Garden with the studied plants of Color amazonia, exhibited at: Flora ars+natura, Bogotá, 2013 / Universidad EAFIT, Medellín, 2014.
When working with plants, one begins with the idea that they are what is most important, and then, the need arises to have them and to plant them: to be able to investigate them and delve deeper into them.
From the very beginning of the project, we visualized the idea of having the 11 plants in a garden and adapting them to Medellin. Some did so successfully, such as Huitillo, which propagates through seeds, which are obtained as residue when extracting the pigment from the fruit peel and which reproduce very easily. On the other hand, others failed to adapt, being trees and harder to obtain, transport, and plant.
The plants that successfully adapted are now our garden. This allowed us to sustainably obtain the pigments and continuously have raw materials at our disposal. Later, when the plants began to ask for more space, the garden became a sustainable forest that has been growing for more than 5 years in Bolombolo, a municipality of Antioquia, two hours from Medellin. Without the plants and the garden, as the center of everything that revolves around the project, it would have been almost impossible to carry out the work we do in the studio, nor could we have given the workshops we have been giving over the years to raise awareness among others.
Sustainable forest that contains the plants that were able to adapt. Bolombolo, Antioquia, 2015 - 2020..
Color Amazonia studio. Medellín, Colombia, 2012 - 2019..
I have always conceived the art-study/workshop as a place of transformation where the empirical manifests itself through play and experimentation; a place for trial and error, to expand ideas and above all, to come together.
This project has taught me to value collaborative work and understand that the synergy of a team is so powerful that it transcends the simple sum of individual knowledge, that which each member brings to the table. Through this vision, the studio is no longer defined as a private place, inherent to the artist, but is conceived as an open space that enables collaboration and encourages the exchange of experiences and knowledge
It is a living place of co-creation, that tends to expand and contract organically, as it responds to the needs of the project that become evident during the process.
Initially, the studio/workshop defined a physical work space that included the garden. We thought about and imagined the project there, planned the field trips, studied the botany of the plants, learned to preserve them through herbariums and we tried to express them aesthetically through different techniques and formats, such as illustrations, engravings, etc.
It was when we started bringing everything we had produced, from the Amazon, in that sort of ephemeral, jungle workshop, where we worked hand in hand with the Huitoto family that welcomed us… that we realized that we needed a much larger space to visualize the different ways in which we could exhibit the project. So, the studio became a warehouse/storage facility that allowed us to play with the materials and build facilities, while imagining how to display it.
Then came the need to continue advancing in the knowledge of organic, color chemistry: how to formulate the pigments, transform them, stabilize them and diversify their uses. Over time, the notion of study/workshop has mutated into the laboratory concept: a place of experimentation where empirical knowledge through artistic practice, and scientific knowledge from botany and chemistry, converge. We acquired a drying oven, a ph-meter, a soxhlet extractor and other laboratory equipment and tools, which have allowed us to deepen our knowledge of organic pigments and thus, the study became what we have defined as the Color Lab.
Color Lab. Medellín, Colombia, 2016 - 2020.
The power of color lies in that it is a universal language, and it expresses a world in which we all fit. Personally, I believe that if art fails to surprise and inspire others, especially a child, then its role has been undermined into something almost useless. The Color Lab has been essential to delving into science through play, a place where we can all be children again.
This place has helped us find new ways to come closer to the phenomenon of color, through science and art, and in this way, create thoughts about nature.
What we have learned there has allowed us to raise awareness among others, especially children, through playful workshops that have become a fundamental part of the project.
Since then, we have worked on the stabilization of pigments; its preservation through the use of mordants and resistance to various environmental factors such as oxidation and light; its application in textiles; its formulation and transformation into watercolors, crayons, powder dyes, etc.
Huitillo Series (Renealmia alpinia), 2015 - 2018.
Color Box + Color Flashcards, 2015 - 2016.
Color Books, 2016.