Meet Carlos Eduardo Porras, Venezuelan fine artist known for his vibrant depictions of nature and positive attitude. UP MAG sat down with him for a Q&A in review of this year’s Venezuela Art Fair, which he is participated in.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
T.K. Mills: Tell us a little bit about your early life. When did you first start exploring your creativity?
Carlos Eduardo Porras: I grew up in Merida, a little student city in the Andes of Venezuela. We’re known for having the highest cable car in the world. When I was a little kid, like all the kids in the world, I was inspired to try making artwork. I painted on walls, things like that. My mother had a studio and painted in it as a hobby, so I tried follow what she did. We had completely different styles, but she was my teacher. However, my career is as a civil engineer, and I never studied artwork formally.
TKM: How have you balanced being an engineer with being an artist?
CEP: Though they may seem totally different, they’re actually very similar careers in the sense they’re both about creating.
TKM: How would you describe your art style?
CEP: I do three types of arts: abstract, figurative, and minimalistic.
TKM: What made you want to paint those three styles with the primary colors that you use?
CEP: Well, to use a metaphor, it’s like you go to a restaurant. One day, you’re going to ask for a burger and the other day for a salmon and the next day for a pizza. I think it’s boring if you just get stuck in one style.
As to why I like primary colors in all of my styles, it’s because I believe they’re the most attractive to the human eye. Plus, it’s nice to make colorful things, particularly since the world can be so dark at times, and it’s hard to avoid the circumstances of the world. When people see my art, I want it to inspire a smile just by being bright. My favorite color to work with is red, due to how vibrant it appears on the canvas. And maybe also, because it’s the color of love. [laughs] In general, red is just a very strong color.
Plus, it’s nice to make colorful things, particularly since the world can be so dark at times, and it’s hard to avoid the circumstances of the world. When people see my art, I want it to inspire a smile just by being bright. My favorite color to work with is red, due to how vibrant it appears on the canvas. And maybe also, because it’s the color of love. [laughs] In general, red is just a very strong color.
TKM: Could you tell me a little bit about your Safari series and, why you were attracted to doing that kind of figurative work?
CEP: What drew me to making the Safari series was my love of animals – in particular, giraffes. I find giraffes to be a very elegant animal. In my perspective, it’s an animal that wants to keep the peace, that doesn’t want to fight. I feel connected to giraffes in that way—I just want to keep the peace. Here in my hometown we really don’t have many exotic animals, like the ones you would see on a safari, so I was interested in the ways I could identify with them, even though they’re not native to Venezuela.
TKM: What artists in particular inspire you the most?
CEP: Yadid Rubin, a contemporary artist from Israel. Wassily Kandinsky. Vincent Van Gogh. Plus, Venezuelan artists like Carlos Cruz-Diaz and Martin Morales. All incredible artists, with unique styles.
TKM: How did you get connected to the Venezuela Art Fair? And what other art shows have you been a part of internationally?
CEP: I was an exhibitor two years ago, and I’ve kept in touch and stayed connected with the team. This year, I had an opportunity to be a part of the jury for an art contest in New York, and of course I agreed. It’s an exciting opportunity to visit New York. On that same trip, I also visited Boston and from there I had an exhibit in Provincetown. My work has also been featured in the galleries of the Louvre Museum in Paris, as well as in Basel. One of the things I’m most proud of is when my art was displayed as part of the Cannes Film Festival.
TKM: You’ve really been around the world with your artwork. I know Venezuela has had some economic uncertainty over the past couple of years. Have the politics of your home affected your art?
CEP: Of course, it affects me, but I’m trying to use as a force for inspiration, rather than something that holds me back. I’m someone who is always trying to look for the good in things, always looking for hope, looking for sunshine. I try to just be a positive person in general. With my art and my work, I hope to inspire others and make the world a brighter place overall.
I’m someone who is always trying to look for the good in things, always looking for hope, looking for sunshine. I try to just be a positive person in general. With my art and my work, I hope to inspire others and make the world a brighter place overall.
TKM: Do you want to live in Venezuela forever or would you like to move abroad at some point in your life?
CEP: Right now, we’re lucky to live during a time where humans can move and travel around the world. Naturally people want to move where they can find good jobs and good salaries. Given everything, I don’t know if I’d want to live in Venezuela the rest of my life. I want to go where the best opportunities are, so I can provide a great life for my wife and our puppy. I’ve thought about the town of Boca Raton in Florida—it’s so peaceful and very beautiful. But I don’t think there are a lot of opportunities for art there. But we’ll see where the future takes me.
TKM: Before we close our interview, is there anything you want people to know about you or your art in particular?
CEP: I just want people to know that I’m working hard to make the world little more conscientious about taking care of each other as human beings and taking care of animals. People forget how important it is to respect each other the way you are, and to respect the way others think, whether you agree with it or not. People don’t need to fight as much as they do. Be respectable, and make good decisions for yourself and for the world.