Catia Goffinet lives in one of the largest urban forests in the world: in the middle of the Atlantic Forest, in the Serra da Cantareira, in São Paulo. She is surrounded by the green of the forest, the blue of the sky and the beauty of the flowers during the 365 days of the year. Catia likes to put these colours in some of her artworks. It is part of what she is.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
In fact, I don't remember being attracted to any other professional area other than being an artist. Since the beginning becoming an artist was something that happened naturally to me. Unfortunately for some years my life followed different paths before I could dedicate myself fully to art. I graduated in Law and worked for couple years in the field. However art, painting and photography always accompanied my life as a hobby.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I believe that an artist has his soul in everything he does. Regardless of which area he works in, there is always something very deep to be said or applied.
It is like a hidden message that only a few people can see or feel. Sometimes a line, a colour, a way of painting and the position reflect a swirl of ideas, feelings, fears and desires of each artist. I believe that my personal style speaks much more about me than I could say in words. At the same time I want a modern style, contemporary geometric shapes and the complexity of mathematics in my artworks, I also want simplicity and elegance.. Transparencies reflect much of who I am and how I am. Sometimes monochromatic works that emerge or dive into the canvas also reflect my inner world in a very intimate way. At other times I look for the colours and vitality of life around of me. I bring colours into my work at times when there are feelings to be illuminated. At other times, I just let my feelings go from light to dark. I don't know how to describe my personal style exactly, maybe because I feel it more than have one.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
I am the type of person who thinks about the future in a free and detached way. My focus is on the present moment and how to get through the days and solve the next issues. It is difficult to imagine where my art will be in terms of the future because with each of my works I feel that I am already in the future. What I see is that my desire grows more and more every day. I am looking to study and improve my techniques and let my own work lead me to a future. It has been so far. I trust in that process.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
What really inspires me is my desire and my love for painting. Exceeding my expectations for each project is my biggest motivator. Getting to the end of each artwork and thinking that I finished it differently and better than I could imagined is my biggest prize.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
There were no people who really encouraged me along the way. Quite the opposite. My whole process and desire to work as an artist was lonely and came from a desire inside of me.
There are a few people who inspire me, some are unknown Brazilian artists, people who have not given up and continue to struggle to have their work recognized.
Also, I have other people who inspire me deeply: those who one day said no in the beginning of my career. They motivated me to be better every day and this became a goal to achieve every day.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I work with few materials and basically always the same. Nowadays I am looking for a way to get my art beyond the canvases and also move it towards sculpture, but still undergoing experimentation.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
What really attracts me are the mathematics, the concept of straight lines, pure form transformed into something balanced and unique. In the beginning of my career geo-metrism was the base of my work. Gradually I expanded my work to something lighter, pure and simple.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
To answer that I would have to know the exact notion of the insight that motivated me and that is not always possible. Sometimes I like to think about the universe, which is the theme of several of my works. In other moments I just visualize something in my mind.
At times I try something new and I see the result is beautiful and that satisfies me. I also try to get out of me feelings that bother me or that I just need to express.
Making art is extremely complex and at the same time simple. It's intimate. Sharing intimacy is uncomfortable, but through painting it becomes easy and beautiful.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
I do normal things like cooking, taking care of household items, taking care of my dogs, etc. From the moment I dedicated myself exclusively to art, I realized that I would need two essential things: discipline and dedication.
I start whatever needs to be done early in the morning and I follow this rhythm sometimes, even in the middle of the night when everybody is sleeping. There is not a single day that I don't think, plan or draw in my sketch book.
Paintings don't emerge every day. However the study of it does emerge. I am in constant search for ideas, colours, references, concepts and sketches. I try to dive in the inner of my world.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
I used to work on a single piece. I like having more than one table where I can work. One work pulls the other. In a day of inspiration I can work on five or six artworks at the same time.
However there are works that are more special to me and I dedicate myself exclusively to them. The rhythm is set by each artwork. Some require specific focus on them as unique creations and others allow for division.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
I believe that my art reflects the evolution of me.
