Interview by Jenny Morris with Paula Garrido and Ignacio “Nacho” Pérez Kenchington
JM: First of all, tell our readers a little bit about yourselves!
PG: We are Paula Garrido and Ignacio Pérez Kenchington, a creative art couple from Santiago, Chile. 9 years ago, we started working together when we made an exchange: Nacho as an Art Director would teach me Photoshop and I, the visual artist, would teach him photo screen printing. Then we started experimenting with those techniques. We had similar visions in the way we approached creativity, graphics and optic art. We also liked music a lot. So, those things joined us. With the years, we started experimenting with different techniques and tools that allowed us to develop our artistic visions. First we started working with black light and fluorescent colors. Then Nacho brought in 3D glasses, so we started experimenting with 3D, and my work started to be affected by these techniques. Then we started experimenting with RGB lights with sound sensors, which allowed us to start working directly with music and start controlling the rhythm of lights with a DMX controller. This started giving movement to our artwork, aided by the use of 3D, optical effects, sound and projection (something that we started experimenting with last year). All these elements, analogue and digital, have started to unite our careers. We also like to travel, we like to experiment, and the last 5 years we’ve been traveling to different screen printing residences in different parts of the world, like Berlin, Lima, New York, Auckland. We started working and experimenting with artists from different countries and cultures, learning new techniques. We also enjoy experiences, which is why we aim to make our artwork an experience for the spectators.
NK: We also enjoy nature a lot, something that we try to share in our artwork. We usually go to nature to get inspiration and then try to transmit it and share it through our work. We travel together, so we get inspired by the same places and use these destinations to shape our own techniques. Now we are working together in our last art piece called “Balance,” which we brought to New York this summer (2017).
JM: How did you come to arrive at GPL?
NK: Before coming to New York in 2015, we started doing some research on the internet for screen printing studios and also asked some friends to recommend print spaces. Many of them spoke to us about GPL. We really liked the studio when first we saw the pictures, but also all the things that were going on: classes, blog, memberships and it looked really professional, so we decide to take a membership. This is our second year here and we will be presenting a project in September.
PG: One of the friends that recommended us to this space was Carolina Peñafiel, director of Local Project (where we presented our art show “Balance” last June). She was working with Renzo Ortega, who, at that time, was working at GPL and was also curating a show I was going to be part of (Stamp Manifest) in the Lab’s gallery. Therefore, thinking of working on the art pieces for the show in the Print Lab and then showing them in the gallery was also something that motivated me to take a membership here. Also, the idea of working in places with a lot of diversity: art printing by artists and also industrial printing. So in a way, it was very interesting to work between these two ways of printing.
JM: I would love for you to tell readers a bit about your process. How did you come to the juxtaposition of screen printing and 3D?
PG: Before meeting Nacho and complementing each other by working together, I always printed with a lot of layers in a more freestyle way compared to the structure of engraving, so I approached the technique in a more “pictorial way,” something I learned from my dad who is a painter. I started printing with many, many layers, always trying to get close to the lenticular or hologram effect, until Nacho brought some 3D glasses to the studio. As he saw, they worked really well with the colors I used in my artwork and knew I was trying to get to that effect. I always wanted to achieve that and thought is was impossible, so imagine my happiness when this happened! Since this happened 7 years ago, we’ve been studying the 3D ChromaDepth technique, finding infinite possibilities in our artwork.
NK: Something really interesting about 3D and installations as well is that it involves the spectator directly with no need for introductions to explain what it means to “see in 3D.” It’s something physical that connects the audience with the artwork right away. We have been researching this for many years, almost 8 years, that has given us knowledge on how this 3D art behaves. This finally adds a new tool to the artwork experience, the same as if it were lighting, soundscapes, video, etc.
PG: Something interesting about working with technology, is that it is always evolving, something that allows us to always being evolving with it, such as with our experience with 3D and lighting in our work.
JM: Can you tell us more about the running themes in your work and how you came to the theme of the art show? What does “balance” mean to you within this context?
PG: I feel that the subjects included in this art show “Balance” have a lot to do with equilibrium in different areas. We have a main subject that has to do with the care and consciousness of and for the environment and ecology, and how we can spread the word, in our case about virgin places from Chile, our country, so people can know about them, recognize them and protect something that we do have, something that exists. That was something we wanted to include as part of a balance… how man relates to nature. That’s a big subject: how human beings can live in equilibrium with nature, with the earth. Then, we also have balance between us as a duo, what have we come up with after working for the last 9 years. This is the first time we’ve done an art piece together, so how screen printing comes together with digital through video and mapping. How these two languages can interact to create an equilibrium.
NK: Also Balance has something to do with the sound in a way, thinking about how you use the balance tool to move the sounds from left to right, and that relates to a soundtrack we developed with a Chilean music label, Regional, to add a new layer to the artwork. Besides all of these elements, Balance also has a lot to do with how we mix analogue and digital techniques and how these interact to add two different visions and create an encounter between them. We can create this ambience, this little piece of our culture, with all these tools, elements and layers.
JM: The art show was amazing! Any ideas on what you will do next?
PG: We are happy to have many upcoming projects, both in Chile and New York for exhibitions! The first one has to do with the first 10 years of our careers. We want to do a retrospective with this decade of art, traveling, sharing and experimenting, with many friends and artists around the world. The other plan has to do with a teaching method we’ve created in the past 9 years of work. We are also screen printing teachers in Chile and we seek to plant seeds doing screen printing classes in Chile with all we’ve learned in the different places and residencies that we’ve been to. For New York, we have plans to present a show at Gowanus Print Lab soon. We want to share our work here after two years of working, experimenting and sharing with the GPL community, so that you can enjoy this immersive art experience from South America.
NK: We are also working with a music duo from Berlin, who invited us to develop the graphic and visual part of their project. Another plan is that we are going to make art in public spaces in Santiago and NYC, so we are planning a couple of projects in those areas. We are also always planning things with our friends from Mesh Print Studio in New Rochelle and Local Project Art Space in Queens for the next time we come back to NYC.
JM: Lastly, what is your best advice for the young emerging artists out there?
PG: From my perspective, I think the best advice to anyone thinking of dedicating their life to this area is to persevere a lot, put forth a lot of effort, because people won’t always understand why you chose this path. Second: innovate. I think it’s very important to dare to make different things, create, believe, share, experiment and always try to make different things and believe in yourself, believe in what you do and what life can give you. Also, putting love into what you do is very important.
NK: I also believe, besides what Paula mentioned, that experimenting is very important, giving shape to what you want to communicate. I also think that learning is very important, either by taking lessons, sharing or collaborating with other artists or using the tools you’ve learned in the past… everything you take and learn from your past can be useful!
Check out Nacho’s work here, and Paula’s work here!