Interview: Margarita Brum

First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?

My name is Margarita Brum. I live in Montevideo, Uruguay. Trained as a photographer and filmmaker, I devote myself to experimenting in the world of collage with different sets of materials. I also work as a freelance audiovisual producer.

Your works are very vibrant and colorful and you mix beautifully different media, how would you describe your style? And how quickly you did find your ”style”?

I find it hard to describe my style. I think there’s a wide range of influences and references. Photography, for instance, is very present in my work. Many times it is from a character in a photograph that I build the rest of the picture.

You have used a lot of various materials in your artworks, so how did you choose the material to work with for your works?

First I decide whether I am going to work on paper or canvas. For drawing and painting, I would go for paper. If I will embroider or sew I prefer a fabric canvas. The rest I decide on the fly, often based on trial and error. I have a collection of boxes with sets of materials ready for use.

In your artworks, what are the most important things/elements to yourself?

I don’t know if they are the most important, but some recurrent elements would be people, the faces of the people photographed, flowers, and houses. The idea of a natural surrounding a human figure and his whereabouts is often present in my work.

When you start a new piece, do you have a clear vision of where to start or what you are going to do?

Most of the time I start from an idea of composition that I have in my head and draw it in a notebook in a very schematic way, just to remember it. Then I look for the base elements, i.e. if I know that I need the face of a woman, a couple, or whatever, I go looking for that photo and from there I add the rest of the elements. I build from a very basic idea and along the process, I try to find out what works and what doesn’t. You could say that once I have the sketch my creative process is mostly intuitive.

About mixing different media, if you think your works, can you name a song that reflects your works? And then, why that song? What kind of threads do you find between the song and your work?

I couldn’t name a song in particular. I think my work is built on very diverse cultural influences: musical, literary, cinematographic, etc. I could name a few musicians whose work inspires me, who I listen to while I work, or who go around in my head while I’m at it. Sinead O’Connor, Patti Smith, Lhasa De Sela are some you may know in Finland. Then there are some local artists too like Eduardo Darnauchans, Eduardo Mateo or Gabo Ferro.

How critical you are, and how easy or hard is it for you to finish an artwork? Do you ever get burnt out on a piece, and what do you do to keep working and being productive?

I really enjoy the process but not always the result. There are pieces that I abandon at one point because I don’t like how they are turning out. I have no problem with unfinished things, sometimes I pick them up a while later, and sometimes they are left unfinished for good.

On occasions, I have a finished vision of the piece so I am very clear about when it is ready. Other times that moment is not that obvious so I keep trying, adding, and removing elements. Sometimes the works I feel most satisfied with are not the ones that other people like the most, so I doubt my criteria a little, but well… It’s not easy to find a balance between being hypercritical or being too condescending with one’s own work.

How important is the meaning you believe a piece of art has to you? Do you want your viewers to understand your art or know why you made it?

I think that the artist does his part, he needn’t give more explanations than those he considers necessary. The other part must be done by whoever sees the work, who gives meaning to what he observes and has a particular feeling. I find it interesting how regardless of the medium chosen sometimes the message may be obvious and direct while others’ multiple interpretations may be admitted. In any case what is important is the communication link between the person who creates the work and who receives it, whether the work provokes something from a mostly rational or sensory level.

How do your own works make you feel when you look at them ready?

Not all the pieces make me feel the same. Some are more personal, because they contain photos or family memories, and make me feel connected with my origin, with belonging to a place, to a group…

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?

It would be two: longing and pop.

Margarita Brum around the Internet

Instagram: @criaturacorazon