Which of your artworks are you most proud?
it is impossible to answer because each work is unique. I am proud of all the artworks that I have made available to the public. As I need an evolution I use it as a motivational medium, leaving them visually close to see what is missing there or what is not being said.
Usually what I can see is something within myself that is not yet ready to go.
What is your definition of success?
The definition of success has the capacity to be something intangible and changeable at the same speed with which it is achieved. In terms of art, this definition in my life has always been a challenge in two points: dedicating myself exclusively to my work and obtaining financial gains. This definition of success is relatively simple for an artist but, as I said, it is intangible and changeable. From the moment I reached this goal, I realized that it did not complete me and caused me a feeling of incompleteness. What was missing if this had already been achieved? This uncomfortable feeling made me realize that going beyond what I do every time I finish a job is what defined my success.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
There are several artists that I admire. None of them are positioned in the market. I admire the love that they have in what they do. There are many artists that I follow and admire on Instagram. I think Instagram is a great source for study and inspiration.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
Time is a big part of the essence of my work. Both the time that passes by us and the time that we spend. I believe that post-impressionism attracts me a lot, but if I could really travel through the time, I would like to imagine the future and how art will be in 100 or 200 years from now.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
All emerging artists have to overcome the challenges of the 21st century. I believe that opening up to the virtual world is a big step yet to be overcome. Opening up concepts as to what is good and what is good in the art market must also be overcome. I still see many artists stuck in concepts that are totally outdated, both in art galleries and in awards and recognition.
Right here in Brazil, I see few artists looking to sell their art and gain recognition out of Brazil. This must be overcome.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
I would say that they should never accept "no" in their career and always be ready to question themselves. I would say that they need to leave their vanity behind and never expect to be ready to show his work. soul of the artist. A satisfied artist stops creating, learning and innovating.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
I admire abstract works where the ink seems to have just been thrown. I wonder what the artist thinks about the artwork when it is finished. In my intimate universe I need organization and looking at these works challenges the way I see it.
I also really like conceptual art, which is art based on concepts, reflections and ideas. Creating visual reflections is something I look for not only in my artwork, but in my photography work (@goffinetphoto).
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
I know when it's enough but I don't know how to give up. I start over again but never give up on a work. I've had works that I started six times just because I didn't like the brushwork. Never give up on any of them.
Currently I have no unfinished works, I prefer to think of them as works that are in progress. Sometimes I have problems in the techniques of identifying the exact tools I need. That is when I start to search for alternative materials and the artwork can take a while to get completed.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expressing your creative nature?
I believe in both sides. There are artists who really tell stories and mark time with their works. They are great artists such as Ai Weiwei. I am passionate about his works and what he tells us and how much he touches us with his art. There are artists who simply express their creative nature like Carmen Herrera and Yayoi Kusama. I love their art and how it marked time for their creative nature.
Regardless of the type of artist you are, there is always a story to be told in each work and when it is acquired by a buyer this story is perpetuated and begins to be contacted in a new way.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently developing a work where the main theme will be "Beginning of the end or End of the beginning." In 2021 I want to turn my attention to the concept of the beginning, middle and end, that is, where is the beginning, where is the middle and where is the end? Everything is a process full of steps. My life participates in that exact moment of that concept. I want to transport that feeling to my works. I believe the theme is complex and difficult to express, which makes 2021 a great personal and professional challenge.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
Despite having an artist group we don't have a movement. We are starting a movement in Sao Paulo , Brazil to take artists that were really impacted by the pandemic . We want to take art to the streets and make it accessible to the public.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
I have held several exhibitions, but I don't have any exhibitions lined up in the near future. We are living in an uncertain time. I prefer to turn these uncertainties into objectives. And one of them is my next exhibition. Wherever it will be.
To view Catia's full collection click - Original Artworks by Brazilain artist Catia Goffinet