MEET THE ARTIST: CARMEN MARDONEZ
Carmen Mardonez is a Chilean textile artist living in Los Angeles since 2017. Her artwork seeks to radically reimagine intimate spaces of memories, dreams, and discovery, exploring variations around traditional embroidery by combining oversized formats, textile sculpture and the recovery of textile waste.
Carmen studied History and Arts in the Catholic University of Chile, a master’s degree in Community Psychology at the University of Chile, and has training on art therapy and traditional knitting on horsehair. Her artwork has been exhibited in Building Bridges Art Exchange, Brea Gallery, and SoLa Gallery, among others, and her practice has been supported by scholarships and grants from “All She Makes”, “Repaint History”, and “Not Real Art”.
1. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you to create?
I believe that my artistic voice has been present during my life in different ways, although most of the time as a “B side”, complimenting my more intellectual or rational occupations. My more artistic side took prevalence as a mental health necessity some years ago. In the midst of a really hard time when writing my master’s thesis in psychology and intensive work in prisons of Santiago, Chile, I turned to the arts for inner equilibrium. The starting point was a couple of meetings with Victor Espinoza, where he showed me some of his artwork and his way of working. After that, it was just a matter of experimenting and let the threads and movement to flow. Visit Article
2. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Back in Chile I wasn’t a professional artist. I worked as a volunteer and professional in prisons and local governments.
3.What is your ideal day in studio?
When I had the chance to work by myself in the mornings and then keep working with my kid around in the afternoon. Not always is that easy because with home and mom responsibilities there are some days that I need to pic morning or afternoon for studio and the other half for other responsibilities.
4. What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have that help aid in your practice?
Honestly, I think that as soon as I have some time I jump into my practice. My work is usually in my living room waiting for me. I’m always craving for more studio time so I guess my pattern is to have a needle, a scissor and threads ready to work.
5. To date, what is your most memorable piece or project
“I dare” the installation piece that I created for my last solo show at Building Bridges.
6. What does being creative mean to you?
Is like breathing to me.
7. Do you find the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I guess it might be lonely. It’s not been easy these last 6 years away from home. Working from home doesn’t help because you can be alone he whole day. Im been trying to make friends at the beginning on social media, and then going to openings, applying to residencies, etc.
8. Where do you go to get inspired?
My daily life. More than a think, or a topic (than sometimes it is) the daily life gives me the urgency to be creating in every moment that I have.
9. What memorable responses have you had to your work? Did you find it valid? And how has that affected your practice or work?
I LOVE when specially kids hold their breath with my work. Because I think they are hard to amaze.
10. What is your dream project?
I’d love to keep working and increasing the size of my immersive installations.
11. Name three artist you like to be compared to?
Cecilia Vicuña, Jane Fonda, Yayoi Kuzama, Joana Vasconcelos
12.Who would you like to collaborate with? Why?
Stella McCartney because I’d love to at some point collaborate with fashion designers who are conscious about textile waste and Daisy Collingridge because I think it might look interesting our work together.
Right now Im doing a 4 months residency at Quinn Emanuel Lawyer firm who is finishing in June with a group show. At the end of the summer I’m gonna internationalize my artistic career. For the next couple of years Ill be living half of the year in Oxford, UK and half of the year here in LA, CA.
14. What food, drink, song inspires you?
French fries, Passion fruit mango icy at Hui Lau Shan.