Lina Condes is a contemporary American artist and sculptor. To date, Condes has exhibited around the world to date including shows at Christies, Art Basel, The Istanbul Contemporary, and more. Today we had the opportunity to chat with her…
Let’s start with the news of your sculpture ‘The Thinker’ currently showcasing at the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild Summer Exhibition, which has brought you to San Diego. What has it been like so far?
The buzz is definitely there! It has taken a while structuring and building it, but it has certainly paid off. The preorder list is overwhelming!
Your career as an artist started off with an MFA in Fine Arts, Interior and Furniture Design from Kiev University of Technology and Design. How has this helped shape you into the painter/sculptor you are today?
I think I became a painter and a sculptor long before that. I still have my first sketches since I was 3/4 years old. I remember when I was little we had this random magazine with a Picasso painting inside and I was staring at it for weeks and analyzing what the artist wanted to say. I then realized my life mission during my school years when I won competitions for the best poster on various social and environmental topics! When I was 12 years old, I first saw another world, the world of art. We visited Budapest, the largest collection of works of foreign art in Hungary – the Hungarian National Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. This made me want to paint and study art history.
When I was a student of the Kiev National University of Technology and Design, I received a diploma for the best master’s work. During summer practice I was always singled out and set as an example for the best sketching. Indeed I learn all of the computer programs I am working in nowadays, and I am grateful for all the sleepless nights when I was repetitively sketching the skeleton of the human body, as well as the knowledge that I am using today to create my sculptures. The ability to fully visualize the 3D sculpture inside of my head before I can put it on paper or a program. The most important thing they taught me was that I am the creator of my own environment and nothing is impossible.
A lot of your work can be described as being abstract, emotional, and powerful.Please could you take us through your work process from start to finish?
I love to create. Creating is the most peaceful experience which gives me energy and drives. It is my relaxation and the purpose of living on this planet. I use blank pages as the best way to record my thoughts, fantasize about the future, and most importantly express my ideas, so I can remember them later, and use them toward future projects. I enjoy reviving my imagination using the 3D programs.
I get satisfaction and a powerful energy blast when my idea becomes a reality and most importantly when you can touch it as a physical object. I enjoy feeling myself as a creator. I get into the studio with my team and we start to work on drafts, designs, and figures.. talking about future concepts, discussing the details, arguing, and of course creating! Experimenting with colors, sizes, and materials. We set impossible tasks and aim to find solutions. The whole process is a journey we all enjoy!
You are most well known for your sculptures that depict stick-like figures. How has your style of work changed over the years?
Conciseness and simplicity of forms are always the main features of that contemporary style for me. I always wanted to show the complexity of the idea, the allegory behind the piece using the shape, color, or material. I believe within the time I could make it better. My new series of works are entirely dedicated to architecture, movement through sports activities – which I find fundamental to my research – thinking about our sped-up reality and the daily competition of the contemporary human.
These sculptures are strongly inspired by the Italian Renaissance. In my anatomic studies, I investigate the lineage of traditional figurative sculptures by masters such as Giorgio Vasari and Leonardo Da Vinci and update it using contemporary technologies. In a way, I work with metal and wood as if they were bronze and marble. Today I am more focused on ‘mental states’, different emotions, and psychological conditions that I attempt to represent by blending materials, shape, and color.
This has been a busy year for you already. How are you feeling about the future? What’s next?
I am still working on the sports series. Skiers, golfers, tennis players, basketball players.. you name it. Imagine the huge monumental sculptures in front of stadiums before the basketball or soccer games, skiers on the slopes at the Olympics, huge chrome metal tennis players welcoming you at the US Open!
You can check out Lina’s Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/lina_condes/?hl=en