Step into the imagination of Spanish born artist Ivana Flores and you certainly won’t be disappointed. She fills her pieces with the fragmented imaginings of her creativity and passions. Ivana speaks to the viewer through her fictional characters, filled with whimsical stories and fairy tales. Often, young children with their incredible creatures, they live in a fantastical land filled with happiness and vibrant colours.
When looking at her pieces you are drawn into this imaginary place, there is a sense of nostalgia, a playfulness that seems to trigger the memory of an uncorrupted world, safe and harmonious. Ivana and I worked together to bring her interview to you today, to try and express her inspirations and reasons behind her charming works. Ivana has an admiring quality of humility and care about her work and that is evident in her interview and her gorgeous paintings!
‘Always feel motivated, inspired and excited, and to dream.’ ~ Ivana Flores
Ivana, can you tell us a little bit about your yourself, and when you first started your creative journey?
My creative journey is my journey of life. As far as I can remember art has always been there, whatever the circumstances of my life, in one way or another with more or less intensity, but it has always been there. Over time, I have realized that it is a necessity and my passion that is why it is always with me. It is the way in which I feel focused. Through the process, I can see myself and I believe that it helps me in all the dimensions of my day-to-day life. It is the manifestation of myself that I care the most about in an unconscious and intuitive way, forever. It represents each of the steps I take, the path that I discover as I go through it, everything I learn from the deep experiences of life, the exploration of the emotions and feelings that the things around you create in you. My imagination at times is overwhelming; I build worlds that come out of a place I don’t really know. Why do I flow doing what I do? If I don’t do it, I don’t flow. That’s me, channeling my own energy into my process while only sensing the process itself.
I love the characters in your pieces; can you explain where they come from as well as their symbolism? How would you describe your art?
They are there, I don’t know where from exactly. I have the feeling that they come as I am prepared to see them, but they have always been there in some of my dimensions or in all of them at the same time. Some come and go recurrently, they settle there, painting after painting until others come and so I go on discovering my own universe without asking myself where all that comes from, where it is or what’s behind… Because in all of my works I recognize myself, I see my own emotions, fears, anxieties, insecurities… and I also see my own dreams, my fantastical imaginary world, those details in which I feel embraced and protected, my own quest for balance between light and darkness… The need to feel that everything flows in that intuitive and improvised step by step, everything is appearing little by little, it is a very organic process deeply interconnected to the exploration of the emotions of the human being and the experience of life.
Are there any rituals you have when you are in the studio?
My most important ritual when I am creating is music, without a doubt. It is something permanent that is present throughout my day. I also include silence and mental quietness in the concept of music. The ayurvedic teas in winter and water with a little piece of lemon in summer. Wearing my old apron is also a ritual while I paint and the tiny little nap in the middle of the day.
What compels you to make art and where do you get the most inspiration?
It is basically my own need that drives me to create, my own need to find myself, to explore and manage my emotions. My way of experimentation and growth is fed in constant flow from the inside out and from the outside in, independent but connected to everything at the same time. Like an accordion that tries to subtly, compose a melodic song, or something similar. In the end it is a very personal process, it is my passion, it is everything and nothing at the same time that drives me to create. Thinking about the answers for this interview, I realized that what I do is always connected with the moment of the process in which I find myself. I also realized that creating is my main way of emotional survival, a kind of rescuing remedy. The meaning becomes deeper and deeper and it is always growing and gradually defining itself. As I am learning in this journey that is life, it is exciting to discover that day after day anything can inspire me, everything that goes through me in one way or another, everything that is inside of me is there, in what I do.
I have seen some of your large-scale paintings and murals; can you explain what draws you to work on these larger projects?
It is always exciting to work on a large-format painting; it is a challenge in all dimensions. Especially when you don’t have a previous project defined and you are advancing by improvising as a way of discovery, starting a dialogue between the canvas and yourself. It’s an almost mystical relationship, which gives life to everything that happens during the process until the painting feels complete and finished. Painting in large format amplifies everything so much that at times I feel like I live inside the canvas. My large paintings are the result of intense and long processes that give me the capacity of discovering a great party that is taking place in my imaginary universe.
Can you tell us a little about the highs and lows of living as a full time artist?
I’m always going to find more excitement than sadness in the fact of devoting my time to live a dream. I feel lucky to be in it, and success in itself is to live intensely because you feel that it comes from deep inside. If what you feel you need to do is also your way of life, you feel like you could be there always without anything else to worry about… It doesn’t mean it is simple or easy, or that I’m denying the dedication or the sacrifices you must make. It means that when you feel a little blue, which I believe is something normal for everybody; your sadness is relieved by the fact that you are living your dream.
‘Up the Stars’
‘Faun Bloody Tears’
‘The Seed of Fly Tamers’
‘The Seed of Poppin Flies’