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Artist in Focus | Juan Ballesteros

Characters Living Inside A Fridge, 2021

Introducing Juan Ballesteros, Mérida, Venezuela Artist


About the Artist:

My name is Juan Ballesteros or just 🍃. I’m from Mérida, Venezuela. I study Cinema in ULA.

For a few years I have established, as one of the goals of my life, to explore the widest possible variety of uses of images. I believe that the images have the possibility of establishing a more direct and sincere connection between that process of deconstruction that encompasses our way of perceiving reality and the reconstruction of that accumulation of sensations and feelings that we make with language. I believe that not only does it allow us to notice how personal and unrepeatable the experience of telling something is, but it also makes it possible to create new places (whether they are temporal, spatial or sentimental).

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Self-Portrait, Still from Juan's Short Film, Sentimental Journey

This has been one of the strongest reasons why I make collages. Collage is a medium that allows you to juxtapose elements that, precisely by doing so, are given meanings that they did not have before. It is possible to create a story, make a feeling felt or recall a memory using only the juxtaposition of elements. The simplicity of the assembly and reading process, coupled with the ambiguity of the breadth of meanings, makes it possible for simple cut-outs of objects or paper to encapsulate an inhabitable, living and clearly personal present.

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Top Panel - Días Blancos, 2021 / Flotando, 2022 / Just Watching, 2022

Bottom Panel - Confabulación, 2021 / Fear, 2022 / Action, 2021

My creative process is quite organic. Because for a few years I have suffered from gaps in my memory, I always carry a notebook and pens with me. In it, I write down phrases that I hear in random conversations on the street, I draw images that I see or believe in what I see, I make tangible reconstructions of my sensations or feelings, song metaphors or I just write down words and concepts that interest me. Then I flip through my notes and start sketching images that are drenched in what I want to talk about. I think that because of this, my collages could be more illustrations than collages, or a frankenstein made of both haha. Finally, during the assembly process, as I search for photographs, I refine the constructed image to the point where I feel it is honest and without any superficial embellishment.

Cyberotic, 2021

The range of topics I cover ranges from dream recall, deconstruction of personal experiences, paranoid exploration of language to simple exercises to keep my consciousness awake and my mind relaxed. I believe that the issues that concern the spirit are more intuitive than theoretical in nature, so I try to create sensitive images that appeal to the personal baggage of sensations of the person who sees so that between them and the piece, a unique, unrepeatable and completely personal experience is built.

Silencio, 2021


Q & A with the artist:

DA: Can you tell me a little about your upbringing? Were you an artistic child?

PB: No, not really. I didn't have the confidence to do any kind of artistic activity when I was a kid. Any attempt to do something was immediately discouraged at first by me and later by the people around me. Nevertheless, my imagination started to expand a lot during that time. Whether it was playing games with my sister and cousins, in which we could spend hours pretending to be astronauts, pirates or any kind of animal or staring for long periods of time at things without any kind of history like cups, leaves or clouds, I could create new places and times that were very far away from where I was at the moment. Of course, these passing worlds disappeared at the very moment I left them to focus on other things. I like to think that the things that I created were lost because I couldn't capture them in some physical form. Those things were a bit like whispers.

DA: You talked about recording your impressions throughout the day for artistic purposes. Do you also keep a dream journal? Have you ever created art based around a dream you had?

PB: Yes, for some time I was a huge fan of finding some meaning to my dreams. I could spend hours trying to remember and connect the dots to decode the whispers of the universe. Dreams are a bit boggy. In my case, I believe that they are a very pure repository of my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these experiences are so vivid that they have made me rethink a thing or two. I've found some images for my collages in my dreams and I think that I try to emulate the feeling that they have given me in some of them.

DA: What’s in store for the remainder of 2022 and beyond? What would you like to share with your fans?

PB: I would like to keep focus on searching to capture feelings and emotions through images. Expand my knowledge, find the limits or complications of the image, see how it interacts alone and with the other elements of the construction of reality. Yes, I think I would like to keep experimenting with the image, its possibilities to encapsulate realities and its possibilities like language.


Check out Juan's tune recommendation Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan. Enjoy!

Instagram | @per_volo

Ko-fi | pervolo


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