Inside the Studio

Luisa Mesa

What is your medium?
I work in varied media, including, but not limited to, ink on paper, oil markers on wood panel, spray paint and digital images.  I utilize whatever material will allow me to express what I am feeling at the moment.

What themes do you pursue?
All my work is intuitive.  It is meditative and the process has a calming effect on me.  I allow the work to unfold and when it’s finished it “speaks” out.  Others often interpret my abstract work as what you see under a microscope, such as bacteria and marine life.  In my image-based pieces, I often use old family photographs, as well as shots of places that I feel attracted to.  These works are personal and through them I explore past relationships.  The memories that these photographs bring forth, and the imagined realities that I create digitally by removing them from their original context, all serve to process their meaning.  Although these pieces are emotionally charged, I consider them intuitive as well, because I allow my subconscious to dictate the order and placement of the images that compose them, and the final piece is always a surprise to me.  Moreover, even in these image-based pieces there is a first and last layer of repetitive drawing.  I frequently create large-scale installations; the theme of which is that “everything is connected to everything else.”

How many years as an artist?
As a child I was always creating things and drawing, so I can honestly say that I have always been an artist.  While life took me in a different direction, I studied art independently for years, by taking workshops in photography, painting and drawing.  Then, thirteen years ago, I returned to school and earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts.  Ever since, I have been a fulltime artist.

Sketchbook? Do you use one? What type?
I rarely use a sketchbook, although there is always one lying around at home and in my studio.  I mainly use them to write down ideas before I forget them.  Also, when I come across an image that seems interesting to me I cut it out and keep it in my sketchbook.  These books are spiral-bound.

Most important tool you use?
Oil markers and/or ink pens because every one of my pieces begins with a layer of repetitive drawing.

Where is your studio?
My studio is in an industrial warehouse district known as the Bird Road Art District.  It is a 1200 square foot warehouse space with 20-foot ceilings, concrete floors and a bay door big enough to fit a truck.  I just moved there about six months ago… It’s the studio I always dreamed of, and it sort of found me.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Just do it… It will reveal itself.

Process> Concept or Process<Concept
Definitely, Process > Concept.

Why do you make art?
I make art because I HAVE to make it… It is a tremendously strong impulse that is ever-present.  When I make art all is good in my life.

Art school or self-taught?
Art school

Favorite font?

Don’t have any.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I usually work in silence because my work is meditative.

iTunes, spotify, records?

Everyone has a vice. Care to call yourself out?
I can’t say I really have a vice, but I do love red wine.

What’s around the corner from your place?
A Cuban restaurant, a bunch of warehouses, other artists’ studios, auto body shops.

Favorite sound?
Ocean waves hitting the shore.

Favorite smell?
Coffee in the morning.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
At home with my husband, my African Grey parrot and my two dogs.  I frequently attend art exhibitions, and I love the movies and dining out.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
I would probably be a writer or a psychologist.

Food or sleep?

Greatest achievement?
Going back to school and earning my degree in art.

Finish the sentence: “I would never be caught dead …”
without my iPhone…

Would you rather be able to make a living as an artist now or become famous after you die?
I would rather be able to make a living as an artist now!

Would you rather see your art on a t-shirt or on a billboard?

Astrology or astronomy?

Would you ever figure model naked?
No… I don’t think so.

Religion or pop culture?

What do you collect?
I collect tools, spray paints, nuts and bolts, lenses…

Favorite contemporary artist?

I love Tom Brydelsky because his work has an otherworldly feel to it… It transcends our every day reality.

Favorite paper type?
Arches watercolor paper.

Use anything other than paint?
Oil markers and ink.

Oil or acrylic?

Figurative or abstract?

Photo references?
I use my own and old family photographs

Is painting dead?
I don’t think painting will ever die.

Favorite brush?
Palette knifes?

What do you wear while you paint?
Jeans and a T-shirt

Painting Inside or Outside?

Monet or Manet?