Work by Daniela Montecinos will be featured in the exhibition Transits.
How did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Being an artist or not was not really a question for me. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I was exposed to arts (especially music and theatre, for family reasons) pretty much all my life. So, it seemed like a perfectly natural path to explore and experience. When I was confronted to choosing a career after finishing high school, I applied to Architecture and Design School at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile, which has a reputation of offering good grounds for artists to be, other than architects. After two and a half years, I realized that I wanted to devote myself to painting and I left my architectural studies to pursue a B.A. at Mount Holyoke College under a full scholarship, where I graduated magna cum laude in Studio Art. I then moved to New York and attended the Art Student’s League of NY to further my studies.
What made you specifically interested in painting movement?
I have always liked painting and drawing from nature, from the model. Movement just seems like a natural element after observation from life, and it is what gives the image its main quality: It is alive, therefore, it moves. It is a really interesting challenge trying to capture movement in the two dimensional language of drawing and painting. The transition of bringing the three dimensional qualities into the limits of two dimensional is fascinating as a process.
Your exhibition was inspired by your stay in France. What is it about living there that has stuck with you after ten years that continues to inspire your art?
I do work from memories, from images that become mixed with daily experiences. There is material taken from my own photographs and others often combined with subjects from direct observation. Since an early age I’ve been a traveler, a wanderer, often away from home. My viewpoint, even if I may work from life, has the flavor of nostalgia and of longing. Memories from distant places, people, and events are inevitably intertwined with my present. A deja vu, a feeling that something’s missing, is somewhat present in my work.
How have your Chilean roots influenced your art?
My roots are always present in all my experiences, especially when I’m far from “home,” which today is France, but also Chile. Chile, being where the foundation of all my childhood and youth memories come from, is an inseparable factor in my creation. Working on the latest drawings for this show, I have been especially sensitive to what my native country goes through these days, commemorating the 40th anniversary or the military coup d’etat and subsequent 18 year bloody dictatorship. There has been an effort and a duty of keeping memory alive through documentaries, interviews, and victim’s testimonies show on television which I have been following closely. Bring up the injured memory of Chile has given shape to the new drawings which should well come into dialogue with the existing silhouettes from Transits.
As the new artist in residence at Loyola, how has your interaction with students, faculty, and Loyolans influenced your new show, Transits?
I have always enjoyed teaching and I treasure the moments in the drawing class, where students and teachers share their individual progress and struggles. I carry this experience with me into the studio, even though the activity of an artist tends to be very lonely. I’m not sure I can say there is a direct influence on the content of my work. I believe that having the time, the space, and all the facilities to work in good conditions as now in Loyola helps a great deal to get work done. Students are very attentive and, in general, responsible. But, I must say that I’m under some pressure before the show, so I’ve spent a good deal of the time on my own in the studio.
What have you learned or taken away from your experiences at Loyola thus far?
I realize that the university is open, serious, and committed in bringing to its students and faculty the best of resources, infrastructure, and human qualities, thus building a solid reputation. For me it is an honor to be part of this experience, and I hope to add my drop of contribution to the whole.