Pursuing a career within the art world is not a common path and undoubtedly not the most secure. Living project by project can be a very unstable and uncertain way to live, but somehow, for those who decide to persist and defend the arts by using self-expression despite the rationality and objectivity of today’s world, art can be extremely liberating.
For Lena Lopez, a 22-year-old art student, the thought of pursuing a Fine Arts education never really crossed her mind. She admits that perhaps the way she grew up implicitly pushed her to think that it was better to start an educational journey that would lead her to a safer, more secure job. “Family plays a big role in my life and I am extremely grateful for everything I have done with them. Nevertheless, the idea of making a living out of art wasn’t even an option. In my case, it was a cultural thing. But one day, while studying biological psychology, I quit everything and applied for Fine Arts. I finally feel I am on the right path. But even today, whenever I explain what I am doing, I notice how abstract it seems to some members of my family.”
Fast lines, hidden symbols, monochromatic palette, and limited colors, skeletal bodies, and mournful scribbles are the result of Lopez’s flowing and expressive hand. Her painting captures the eye, as the subject of her work requires time to be observed and inspected properly. In fact, her striking personal sujets reflect Lopez’s interest in what is known as conceptual art. And this is where the Fuk You White Cube project comes in.
“It all started when I enrolled in my bachelor program. Although I am very happy to be able to study, I also realized how many people don’t have the same possibilities as I do. Most don’t have the opportunity to study as I do, or rather, even if technically anyone could undertake studies in art, not everyone has the necessary time and the right circumstances needed to follow this path.” This project is the inception of what could be an open-minded, creatively-driven based community, filled with people whose background or circumstances, whether cultural, political, social, or financial won’t be an interference to start making art as well. It could be the beginning of a collective project with all sorts of people, as being able to work together is a crucial aspect for Lopez. Additionally, she explains that when she started her studies, she noticed how many sociocultural problems restrict or even block people from pursuing arts. “I thought about how I could make art more accessible, and I came up with the idea that it would be great to create a service which allows people to rent a canvas, use it, and then exhibit it to the public in the streets. This would allow those people who are usually uninterested in art, who may be taking that road every day to go to work, to take some time — even a few minutes— to acknowledge the art and question the meaning of it. I truly believe that everybody would be able to be an artist if they only allowed themselves, when there is the chance, to take time to ponder it.” Time. This is missing today. Time to question, to contemplate, or simply to create. In a society where performance and shared results become the only scale that measures success, art and its archaic importance become extraordinarily misunderstood and undervalued. Yet it is precisely this difficulty in understanding art that makes it unique.
The idea that lies behind art can be hard to grasp, therefore the young artist is, in fact, also working on asemic writing and semiotics to play with meaning and language. “Words often contain a single-binary way of evaluation: one positive and one negative. This can be seen as a form of limitation.” Finally, I asked her what the title of her project signifies. She told me emphatically that “the cube or the square is a symbol for borders and many times it is difficult to escape these four-walled limitations. Just like some art galleries, if you don’t have the money or the connections. Just like our society, if you don’t have enough time and cultural resources available. Through art, I am willing to take these walls down.”
“Another thing is funny to remember: when I was small I was scared of colors. They offered so many possibilities that it was difficult to manage them. I definitely preferred my pen and my sketchbook.” Peculiarly, she explains that now the colors of cities inspire her the most. “I love walking around and letting myself be inspired by my surroundings. The more colorful the better. Where people go, how they move and how they dress, or the roads and the buildings. Everything is such a big museum.”
WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
“It is a very difficult question, a big one. I could say that I envision a place in which society’s borders are made more transparent therefore allowing access to even more people. I want art to be used as a tool to create more action and promote awareness, thus giving more visibility. Last but not least, I believe as well in the importance of connecting people” Desire and passion undoubtedly fuel her intent to use art to make the world a better place. I personally cannot wait to observe Lopez in this rebellious journey as a young creative-minded artist. And you?