The Artist, Q&A
Artist — Juan Pablo Mapeto
Where do you live? Where are you from?
I’m from Concepción, a city in the south of Chile. When I was 21 years old I lived Chile and went live in Buenos Aires – Argentina, where I lived for almost 10 years. Now, it has 2 years that I live in São Paulo – Brazil.
What’s your background in art?
I started being a self-taught artist when I was 3 years old and I was already drawing with a sense of searching. Over time, this interest and pursuit were getting stronger until the point that when I was 11 years old I went to a School of Arts.
After some years, I left the art school to develop my own work. In college, I studied Engineering and that was a moment that I left the arts aside. It was 3 years that I was away of making art. At the end of my engineering studies, I felt a need to return to my essence as a plastic artist and seek for a more complete and deep formation, than I went to Buenos Aires to study visual arts at Belas Artes College. There, I had an enriching experience with several artists and participating in various experimentations. I also had a space dedicated to expose and sell exclusive art objects focusing on young artists. At that time, I also made other art exhibitions in South America.
When did you become an artist?
I don’t believe that people became an artist. I believe that it is an activity that anyone can develop. I think it’s life that influences personal taste and search (pursuit). But seeing from a temporal point of view, I believe it was when I was 11 years old that I realized that I would like to dedicate myself to do art for the rest of my life. I became an artist when people told me that I could not be. I loved art, I used to look for art books to read and learn more about this, but people was always telling me that I would have to work and study something else.
How would you define your style?
My style basically fits the concept, material, and idea I have at the moment. To the contemporary and collective feeling, but always prevailing the technique and the concept in order to favor the language of the work that I want to develop.
I don’t get stuck in only one style. I have already worked with various techniques such as painting, engraving, sculpture, drawings, tattoo and now I’m dedicating myself to the collages.
What does your process look like when creating a new piece?
It has to do with what happens in everyday life. The references and ideas come from everyday situations and it manifests in a freeway, almost unconsciously. The elements are getting mixed and generating a dialogue and meeting in a concept. It’s like cooking, that we are gradually adding seasonings and condiments, trying a little here and there until the dish is ready. Seasonings dialogue with each other and become so involved that makes a single flavor.
Do you draw inspiration from other artists? If so who?
I have not been inspired by any other artist now. I am inspired by ordinary people and everyday relationships, in life and in the need to learn and generate dialogue.
What is the story behind this piece? Was it inspired by a personal event, global event, etc?
It has to do with the abstraction of the unconscious and be part of a collective consciousness. This is how the material meets concept and generate the final image. That is the reason I say that it is something unconscious because it has to do with daily life, with ordinary people, with feelings. It has to do with a supposed freedom that is always threatened and hidden.
If you had to sum up this piece, in your perspective, what does it say to you? (how do you react when you see it. Does a memory appear, another piece comes to mind, a story is created, etc)
When I see it I think about the representation of the different daily influences and in this case the wars, coups and media. Seeing this picture, I see the continuity of my work as a diary or agenda, as a record of the moments by which I pass. It is a mixture of reality, fiction and poetry.
What are the different mediums of art you enjoy the most? Sculptures, portraits, landscape, etc?
I like what I can develop at the moment. I am currently developing collages because of a condition of available space. Within the collages I dialogue with what comes out of the materials, sometimes it’s landscapes, sometimes portraits, or situations, events, and abstractions. I try not to limit myself to a single theme, but I always keep on searching for an image.
What is your favorite era of art?
I think that every era of art has something particular and important to contribute to the development of humanity in art. I think nowadays is one of the periods that I am most enjoying because there’s a turning point in technology, art, and science.
Who is your favorite artist, alive or dead?
I could say that my favorite artists are the men of the caves who were the first in developing a way to portray everyday life, which is what I seek as well.
Why should people care about art?
I believe it is the essence of a critical life in the form of generating dialogue. Art is a bit of each of us and is part of all of us.
Instagram — @kizzypashonn
“Looking at this artwork for over 30 mins, I’m drawn to the butterfly and its symbolism: metamorphosis. Change is inevitable, and I think the stages of a butterfly is somewhat analogous to the stages we go through as entrepreneurs. An idea is born, we begin to consume information, become more prepared for what lies ahead, initiate the process of materializing the information and research we’ve acquired and then after months (or years) of work we achieve the results we’ve labored for. Everyone sees how successful you are but forget the process that led to all this ‘beauty’.
Next in the artwork we have the target, the focal point for the butterfly, for the metamorphosis. To me this means maintaining focus and understanding that nothing is really achieved without a goal. What we aim for is what we attain so set your goals so high that even if you fall short you’re still above mediocrity.
Lastly, is the hand protruding from the earth, almost in a sense to pull back the butterfly from all its glory. To me this means that no matter what changes we go through in life and as entrepreneurs, we will have obstacles and negative forces foraging for our demise no matter how big or how small we are. Darkness is a metaphor and we give it life when we feed and acknowledge it. We have to keep moving forward no matter what.
In summary, this artwork is significant to my life as an entrepreneur because of what it means, to me. My interpretation, “stay focused on your goals as you change and grow personally and professionally, never letting the cloud of darkness from beneath hinder your progress or stop your ascension into greatness”
“The image speaks very loudly to me. As an immigrant, you go to different places in search for freedom but really become a target for some. To me, the hand represents the struggle that a lot of people go through in search of a better life. The butterfly represents that dream — the idea of freedom. So close you can almost touch it…just to find out you’re more exposed now.”
“First thing I noticed was a hand either reaching for or releasing a butterfly onto a target board…immediately I felt it was a piece about forcing change. A butterfly is a symbol of rebirth or transformation and hurting a butterfly brings on some kind of bad omen — personally, I see a bit rom my journey of forgiveness…forgiving a man who raped me. Me the butterfly, damaged and on a display like a trophy…but forgiveness gave me power…I changed the narrative of being the victim.”