SOFIA SALAZAR

Artist

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I am an Argentinian textile designer and illustrator, now living in the UK. My work revolves around the female figure, gender blurred limits and sexuality. There is also a bit of classical sculpture and greek mythology involved in my embroideries and traces of every art movement I love, in my quilted pieces. I'm obsessed with making and aim to create as much work as possible in order to, when taking a look at it all, see an accurate depiction of myself.

 

When did you start embroidering and drawing?

I probably started drawing by the time I started talking. Both my parents are artists and my mom used to work from home. We lived in a very small apartment so there was a lot of drawing and crafting done with my mom. Drawing and sketching mean so many things to me, it is an escape, a refuge and it is therapeutic too.

With embroidery I started only recently, maybe two years ago. In one of those endless summer days I found a hoop and tried it out. Embroidery is just as intuitive as drawing.

 

How do you find the balance between the vision you have and the mediums you are using?

I find it fascinating how much my work can change depending on the medium. I won't achieve the same style with a liner than with a pencil, a brush or an oil pastel, and I try to get the most out of that. So my process changes according to what I'm making. 

I don't know how much of a vision there is before I start... I mean I usually know if I'm going to be making a composition or if there's only going to be one figure occupying the space, but other than that I just start and once I start, I have to work with what's appearing in front of me.

I usually first sketch with pens a lot and then try to figure out a way to translate that work into objects. planning my embroideries is the only time when I use pencil and actually erase and correct bits until i get the cleanest design. not only because it takes much longer to finish a piece but also because I feel I need to give the embroidered line the importance it deserves. I try to use the least amount of lines necessary.

 

What inspired your style of work? 

 I think having studied textile design clearly influenced the kind of work I make. I almost never think of paintings; it's always wall hangings, Rugs, clothing, objects. I still feel much comfortable being called a designer, but I understand my work is something in the middle.

 

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Where do you get inspiration from? Are there any particular designers, artists, photographers, painters, drawers you look up to their works?

There are loads actually. Whenever I find someone new whose work I like, I feel both excited/inspired and anxious and devastated at the same time. It's definitely a feeling inside, like a passion, a burn.

I'm clearly inspired by Picasso, Cocteau, Matisse, Chillida, Schiele, The Bauhaus, Art Deco and modernism. I also love ancient civilizations and history. Humor and sexuality.

Japanese match boxes and Tibetan rugs. Old books and museums. Vintage erotica. 

I go to the library a lot and of course I do a lot of search online. Second hand bookstores usually provide a starting point for something new. And new materials. Trying new materials forces me to produce new work out of my comfort zone.

 

How long does it take to create a piece? What is the process being it?

Well, large embroidered canvases can take from a couple of days to a month, but I try to keep it between two and four days for a big piece. And a few hours for clothing. 

There are a lot of planning involved and steps required in my quilted or embroidered pieces but close to none in my drawings and collages.

 

Would you say that there is a main thread connecting all your artworks and if so, which is it?

It might sound silly, but I'm the one in the middle. My work is a reflection of what lives in my head to a level that it's almost like a journal, a diary. There's a lot of sex and gender issues and nude women. There are traces of artists I love, of cultures I read about, of stories I hear or songs I listen to. Myths I love or characters I admire. there're hints of my desires, and registers of my moods and surroundings.

A lot of times I work because I need to, I have to, I have no other option. Like an itch I need to scratch. I need to get it out of me. So I would say it's pretty narcissistic in a way...

But theme wise I would like to think there's a bit of humor, gender portrayals and sexuality.

 

What kind of conversations would you like your pieces to spark?

If they can encourage a conversation about sex and the need to get rid of established gender conceptions, beauty standards and/or lifestyle expectations, that would be amazing. 

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