Artist of the month - Ale Rambar
Our September artist of the month is Ale Rambar whose innovate work explores the transformative power of paper.
San José, Costa Rica
"I am a Costa Rican visual artist focused mainly on works in paper, ranging from framed pieces to art installations."
Photo credit: Francisco Rojas
Where do you make your work?
I have a studio space in my house, in San José, Costa Rica. Here is where I create most of my framed art pieces. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to walk into my studio at any time, whether it is the first thing in the morning or at the latest hours at night.
For larger pieces, like art installations, I have been working on studio spaces closer to other artists, like the art project Temporal, and the design space Kamalio, both located in San José.
How long have you been working with paper?
I began in 2014, at this time I was ending university and beginning to work as an architect. So, it has been around 8 years since I created my first formal piece.
I began to play with paper to bring some three dimensionality to topographic illustrations, playing with the idea that a human body can be translated into a topographic model. Since then I have been creating what I call “human topographies” made of layers of paper.
More recently I began to create art installations where colorful strips of paper hang, playing with the transformational quality of paper. The concept behind these installations is that we can support each other in the same way one strips holds the next one. Together way we can reach higher and farther than we could by ourselves.
Where do you find inspiration?
Life in general inspired me. The way each one of us is looking for happiness, in whatever that might mean to each of us inspires me. This has led me to have the concepts of tolerance, equality and cooperation as the main topic in my art pieces.
I believe that each one of us has the right to be who we want to be, to love who we want to love, and to achieve the goals that truly motivates us. This is something that has allowed me to work with several inclusion and belonging associations as well as projects that seek these ideals, like the Award of Gender Equality of the European Union in Costa Rica.
Describe your work to us in three words:
Topographical - Playing with topography is how everything began for me. This is the technical basis of my work.
Personal - Since many of my pieces come from topics regarding inclusion and belonging I usually find myself being close to ideas that are close to people’s hearts, or that come from my own personal experiences.
Restless - Recently I was told that I am a quite restless artist, in the meaning that I am constantly looking to create something I haven’t done before. More recently I began to work with NFTs, and this led me to found a project called Underscores with 6 talented minds, where we help artists and companies to expand their projects into the Metaverse or Web3.
What are your favorite papers to work with?
Some years ago I became friends with a Costa Rican paper gallery called Papesa, they became huge allies of my art and they led me to Favini Papers which is an Italian brand of artistic papers.
I mostly use their lines called Prisma, Twist and many of their metallic papers, and I am particularly interested in working future pieces with their felt papers, I really like their “hairy” texture.
What tool could you not live without?
I design the layers of most of my pieces digitally, so I would say that the good ‘ole Adobe Illustrator is a tool I couldn’t live without. I have worked 100% manually before, but now I prefer to use the tools that my career taught me.
Besides that, I mostly use day to day tools, like cutting mats, die cutters and double sided mounting tape.
What is the best thing about working with paper as a medium?
Technically there is so much you can do with paper, from tiny art pieces to huge installations, to animations and more. I am in love with its transformational quality and the range of finished it offers.
Conceptually, I like the idea that everyone of us touches paper every single day, call it a receipt, a napkin of a blank page, and we all have the opportunity to treat that paper as garbage or as a canvas to create something new.
Who are your favorite paper artists?
I must confess I am a huge fan of a lot of PAC members, since before I joined the collective I have followed Michael Velliquette, Pippa Dyrlanga and Hazel Glass, to mention a few.
Outside of PAC, I really enjoy Rogan Brown’s layered pieces. His art pieces have been a huge inspiration of my art. I like to think that one day I will reach the complexity levels of his abstract pieces on my human topographies.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am planning a new solo show, here in Costa Rica, so I am currently working on those pieces as well as some individual pieces for collective exhibitions. Next year I will be presenting an installation at Arte Laguna in Venice, so planning for it is already on the way! Besides that, I am also creating some pieces for the European Union in El Salvador and working on some animations to create more NFTs.
Apparently, I just can’t sit still!
Thank you so much for this interview PAC!
Huge hugs from Costa Rica.