Ana Lucia Cano (b. 1980, Quindío, Colombia) drew influence from her unique childhood experiences to pursue an artistic journey. She started by studying and practicing architecture in different countries before obtaining a Masters in Architectural Design from Columbia University and opening her own boutique practice in New York City.
Ana’s semi-abstract artworks reflect the tension between pairs of opposites (agony and sublimation, vulnerability and power, black and white). Cano’s compositions employ intricate details to reconcile these contrasts.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist and how did you choose your medium?
I have been realizing that I was always an artist, but I never allowed myself to express it fully. Even though my career as an architect was in a good moment 10 years ago, that discipline was not the right outlet for all the “stories” I wanted to tell.
After I left Architecture, I spent some time writing, but still I felt there was something missing, something was still dry to me. For no special reason, or maybe because I was ready to face the artist in me, I decided to start drawing on a simple notebook.
And then, I discovered I think with my hands, my hands know things I don’t. This may sound obvious for many artists, but it wasn’t for me, I realized I was an artist when I rediscovered my hands.
I chose what was more immediate to me: ink. And I am still exploring what works for me, and my projects.
Can you tell us about the discovery process for your own unique style?
I am interested in capturing gestures and emotions with drawings that live between abstraction and a tiny touch of figuration. I look for boldness, humor and detail.
And I find joy when somebody internalizes my work in ways I didn’t think before.
How does your experience as an architect affect your art and/or creative process?
In many ways. As an architect I learnt to love the ups and downs of the process of creating something, of working in series, drafts and options.
As an architecture designer I know the value of consistency and discipline.
And of course my love for line drawing comes from my architect side.
How does the scale of your work affect your creative process?
I work on many scales, I adapt the scale to what the work requires. Each sketch will tell you if it needs to grow, or multiply or simply stay as it is.
As a new mother myself, I was really touched when I read the theme of your show, Practical Answers to Impossible Questions, at NoHo House in Barcelona. Can you tell me a bit about the preparation for this body of work and exhibition?
This is my first solo show, but in a way I have been preparing for this moment for quite a while. All the work that will be exhibited has been created in the last 4-5 years.
Practical answers to impossible questions is originally an imaginary conversation with my soon to be born son in 2018. He will ask impossible questions and I would try to answer with simple answers. For this show, I extended this conversation and wrote more questions. This dialogue became the organizing umbrella of the work I wanted to exhibit
In a way my work as an artist is basically to answer complex questions with hand gestures, questions that words alone couldn’t address.
Would you say your work addresses current social or political issues?
Sometimes I have created work that responded to political or social circumstances, like the work Laughter and Despair or Exodus. But my main focus is the decantation of human emotions.