after a week of being sick, found me half of the day crying of stress, advised me that we have to choose wisely our battles, never take more compromises that we can get. We have to know our limits and work based on them. And in worst case scenario, when it’s too late to refuse, then THE HELL WITH IT, that my health and mental stability were first and it’s better to ‘fail’ the commitment than seriously harming myself in order to fulfill other’s expectations.

Those days I think I was very close to a metal breakdown, and after his advice I’ve learned to work wisely, resulting to enjoying a lot more what I do.

 

‘Silencio’ 2016 . Graphite, pastels and watercolor on paper

 

What is your dream project?

I’ve had a strange idea of making paper artworks that change with the intervention of the audience resulting in different narratives.

Something like the pop-up and interactive paper books we find for kinds, but with very obscure and realistic imagery.

It’s not so dreamy but a little far from doing them right now.

 

Is there anything you want to do in the next 2 years? 

An oil painting series. I’m currently teaching myself oil painting and about to end a workshop I’m attending. I’m very excited to keep practicing and maybe in the near future make very intricate compositions with very vibrant colors. I wish to make a series of medium formats and if they end up decent, to present them in a public o private space.

 

 

 

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