Artist Sofia Escobar in her studio. Artist Sofia Escobar in her studio.

In the Studio with Sofia Escobar

By Ashley Mulvihill

Artist Sofia Escobar in her studio. Artist Sofia Escobar in her studio.

Everyone connects with art in a different way. For me, learning about the artist, their process, and their motivation has a huge influence on how I feel about a work and how I connect with it.

Studio visits are also one of the best parts of my job. The conversations that arise around everything from new materials their exploring to the philosophy that has motivated their latest body of work. Each artist is so unique and their inspiration is so varying. 

Because time and access are often a barrier to visiting artist's studios, we're kicking off a series of digital studio visits so you can get to know Ninth Editions artists better. 

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We're launching our 'In the Studio with' series with Toronto-based Ecuadorian artist Sofia Escobar. To get the interview rolling we asked a few simple questions and then right into learning more about her multidisciplinary practice. 

 

Favourite –

Season: All summer and beginning of fall.

City/Place: Going back home to Ecuador to visit my family and friends has become my favorite place as it has everything I’m missing here and also holds a lot of nostalgia and good memories.

Meal: I always end up eating baked vegetables. Sweet potato and butternut squash with lots of butter are my favorites.

Artist(s): There are so many amazing artists, so it’s hard to name a favourite. The ones that have most influenced my practice in the past few years (to name a few):  Ruth Asawa, Daehyun Kim, Louise Despont, Mimi Jung, Luigi Serafini, Peter Collingwood, James Turrell, Zaha Hadid...

Game: Sudoku

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Tell us about your process? 

My process involves a lot of experimentation with ink on paper using different tools to create unusual patterns and textures. I also like to play around with drafting tools which in most cases ends up determining the layout of a potential illustration. A combination of structure and intuition is what has become the basis of my work lately. 

 

 

You studied at OCAD for Fibre Arts, how has that influenced your multi-disciplinary art practice? 

It has had a huge impact in the way I create now. It’s almost like my illustrations morphed into 3-dimensional objects. What I really enjoyed about being in that program is the focus on material exploration as well as pattern design and print. I discovered that I could use thread as a means to drawing in a physical space and create very intricate sculptures out of simple sketches. 

Does your illustrative work inform your sculpture? and vice versa?  

Yes, they go hand in hand. A lot of my sculptures are renditions of illustrations I’ve made. 

 

 

What kind of materials do you most like to use? What's that experimentation like?

I use a combination of drafting tools for technical drawings as well as any object that would make an interesting mark on paper, such as sea sponges, old, dried and hard brushes, knotted yarn, plastic bags.

 

 

 

Much of your work is in black and white, what draws you to this palette?

One of the things I’m naturally drawn to are the relationship between shape, texture, perspective and depth when it comes to creating something so I feel like b&w does a very good job at representing those elements. It also has a great quality of mysticism. Having said that, I do love color and I think it has an amazing potential to emit a huge range of feelings and concepts that you could never achieve with b&w. I’m slowly trying to incorporate more of that in my sculptural work. 

Where do you find the most inspiration?

In nature. 

 

 

 

You completed a residency in Berlin last year, what did you do there?

I worked in collaboration with a good friend of mine who also has a background in textiles. We took drawings and sketches that we did during our stay and transformed them into large scale weaving pieces.

 

 

 

Do you collect art? What do you have in your home?

Yes. I try to buy as much local and emerging talent. I understand the struggle of the first years of making so its nice to be supportive when you can. 

What does art mean to you?

I only understood it was a way of life when I realized most of my time is spent wondering about abstract shapes and existential thoughts.  

 

Sofia's tip for collecting art: 

Try to observe the things around you and trust what life puts in front of you instead of obsessively trying to follow a trend or a style.

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Be sure to check out Sofia's available work here and follow her on Instagram @sofiaelenii

 

Thank you so much for joining us on our very first Ninth Editions studio tour!