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Claudia Robles-Gil - channeling the incredible vibrancy, complexity, and energy of life

Mexico City / Mexico

Claudia Robles-Gil is a 27-year-old emerging artist from Mexico City. Growing up between Mexico and the US and the opportunity to travel extensively throughout her life have deeply influenced her art by exposing her to a rich tapestry of multicultural experiences that have shaped her perspective.

Claudia's practice began early in childhood, but it was only at university that she fell in love with oil painting. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Tufts University in 2018 while attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. During this time, her work was presented in exhibitions and literary magazines in Mexico City, Boston, and Munich. Most recently, her work was exhibited at Visionary Art Collective, Boston City Hall, and Kathryn Schulz Gallery in Cambridge, MA. In 2021, Claudia relocated to NYC to pursue her artistic career and continue her practice at the Art Students League of New York.

Claudia specializes in creating vibrant oil paintings that showcase the emotional depths of nature, culture, and people. Her work features natural and cultural landscapes and organic elements intertwined with the human form, expressed through bold brushstrokes and rich, saturated colors to create a dynamic sense of energy and movement. Recurring themes in her work include the fleeting beauty and wisdom of the natural world and its profound interconnectedness with the human psyche.

Claudia's art closely interweaves these themes with her cultural identity. Her Mexican heritage has imbued in her a deep reverence for nature, and she strives to infuse her art with its vibrant colors, organic forms, and elemental forces. By sharing her art with others, she hopes to inspire a deeper appreciation for the world around us and an awareness of our place within it, ultimately making a meaningful contribution to the art of her times.

Your experiences growing up between Mexico and the US and extensive travels have influenced your art significantly. Could you share specific moments or places that had a profound impact on your artistic perspective?

To set the stage, allow me to introduce myself. I'm a Mexican artist who's been fortunate to call different parts of the world home. While I'm currently based in New York, I've had the privilege of being able to travel throughout my life, and this multicultural exposure has profoundly shaped my artistic journey.

Most recently, I made a trip down to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica – a coastal surfing destination – with my best friend in November of 2022. What I expected to be a relaxing beach holiday turned into an amazing journey of self-discovery. On this trip, I learned how to surf, made new friends who we'd dance to techno with all night, snorkeled around Tortuga Island, swam in bioluminescence under the moon, and completely reframed my mindset towards life and the future.

This trip invited me to take a new approach towards art: to be courageous and dive into art without fear. The nature of Santa Teresa had me in awe – everywhere I looked, I was stunned by a spectacular beauty, a sense of beingness and freedom. The breathtaking sunsets, the rainforest greenery, the street dogs running joyfully into the waves, and the enigmatic and carefree spirit of its surfers all made me yearn for a life full of freedom and beauty. Feeling the sand under my feet as I watched the sunset melt into the ocean waves made me want to spend my life translating this overwhelming sense of beauty into art.

Beyond its visual inspiration, Santa Teresa made me realize that art gave me the power to do much more than just visually capture – it gave me the power to tell a story. I now approach painting a lot differently from a few years ago – as immersion rather than rigorous observation. I now understand that painting is beautiful exactly because of its departure from the exact – it's that intimate, subjective emotional interpretation, expressed uniquely through the energy conveyed in the colors and the brushwork, that creates the magic in painting. Now, I no longer strive for perfect observational accuracy but rather for something more profound: personal and emotional expression of my reality, a unique perspective of existence that only I have the power to create and share.

Every time I look back at my Santa Teresa paintings, I'm reminded of the spirit of this special place and the deep impact it had on shaping my artistic journey. For this reason, Costa Rica will always hold a very special place in my heart.

You mentioned falling in love with oil painting during your time at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. What was it about oil painting that captivated you, and how do you believe it complements your artistic expression?

It feels like such a long time ago at this point, but my art classes at Tufts University’s program with the SMFA really sparked my love for oil painting. I took classes with Laura Fischer, and her painterly, expressive approach to painting was really what made me fall in love with this specific medium.

What I love about oil is its richness and texture, its unmatched versatility and the depth it creates to help me express an idea or vision. Oil painting has such a lush, vibrant quality that aligns perfectly with my inclination towards vibrant color and expressive movement. There’s something magical about the medium that, if approached in a painterly way, continues to add depth the more and more you shape it. Its slow drying time also really allows me to manipulate and mold the paint to create the energies and changing textures of nature.

