Interview with visual artist Diego Narvaez

I recently did an interview with the talented award winning visual artist Diego Narvaez. Who will be showcasing his work for the upcoming RAW Victoria BC STELLAR on October 17th: Read about his amazing work in the interview.

How did you get started as an artist?
I studied Visual Arts in Mexico City, but the story doesn´t start there. After high school, I didn´t know what to study so I took some time off to really think about it. I traveled to Europe and lived in London for a year. All of a sudden, I realized I spent all my free time visiting museums and galleries, drawing on sketchbooks and participating in all sorts of workshops, like photography, sculpture, and etching. It was clear to me, that I wanted to become a professional artist. Attracted by Mexico´s strong artistic culture, I moved back home and got into the Arts and Design Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Looking back, I remember all my notebooks in high school were covered in drawings, doodles and different characters I used to imagine. My impulse to create was already there, just needed the environment and a bit of adventure for it to materialize.

Which do you prefer to paint, natural or urban landscapes? Why?
Both types of landscapes captivate me; I could not choose one of them. In my creative process, both places are complementary. We have “humanized” the entire planet and even remote places don’t feel as unreachable as some decades ago. I draw my inspiration from the direct experiences of these distant places, for example Antarctica, where I had the chance to participate in an art residency and paint sublime frozen environments. However, my painting career began by getting lost in Mexico City, observing non-places or urban ruins amazed by the infinite landscapes in transformation. These experiences, have led me to integrate the urban and the natural in my work, such as Victoria, a painting that shows the Customs House being demolished. You can see the facade of the building surrounding an emerging rock with trees, a symbol of the West Coast. These sort of interactions between the natural and the urban let us question how we are managing urban spaces and the way we relate to nature.

What led you relocate to Vancouver Island?
I moved to Vancouver Island mainly because my partner is from Victoria. We met and lived together in Mexico City, and although we both love the city, we wanted a change of life: to be closer to nature and out of the hassle of the big city. In 2018, she quit her job to work a season on an organic farm in Sooke. I visited her, we hiked the Juan de Fuca trail, and fell in love with the natural beauty of the island. Canada has stunning landscapes, from the misty rain forests to the wild Canadian Arctic, definitely many sources of inspiration for my work. 

After months of paperwork, I am now a Canadian permanent resident. We´ve been here for five months, on the same organic farm but with our dog, cat and plans to stay. This is an opportunity to keep sharing my work with new viewers and become an international artist.

What do you have planned for the RAW Artists Victoria showcase on Thursday October 17th?
Since I moved to BC I´ve been working on a new series called Counterpoint, where I present a contrast between the urban and natural landscapes to create open questions and metaphors on the way we observe and define the relationship between these two spaces. Elements from one place are integrated in the other, resulting in dream like or surreal scenes, but always based on in situ experiences. This is what I´ll be presenting at the RAW Victoria Showcase – STELLAR –, along with some small paintings and drawings I brought from Mexico and a series of prints of previous work.

List of Work

Diego Narváez, Aurora, oil on canvas, 2011

Diego Narváez, Cinema Edition III – Opera, oil on canvas, 2019
Diego Narváez, Demolition, oil on canvas, 2011

Diego Narváez, Jubany, oil on canvas, 2015

Diego Narváez, Reserve, oil on canvas, 2013

Diego Narváez, Victoria, oil on canvas, 2019

Contact Info:
Instagram: @diegonarvaezh

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