In The Studio with Antonio Carrau
As with most wonderful things we stumble upon these days, we discovered the work of Uruguayan artist and designer Antonio Carrau through his wonderful Instagram. What we responded to immediately was how adept he is as moving between varied scales and materials; from murals to silk scarves, swimsuits to stretched canvases. When we began discussing how to work together, approaching the textures and shapes he creates through his collage work was of particular interest to both of us. Our consistent ambition for our prints is to approach forms of image making that contrast the flatness of silkscreen printing and so we were excited to recreate the texture of Carrau’s torn paper edges and hopefully engender a feeling of the physicality of the patterned paper shapes.
Below, Antonio answers some of our questions about his work and process and we’ve also included some pics from behind the scenes of his studio and our studio as we printed this new edition!
When did you begin creating collages and what is it about the process that you particularly enjoy?
I started using the collage technique to sketch, even though the final result wouldn’t always maintain the the appearance of that process. Lately, though, I’ve been creating collages that maintain their physicality. I love the textures you get from the edges and layers of paper. I enjoy that you can try things with out pasting them, collage is kind of an analogue Photoshop, but the resources are always productively limited to what you have in front of you. Another important aspect I like about collage is that once you cut out shapes you’re left with shapes of the negative space you’re left with that can trigger a new idea - I save all the cuts I don’t use for future pieces.
Collage has also helped me a lot with the use of color. A few years back I did everything in black and white, or perhaps one color and eventually I wanted to introduce color but was unsure how to. So I started buying "glace" paper packs, which is packs of 10x10cm colored paper that come in a limited palette and you can find here almost everywhere - you usually use it at school when you are young. Having this color limitation works really well for me.
Do you prefer approaching a project with a design brief or final product in mind? Or do you like being able to start open-ended creative explorations?
I think it depends on the project. When I working on personal projects I always start with open-ended explorations, there is usually a triggering idea but after that it’s all about adding layers of paper and trying to solve problems until it looks finished. The triggering idea is also usually transformed in the process.
Unfortunately I can’t always work with this freedom, when I’m working on commissioned work there are always the client’s expectations to stay aware of. If I’m ever feeling that there are limitations on my creative exploration, I’ll work on other tangential sketches or collages. Sometimes I’ll also do this when I’m working on larger paintings - I like to stay as loose as I can and ready to take risks.
What surface have you most enjoyed seeing your work on? Wall murals? Silk scarves? Clothing? Why did you choose that favorite?
Any fabric, I love the creases and the movement, it adds another dimension.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m starting to sketch for a wall commission.
Who would be a dream collaborator?