There’s no room for a neutral attitude when it comes to the paintings of Andrea Pasos, a young Mexican artist. Dark, even dramatic, they deserve being called captivating. Deep emotions and vivid details find expression on the canvas through color and shape.
A short interview with Andrea was not enough to plunge into her diverse sources of inspiration, but I appreciated every minute of our videochat when we covered concepts from both daily life and metaphysics. Her relationship is natural, deep and filled with tenderness and passion at the same time. Driven by the unconscious, her art invites us to a maze of feelings and signs, expressed in a language of daring symbolism.
Andrea in Instagram (@andreapasosart).
Our conversation is a dialogue interrupted for 20 years: the last time we saw each other was in the days of careless childhood. What do the memories of this period mean to you?
Andrea: There are so many ways to approach it! In retrospective, childhood is painted in pure, nice and easy. Back then you run for exploration and experiments, you’re not afraid… Cause you know not that much, probably. But at the same time you make your mistakes, find your fears and overcome traumas. The mere birth is one of the strongest experiences: we come to this world dirty and crying. That’s very strong and carnal.
Just like an unconscious cry of the soul. Seems like we’re not that glad about this destination since the start, but we get used to this life’s playground.
A: Kind of. In fact, children are much more mature than adults think. And when we grow up, get “serious”, we witness (and active take part in) the same challenges as when life started: being accepted or not by the ones around, complying with norms and normatives. We are tempered every day and never stop accumulating experiences. But with time, it absorbs unlimited numbers of rules and taboos. Keeping a playful mood is very important. Being able to reach the abstraction level and switch perspectives are nice abilities as well.
And what about your symbolism in your works, is it rooted in the first years of life?
A: We tend to pull a lot from there. I use my fantasies and symbolism to tell stories. My characters, themes, ideas may travel between the works. Some are linked to childhood, others arise from my fresh experience.
It’s for sure that your art was perceived as moving and thrilling. Slightly disruptive. Is that something you want to awaken in the ones around or rather an impulse that comes from the inside and needs expression?
A: My works are mainly introspective, I don’t paint to make someone feel something or to attract attention. What I am looking for is to create a dialogue, tell stories, share, but never force. It is the painting that controls me and not au contraire. You can have an idea in mind, the intention to express it in a concrete way, but when you touch the canvas with the brush – everything is transformed and you let yourself be guided by the process and the work.
Sharing and never forcing… A precious practice for interpersonal relationships.
But going back to your style and goals, what are the main concepts you address? And how does it feel to see a finished work, a visual narrative?
A: Mostly, the experiences attract me are universal: childhood, fear, interpersonal relationships, secrets, games, the struggle of both spirit and personality… I address reality from different angles. I think that allows me to have any plot accessible and not be bound by a concrete concept. Life is complex and what makes painting attractive is that you can always explore and deepen, combine contradictory experiences and redefine them. What an artwork is done, I feel satisfaction and relief to see the entanglement of my mind finally being understood and synthesized in an image.
Your style is very authentic and sincere, but most of the works I know are dark or in black and white. Is there a meaning assigned to the colours?
A: If you notice, there are always details of vibrant colours or strong tones: the idea of light in the dark. Previously, I painted more closed, dark spaces – seems like that was my first stage. Now I’m exploring my comfort zone from the outside. I use gardens and nocturnal mazes as stages for these visual stories. I’m still experimenting: I started working on my first daytime landscape painting. As I evolve, the work itself asks me to explore new characters and settings that are added to my pictorial imagination.
Now I know a little more about painting that was part of our video conference in a very delicate way. An under process work behind Andrea emits lightfully vivid green and blue tones.
In these terms your “The Imposter” is exemplary: a night garden contrasting with the luminescence of the lights, the man with a rabbit mask and the animals around him… But why “The Imposter”? What is the story of your characters?
A: That’s a story about some hares from a nocturnal meadow that are attracted to the light. Suspiciously nearby there’s a man wearing a suit and a rabbit mask. The man symbolizes a person in power aiming to pass for a “hare” while setting a trap for them. Something like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Rabbits, although intelligent, symbolize vulnerability, curiosity and innocence in the painting. Hence, the name “The Imposter.” The painting refers to both human nature and power relations.
Andrea Pasos's painting “The Imposter” (oil on canvas) was purchased by a private client shortly after it was presented in January 2020.
And artistic lifestyle is often viewed as chaotic and even messy. No fixed hours, timings, agendas, and other attributes of office work, let’s say. How is your routine?
A: For sure, the profession allows you to have control over your schedules and flexibility to work on different projects at the same time. It may end up being messy and chaotic at times due to the nature of the creative process: sometimes the ideas come cascading and you get consumed working. Others times, they don’t visit you that much. But generally I try to work on a schedule that allows me to find silence and clarity of mind. Outside that it is a routine with a lot of freedom, but to be fully enjoyed it also requires discipline.
Andrea Pasos in Instagram (@andreapasosart).