Maria de la O Garrido

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I’m from Andalucía, Spain and I’ve lived in the UK since 2011.
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
When I was a child, I used to live in a flat that was adjacent to my grandma Catalina’s flat. She had a painting of herself in the living room by the Spanish painter Paco Baños. I would say this painting was in the style of Picasso in his more figurative years. I was amused and even a bit scared by this image of my Grandma, as if she were in there in some sense. She was younger in the picture, the sensation was that of the uncanny - it was both her and not her, familiar, yet alien. It seemed so mysterious, I couldn’t believe that it had been made by a person, an artist. This was the first time that an artwork captured my attention, and the feeling was that this art thing was fun and a bit magical, and it really piqued my curiosity.
What motifs are you consistently drawn to?
Color, especially yellow (my dear, loved yellow). Saying this, I am enjoying coming back to black and white photos. Flowers too. The thing is that I tend to work with found materials or conceptually with things that I’m not conformed with. In order to re-shape this, I tend to transform them into something pleasant to my aesthetic and this often combines color, flowers, and often something that I find fun.

Have you always worked with photography?
My work is very object-oriented, but I work with images for sure. My methodology is collage-based, so I work with photographs that have already been produced or I take them myself. I work with objects too, making them or re-contextualizing them to give them new meanings. The next step is to photograph them and often this last image becomes the final piece.
How does your choice of subject matter inform the final piece?
It’s a do, do, undo, do process.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
To decide when a project is finished. In fact, I think I carry on with them even if they change the shape and title.
How do you choose your materials?
I work very often with found materials and recycling is important for me within my practice. I collect stuff that gets my attention and display them around in my studio, on the walls, so I can find the perfect match. My work is very collage-istic, so trying things together is what I do, that’s why I like to have my stuff on display to re-find them when their time arrives.
My methodology is collage-based, so I work with photographs that have already been produced or I take them myself. I work with objects too, making them or re-contextualizing them to give them new meanings. — Maria de la O Garrido
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Time, and music sometimes.
Did you go to art school?
I studied Fine Arts in Valencia, Spain. In Spain, a degree’s duration is five years, as it’s a combination of foundation and art degree. I studied my first years in Valencia and studied in London with an Erasmus scholarship during my fourth year and in Guadalajara, Mexico during my last year. After that, I moved to UK and after a few years living between London and Cornwall, I studied MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins, London.
What brought you to the UK?
I came to London to study with an Erasmus scholarship but I couldn’t speak a word of English! After that, I finished my fine arts studies in Guadalajara, Mexico. I loved my time in Mexico so much, and to come back to do a residency or something similar is in my to do list. However, I had to come back to Europe and had in mind the idea of coming back to the UK and learn English to be able to fully engage with everything I could discover during my Erasmus in London.

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