Family Members, 2020
Introducing Claudia Montes, Barcelona Collagist
/DRI:M/SPACE is pleased to spotlight Claudia Montes. Claudia was awarded a Spotlight feature for the International Women's Day open call "Don't Run from the Fire" for her collage Mundo para Hombres (World for Men).
Claudia's submission stood out for its powerful message. The way I see it every man benefits from sexism. So it really comes down to the fact that both men and women need to be actively working together to dismantle the sexist system put in place.
She writes, "Mundo para Hombres (World For Men) claims women as independent and self-sufficient beings, detached from men's perception and validation. Usually, feminism focuses on women’s role and sometimes it is conceived as a movement that exclusively relates to women. Mundo para Hombres wants to enlarge this focus, by highlighting the different violences men exercise towards women, and how women arise as complex and self-contained individuals, despite these violences. Men must be included within feminism, because it is them and the social structures and institutions built by and for them that inflict violence on women. Therefore, in order to deconstruct this abusive system and tendencies towards women, men also need to be active actors within the feminism movement."
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Narciso, 2020 / Marga, 2020 / Planetarias, 2020
About the Collagist:
Claudia Montes is a visual artist born in Barcelona in 1992. After studying art for two years, she graduated with a BA in Filmmaking studies. Her artwork comprises analog collage, illustration, and short films. It mixes humour and poetry, and sometimes it's influenced by Japanese culture.
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Claudia's Studio Process and Self-Portrait
Montes's collage work has been shown in collective exhibitions in Barcelona, Madrid and L'Hospitalet, in Spain, and in diverse online events. She was awarded with the Kokeshi Design Award 2020 by Japan House London, and took part in the shorts section of L'Alternativa Film Festival 2020 with her short film, "Arte (Where Is Art?)".
Check it out!
Arte (Where Is Art?, 2020
I couldn't resist adding another one of Claudia's animation shorts, "Realidad". I love her use of negative space and the color palette is right on. You can find more of Claudia's quirky animation shorts here.
Claudia's use of negative space can be seen in her paper works, as well. I really dig her collage, Amour Fou. The pop of colours, neon green background, that lacy blue blouse with the bold red peeking through—it's really quite perfect! The simplicity of Claudia's collages are super effective.
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El Abismo, 2020 / Amour Fou, 2020 / Business Man, 2020
Claudia is fairly new to the collage community but that hasn't stopped her from putting herself out there. She began making and posting collages on Instagram right before the start of the pandemic and since then she has accomplished quite a bit.
Here is a touching initiative that Claudia participated in hosted by Mujeres que cortan y pegan, "Proyecto Hogar", that encouraged visual artists to interpret the concept of “home” (hogar in Spanish). The virtual exhibition took place during the three month total lockdown in Spain at the beginning of the covid-19 global pandemic.
Claudia writes, "It was such an emotionally delicate moment for many people who were far from their relatives or living alone. This pandemic has changed all of us, our daily life, the way we relate to each other, and our conception of what is important in life. The concept of “home” is a strong pilar through all our life. It is the first safe-space we know as children, and a space we try to build and accommodate through our life".
The online exhibition feautured three of Claudia's collages, Infancia (Childhood), Hogar (Home) and Madre (Mother). The work represents "three key factors of important influence when we are young and that contribute to our idea of home and what we look for in the future".
Beautiful work, Claudia!
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Infancia, 2020 / Madre, 2020 / Hogar, 2020
Mundo para Hombres, with its unapolgetic interpretation on the theme of pushing back against the patriarchy, won my heart! /DRI:M/SPACE looks forward to following Claudia's work as she continues to create and explore the collage medium in all its facets. Be sure to check out Claudia's links below to learn more about the artist, her stop motion projects, and analogue collages.
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Top Panel - Mujer Sujeto, 2020 / El Degoteig dels Últims Dies, 2020 / Earth calling
Bottom Panel - Un Deliri Mortal S'escampa pel Món, 2020 / El Deseo, 202
Q&A with the Artist:
/DRI:M/ARTZ: Your father was a creator, as well. Can you tell me a little about him? What is the one piece of sage advice that he shared with you about being an artist?
Claudia Montes: My father is a very independent person with the biggest heart. He has created art since he was young, but he never had the chance to dedicate his professional career to it. He worked as an art teacher in a public school and directed the institution for ten years, trying to improve the situation of many children from vulnerable families. Now he is retired and spends hours in his art studio, painting and making sculptures (check out Damian's artwork here).
He has always told me to not be afraid to experiment and to mix techniques and has encouraged me to use different materials and to appreciate the unexpected results. However, the advice I value the most is that I should try to be present in the moments I live, not to be constantly thinking about what’s next, to take everything with more calm and to enjoy the nice experiences I get the chance to live. I am a very dynamic and anxious person, and having this kind of unconditional support and having this strong relationship with him are really valuable to me.
DA: Your passion for Japanese culture inspired you to specialize in East Asian studies. How did your time spent studying in Japan influence your journey as an artist, specifically as it relates to collage?
CM: I have made a couple of collage series inspired by Japanese culture. One about daruma (達磨), these traditional dolls usually used as a talisman for good luck, that have both of their eyes blanked. One can make a wish by painting the left eye of the figure, and it’s supposed to paint the right one once the wish has been accomplished.
The other series is focused on amabie’s (アマビエ) figure, and it was encouraged by an online trend emerged at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, when everyone was sharing images of their amabie’s interpretation, a creature with a bird beak, long hair and three legs. The legend says it was spotted in the sea, in Kumamoti’s prefecture in Japan, by an official, and it announced the prophecy “Good harvest will continue for the next six years and if disease spreads, draw a picture of me and show it to those who fall ill, as it will help them to get cured”. When covid-19 pandemic started, people in Japan started sharing amabie’s images in social media using hashtag #amabie (#アマエ) and soon this trend popularized internationally. I’ve created diverse interpretations of the amabie creature and I am willing to make more.
Note: You can view Claudia's Daruma series here and her Amabie series here.
DA: What can your fans look forward to this year and beyond?
CM: I would like to work on my stop motion and focus on creating more elaborate films. I am also currently working on some new projects I hope to release soon, one of which is a new collage series focusing on space, memory and family stories.
I'm very excited about my first solo exhibition which is currently on show through the month of June at Espai Jove La Fontana in Barcelona. It’s called Dona Subjecte (Subject Women in Spanish), and features fourteen of my analogue collages, focused on the revindication of women as complex and independent individuals, that need no external validation.
Check out Claudia's tune recommendation "Icon" performed by Daan. Enjoy!