Drawing inspiration from the graceful landscapes of her homeland, Peruvian artist Cecilia Arrospide gives the viewer a glimpse into her vibrant world. Cecilia’s expertise includes colorful collages, abstract paintings, and black-and-white ink drawings. With a deep love and deft perception of color, Cecilia creates immersive artwork that reflects her motto of painting for pleasure. Throughout her life, Cecilia has cultivated her passion for art. As a schoolgirl, she often drew pictures for classmates. Her love of painting grew as she matured; during her two years at the Catholic University of Peru, where she specialized in literature, she incorporated it into her studies by educating herself in the history of art and honing her skills through private sessions with skilled painters. After graduating, Cecilia settled down with her children but continues to participate in painting classes several days a week. In 1998, Cecilia created her first solo exhibition, the success of which drove her to hold one every two years. In 2009, Cecilia expanded her artistic horizons by incorporating collages into her work. Here, Cecilia opens up about color, collage, and the art of painting for pleasure.
TAO: As someone who enjoys working with others, do you find the solitary nature of painting a burden?
Cecilia Arrospide (CA): In a way, yes, because painting is very solitary, and I like to talk to people. I counter this by coaching others in painting and giving workshops on creativity.
TAO: Your most recent series feature the theme of nature. How has nature inspired your work?
CA: Nature deeply inspires me, especially because I live very close to the ocean. I call one of my series “Reflejos,” which has abstract work that references flowers and nature. Another series of mine is called “The Ocean, the Waves,” and is inspired by the beach. Swimming in the blue colors and depths of the waves inspired me to dedicate a series to them.
TAO: Your paintings and collages demonstrate your innate understanding of color. How has this impacted your work?
CA: Once, my dearest professor told me to paint what I feel and the colors that I love, and when a show/exhibition approaches, to select the ones that form a series. I love color by itself. I feel I am an heir of the French painter Henry Matisse, whose motto was “painting for pleasure.” I rejoice in colors; I love them all. Sometimes, I paint two or three pictures in blue, reds, and whites. I find the color for the theme and category. The name of Reflejos reflects what I do because it shows my passion for reflecting emotion and feeling through colors. Sometimes they are bold, and sometimes more dreamlike, embodying a mystical serenity. Other times, the colors are abstract in order I love color by itself. I feel I am an heir of the French painter Henry Matisse, whose motto was “painting for pleasure.” I rejoice in colors; I love them all. to personify architecture, or softer for flowers and space. My goal is to have my viewer become immersed in the art. That is what my work is all about.
TAO: You have been featured in exhibitions throughout the world. Have these different cultures influenced your work?
CA: Definitely. For instance, about three years ago, I visited Parisian museums, and was highly influenced by the wooden sculptures and painters I discovered there. If you are an artist, you cannot be the same after traveling. Before I began working with collages, I was in Barcelona, where I saw Picasso’s collages on wrapping papers. The patterns and designs stayed in my mind, and I began working with a model. I drew ink drawings based on that work, including a series about the different phases of womanhood. It also inspired me to begin working with collages. Another time, I visited beaches in the north of France where impressionist painters were working. The colors inspired my series on umbrellas, sand, and the ocean.
TAO: How do you continue to gain artistic experience throughout your life?
CA: I nourish myself with lots of reading. Right now I’m delving into neuroscience because of all the creativity involved in the subject. It has helped me lead workshops on creativity, which I believe is a process that can be cultivated. We all possess creativity, but you must channel it; you must be holding a pencil or brush when the inspiration comes. It’s all about working hard, studying hard, and—most of all—loving what you do. Once again, this is why my motto, like Matisse’s, is “painting for pleasure.”