Your artwork showcases vibrant oil paintings that explore the emotional depths of nature, culture, and people. Can you elaborate on how you infuse emotions and energy into your paintings through your use of bold brushstrokes and saturated colors?

Rich color has become a signature of my style. Being from Mexico, I have developed a real appreciation for vibrant color and shy away from muted palettes. I have been told by some that I see the world in HD, and I honestly think there's some truth to that! I like to use color to accentuate and exaggerate the vibrancy I see in the world, which photographs often fall short of capturing. Colors are a powerful tool to convey emotion through painting, and nature especially gives us an abundant palette to work from.

I also find that bold, expressive brushstrokes help channel energy into art much more effectively than endlessly blending into perfection. For example, I love creating crashing waves with single swift motions of the brush to channel the energy of the crash or letting my wrist twirl intuitively to portray the feel of a palm tree leaf skirting in the wind. I love when paint is allowed to be a paint and to capture the energetic essence of what it's representing. In my opinion, this leaves a very different kind of depth in a painting. Don't get me wrong, fine details have their place, but when you let go and let yourself be free with the paint, this bold and fearless brushwork can really make a painting come alive.

So, that's my approach – vibrant colors, bold brushwork – it's my way of channeling the incredible vibrancy, complexity, and energy of life itself.

Recurring themes in your art include the fleeting beauty and wisdom of the natural world, as well as its interconnectedness with the human psyche. How do you aim to convey these complex themes in your paintings, and what messages do you hope viewers take away from your art?

That’s a great question. Navigating these themes comes from a combination of intuition and intentional choices I make through my painting.

The intuitive part of it can be difficult to verbalize sometimes as my gravitation and attention towards it is so intuitive and primitive. It gives me a feeling of longing and fulfillment that’s difficult to describe.

The connection between the natural world and the human psyche is another compelling aspect of my work. I believe that we are intricately linked to nature, and this connection profoundly influences our emotions and thoughts. We also project our emotions when we look at nature.

Through symbolism, I strive to bridge these realms, using elements like flowing water to symbolize emotional currents and soaring birds to represent the feeling of freedom of the human spirit.

My intent as a landscape artist is primarily to capture the powerful emotions that nature evokes in me. I feel it is only a consequence of this attempt that people end up looking at my art and also wanting to be more conscious of caring for the life around us.

I also hope that my art inspires people to put themselves in the presence of nature more often. To wake up and realize how small our hectic city lives feel when we are in nature. When I’m barefoot in the grass or sand, when I’ve got waves crashing in front of me or a beautiful sunset in front of my eyes, I see how silly and small my human problems are, how little I really need to feel whole. It sounds cliché, but I mean it: if you allow it to, nature will make you feel full.

Your descriptions of how nature inspires different aspects of your personality, such as the crashing waves inspiring the feminine force and the mountains inspiring determination, are fascinating. How do you translate these personal connections into your art effectively?

In my work, the harmony between nature, culture and people reflects the interconnected energies that flow through each. It sounds silly, but I think we sometimes feel so alone because we ignore what's right in front of us, which is that our little lives are only one part of a much bigger, beautiful illusion.

While this interconnectedness is not always immediately apparent to us, nature gives us a way to watch the interplay of these energies from a distance. We can see, for example, how the contrasting but complementary feminine and masculine forces interact in nature: the force of the ocean crashing against the solidity of the rock. Or we can look at the peacefulness of trees surrendering to the breeze, which reminds us to just be in gentleness and relinquish control to the forces around us. In this way, nature is a mirror to us and what we are feeling.

In my paintings, I also give each element life simply by capturing each one's distinctive movement, color, and sense of vitality – to make each element a 'protagonist' in its own way. Collectively, these textures come together to create a sense of lively harmony in a painting. The cultural aspect actually unfolds organically: when I combine different textures of elements like the ocean, sky, trees, and so on, collectively, this forms a distinctive visual language that embodies the unique 'soul' of a culture or place.

Your use of color in your artwork is intuitively attuned to nature's hold on your spirit. Can you delve deeper into how you select and work with colors to convey specific emotions or convey messages in your paintings?

Rich color has become a signature of my style. Being from Mexico, I have developed a real appreciation for vibrant color and shy away from muted palettes. I have been told by some that I see the world in HD, and I honestly think there's some truth to that! I like to use color to accentuate and exaggerate the vibrancy I see in the world, which photographs often fall short of capturing.


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