1.Describe your first memory of making or viewing art.
When I was about five years old, I walked around with a large envelope with my paper dolls collection. We call them “Cucas” in Ecuador. After a while, I started drawing my own Cucas and discovered quiet moments (making lines, erasing, outlining, coloring, cutting, and connecting to oneself) that were extremely sublime and satisfying. I was hooked!
2. Who are some of your role models, and what about them do you find inspiring?
My parents separated when I was four. I saw my mom as being an independent, hardworking, and confident woman who inspired me through her actions. Much later, I realized that the sculptures my father had been making were of Chinese-inspired landscapes. As an adult, I later realized a connection between my work and his.
Growing up, I often visited the native markets. My favorite was the weekend market in Otavalo in the Ecuadorian Andes. It was like going to an outdoor museum. It was my happy place, always colorful and vibrant. I was always inspired by and admired how these artists and artisans worked with local materials.
3. How would you describe your artwork and the ideas that compel you as an artist?
My work addresses ideas of cultural interaction and interpretation and the commonalities we share both in our relationship with nature and with each other. I was born in Ecuador to Chinese parents. Before coming to New York for college, I lived in Ecuador and Macau. I include my insights regarding these cultural interactions and commonalities in my work by layering materials, identities, histories, and languages.
4. What materials and methods do you use?
I’ve been using encaustic (heated beeswax, resin, and pigment) as my main material for my paintings, sculptures, and installations. Each of my paintings has 25 to 30 layers of encaustic, and I add different materials (rice paper, volcanic ash, metal leaf, circuit boards material) in between each layer. I use a heat gun to fuse each layer of encaustic after it is applied. Materials in my work become cultural signifiers.
I also have a body of work that I call “Strangers,” where I bead onto kitchen strainers. Lately, I’m also making tapestries. In general, I’m very curious and like to learn new techniques and experiment with materials.
5. What do you see as the role of an artist in society?
To ask questions.
6. What art have you seen recently that would you recommend everyone see? (Where is the work/how can we view it?)
Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, at the Whitney Museum
7. What books are you reading now or do you recommend?
The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
8. What advice would you give to a student and/or another artist?
Take small sure steps, constantly reflect, create your own opportunities, support others, have mentors, get used to rejections, dance a lot, and enjoy the journey.
9. Where can we see more of your art? (Your website, gallery website, Instagram, etc.)
IG - CECILESTUDIO
10. Describe your current or upcoming projects/exhibitions.
I’m participating in an artist residency at Urban Field Station, examining the connection between immigrant communities and city parks.
I’m also doing a fellowship researching Blue and Whiteware in collecting the Hispanic Society Museum and Library.
My public art installation EL DORADO - The New Forty-Niners is installed at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor until March 28, 2021.
I’m in a group exhibition titled Process to Project at the
Jamaica Arts Center for Arts and Learning, until March 20, 2021.
I’ll be in a group show at Ely Center of Contemporary.
Art - Embody, curated by Krista Scenna, in New Haven, CT. March 7 – April 18, 2021.