The Peru-born, Philadelphia-based artist puts a creative new spin on camouflage. Take a close look at the images above — you'll see an outline of an arm or maybe an outstretched finger à la Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. Here, Cecilia talked to us about her work and, for the art enthusiasts reading, gave us her can't-miss art magazines and websites.
I wanted to be an artist when…I think I had been an artist for a long time before I realized I wanted art to be my career and life. As far as I remember, I was seven or eight when I started to produce objects with an art sense and purpose.
My influences are…The muses change as we grow. Van Gogh, Diego Rivera, the Northern Renaissance artists and the classics were my heroes when I was a young art student. Later came Anselm Kiefer, Frida Kahlo, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois. Now the Russian artists neglected by Stalin, William Kentridge and Grayson Perry are among other the ones I respect the most.
My style is…My photographic work is based on the theme of relocation and adjustment and I use body painting to perform. In the photos, I am the subject and the photographer. Previous to this Landscape series, I interpreted animals and plants. I think the source is my love for nature.
And the process is…A photography session starts at 7 AM. We start to work on the body painting right away and finish around 2 or 3 PM. This is parallel to light measure, etc. The actual shooting is less than 15 minutes.
Most challenging work I've ever done…An installation in the forest of Lake Cooroibah in Australia, which I did all by myself. Knowing that the snakes there were poisonous — certainly unforgettable. My favorite work is the installation I did at a beautiful palazzo at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
When people see my work, I hope they...Devote a minute.
The one thing I can't live without as an artist…A pencil.
If I could own one work by another artist…I cannot bring myself to imagine that, but let's say I would love to live right next door to the Morgan Library in New York so I could see Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches and Mozart's handwriting every single day.
Best career advice I've ever received…Every time I despair, I remember the following saying: "Art chose you." So I continue working….
A good work of art should always...Be seen by all.
My must-read art magazines and websites…Sculpture magazine, Art Nexus, Arte Al Día, Asia Art Pacific, Transitions and Exit from Spain. But my reading material right now is Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam poetry. And I consult Jorge Luis Borges and Antonio Cisneros poetry with the same frequency that one consults with the pillow. All my doubts find solace there.
Up next…In June, I have a solo exhibit at the Osma Museum in Lima and am participating in the Icastica biennial in Arezzo, Italy. In November, I have another solo show in San Petersburg's Vladimir Palace.
Dreaming Rose, 2009, first slide, and Elusive Paradise, 2010, by Cecilia Paredes