Artist based in Mexico City and Chicago, IL
Ellen Hanson, Portrait of the artist.
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I’ve always loved to daydream and fantasize. I think that’s where my attraction to being an artist comes from. It’s a way to live in your own delusions.
Swimmers 6, 2023, oil and charcoal on jersey, 78 x 43"
"I’m currently making paintings of underwater snapshots of artistic (formerly called synchronized) swimmers. Looking at the sport, I do not focus on the performed image presented to the audience, but on the frenetic choreography under the surface of the water that buoys every seemingly effortless move."
Swimmers 5, 2023, oil and charcoal on jersey, 10.75 x 10.75
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
I’m currently making paintings of underwater snapshots of artistic (formerly called synchronized) swimmers. Looking at the sport, I do not focus on the performed image presented to the audience, but on the frenetic choreography under the surface of the water that buoys every seemingly effortless move. While synchronized swimming has consistently been mocked and trivialized for its coordinated smiles and splashes, beneath the surface swimmers perform laborious acrobatics all while holding their breath in a close proximity that risks concussions. It comes as no surprise that the production of such frivolous and feminized images requires an enormous amount of back breaking, death defying labor.
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
Material exploration always feeds my work. Playing with different materials through painting helps my process and deepen my ideas.
(left) 1. In progess detail of Swimmers 6 (right) Underpainting for Swimmers 6
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
My current body of work starts with making an underpainting with ink and charcoal on jersey. Then I stretch the elastic jersey over the canvas, distorting the figures in unpredictable ways. The resistance of the fabric, like the resistance of water in a pool, is something to work with and against. This swirl of warped rococo-esque figures is then “made-up” with oil paint and adorned with glints from rhinestones.
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
I’ve been moving a lot recently and working out of different places so there’s been a lack of consistency. I used to work for an artist and painted for her from 9am-3pm everyday. I’m now trying to apply a similar routine and regularity to my own practice.
In progress underpainting of a new painting
Who are your biggest influences?
Lisa Yuskavage, Gerhard Richter, Pierre Bonnard, Issy Wood, Catherine Mulligan are a few artists I’m thinking about now.
Swimmers 2, 2023, oil and charcoal on jersey, 15.75 x 15.75"
Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?
Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector. Everytime I come back to Agua Viva I connect to something new.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Be your creativity's sugar daddy.
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
Be around friends that excite you.