September’s Apex Magazine cover artist is Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor, a freelance illustrator based in Bogotá, Colombia. Her explorations of color, fantasy, and illusion provide a fantastic vision of other worlds and universes.
APEX MAGAZINE: Many of your pieces balance chaos with order, and different textures with solid shapes and ideas. As you are creating a piece, do you keep that balance in mind, or does it evolve as you work?
CAROLINA RODRIGUEZ FUENMAYOR: When I start an image it’s because I probably have a pretty defined idea of what I want, the composition, and even the color palette. That’s my drive, my motivation is try to replicate what I have on my mind to reality. However that almost never happens, sometimes it turns out a lot better than what I imagined and sometimes it’s a complete disaster. The balance comes when I try to keep the original idea in place, when even if the image is turning out to be completely different I still remember what I first wanted, the initial feeling of it.
AM: There is a fascinating contrast of the environment versus a personal touch in many of your works, as in “Mandorla.” Do you find that the audience attaches more to the personal side, the broader environment, or a mix of the two?
CRF: Well in this particular image I was working with a band so they kind of directed me to the final result. They wanted childhood, nature, freedom and their music as the main elements so that’s why the contrast. However, I do think people attach more to the personal side of visual arts. The flow of imagery these days makes it hard to find something you like since there’s a lot of talent and options out there, but people always want to relate. It’s easier when an image tells a story and when that story is true.
AM: On the page for your piece “Pomegranate,” you mentioned the emotions around why you painted the piece. Many artists have found that the creation of art offers a catharsis for their emotions, have you found that to be true? What does creating art mean to you?
CRF: Well, it’s an easier way to communicate, you can say a lot with an image and still you don’t have to explain anything to anyone. What you see is for you to interpret, perhaps you got it or perhaps you just contemplated the aesthetic part of it, either way I made a point and it’s out there. It also works as a journal for me. I can remember exactly how I felt when I did every image. I can remember what I was going through and how my relations were developing at that moment. It’s not a catharsis but I do think it has become a very important thing for me to do, a tool to keep up with the habit, a habit that is pretty cool at the end.
AM: Your art gallery on Behance shows a thorough exploration of technique, color, and content, something you also mention briefly on the page. Does working for specific publications or client ideas alter your normal approach? How open or challenging have you found clients to be to your ideas?
CRF: Yeah, it is kind of different. Every approach depends on the client, sometimes you have the ideal client that says, “Hey you can do whatever you want but make it awesome,” or the normal client that, even though they have seen your work, is a little worried that you got the idea as it was supposed to be. If it is the first one I go freestyle and play around as much as I can, the results are always great because I have fun working like that (#clientgoals). When it’s the second one I try to be very caring and try to show the client every step of the creation, so that in terms of technique, color, and content we are on the same page. Which is not bad at all, I consider it to be the normal thing to do and to be asked for as an illustrator. The only clients that challenged or refused my ideas in the past were clients that offered me a job that I didn’t want to do. At the end that’s what makes a job sloppy, one that you don’t want to do from the start. So, for the record, it’s ok to say no sometimes.
AM: You have several galleries and social media outlets, including Instagram and Facebook. How important has social media been to your career so far? Do you find that comments are simply supportive, or do you also get good feedback and criticism as you post either full pieces or works in progress?
CRF: I wish I had more feedback and criticism on my social media, up to now it’s been a very good support and diffusion tool. It helps a lot to get you noticed, to get more clients and to keep you updated, but sometimes people think that they can’t comment or ask anything because it’s rude. I wish I could get more feedback of that kind, I would love to answer more questions or suggestions when I’m posting works in progress.
AM: Thank you to Carolina for a great interview, and for a look at her creative process. Visit her galleries at behance.net/alterlier.