Briefly describe the work you do.
Art is an indivisible part of the people, and as an art worker, I must participate in my social communities. My works are conceptually based and socially engaged. I work with different materials as needed such as wasted wood, embroidery, photography, and text.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
As a Mexican artist, I consider that Latin America has a very particular vision of the world (history, politics, cultural activity, religion, etc.), and how there exists a conceptual variation to produce art, to live, to believe, and to survive as a community. I have an undergraduate diploma in graphic design and visual communication, two Masters degrees in visual arts, one in Mexico City and the second one in Vancouver. I am now studying a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, and I consider that the influence of all of these different approaches to creation has formed how I can connect with people through art.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I work at home most of the time. My family is there and I love that. It keeps me in perfect balance between life and work. I think the studio creates a distance between you and your surroundings. I am not against art studios and I even used to have one. My “studio” is being with my family, sharing a coffee with friends, walking in the street, and observing situations taking place around me and, of course, sitting down and working on projects, mostly at my kitchen table.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I consider art practice as a job, and artists as workers. Artists as workers and part of a society, have the same responsibilities than other workers, with the understanding that workers are people that contribute to society in a collective synergy with their work.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
It depends on the day and the project. Sometimes it’s better if I work in the mornings or evenings. The most part of the time I work at night. Most of my life I’ve been working at night because in Mexico City I used to live far from the Zocalo (downtown) and cultural activities, and when I got back home it was always late and I would spend my time working. Working at night has become a sort of habit.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
I have four years living in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and living in the diaspora changed my perspectives and notions about what kind of art I really want to do. Living outside of Mexico reinforced my ideologies, theories, and art production. As a Mexican, and Latin American person I became more conscious of all this knowledge and background I have within me and this has made me understand and explore the idea of living, working, and producing art and theory through the diaspora.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Lots of people had an impact on the work I do and my life, but mostly my family. I come from a very close and united family, with all of our problems and charms. The connection between my family and society as a whole has marked me as a person and artist. I try to be aware about what happens everyday in my country and how Mexican society (including my family) goes through all the events in my country. I think family, as the closest people in my life, are the most relevant in terms of how they impact my worldview and work. And now, having my own family, my wife, who is a filmmaker and artist, and our son, have become part of this network of closest persons that impact me everyday.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
My undergraduate diploma is in graphic design and visual communication, and I thought that graphic design would be the direction that I was going to pursue. I began to interrogate the ethics, human behaviour, and the nature of products that you create for mass consumption and for commercial purposes, which led me to visual arts. Being an artist was my other interest, and graphic design was the first step that pulled me into the direction of artist.
Carlos Colín was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1980. He grew up in Mexico City. He studied Visual Communication and Design (2000-2004), and a Master’s of Fine Arts at the National School of Fine Art (UNAM) (2009-2011), in Mexico City. He recently completed a second Master’s of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC (2011-2013), and is now pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies. His research consists in investigating how contemporary art, artists, and art institutions are involved in current social movements and, by extension, how art contributes to social change and social activism in Latin America. As a Latin American artist, Carlos Colín brings perspectives on the discourse of how art evolves inside societies, how it finds expressions, and how art changes over time, as well as the implications this has for Latin America. Colín is represented by Fazakas Gallery in Vancouver. He participated at the LAB in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2015; Vancouver Art Gallery Auction, and ArtToronto Art Fair in 2014; Satellite Gallery and Back Gallery Project in Vancouver, BC in 2013; Biennial of Painting Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City in 2011; International Festival of Contemporary Art in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2008; and the Art Biennial of Glass, Museum of Glass, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico in 2008 and 2004.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.