carolina borja

Carolina Borjas, work in progress, 2015

How would you describe the work that you do?

I would describe it as Mexican craft meets contemporary art. I like to incorporate a lot of process and materials that are often used in Mexican craft . . . and just bring them to a sculptural aesthetic.

Have you always known you were a sculptor?

I studied industrial design and I have a minor in Mexican folk art, so the transition between the two felt easy. As I do more projects I find that they are a lot more participatory and interact with other mediums besides sculpture. Still, I like to call myself a sculptor.

Are there ways in which you intend your work to challenge the viewer?

In the studio

I think what happens is that each work is read from an individual perspective. So, what might be obvious to someone might not be as clear at all to another person. I think the reason this happens is because of our individual experiences and culture. So, I’m conscious of the fact that a piece is going to have multiple interpretations depending on the viewer.

Is there something you are currently working on that you are particularly excited about?

Carolina Borja, A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush, 2015, paper mâché, crepe paper, tissue paper, found sticks, thread. 6 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. (detail)

I’m excited about everything! I have one project where I’m experimenting with the way I make molds and do the paper mâché, so figuring that out has been fun. And I’m excited for this show at MCAD and the content. . . . I’ve been thinking about my piece for the show for a long time, so it’s great to finally be able to do it. . . . I’m also doing a public performance in St. Paul collaborating with local organizations as well as a choreographer. This piece is titled Cross-Poll-igniting. . . . It uses pollination as a metaphor, and emphasizes how non-profit work and individuals have exchanges, resulting in a co-dependency. . . . It’s public art.

What advice has influenced you or your art making?

I have a couple of words popping in my head, recently, and I’m not sure where it came from . . . but [an] artist was talking about time. . . . I don’t remember the context, but it had to do with her physical capacities and that she couldn’t work for a long period of time. . . . She was saying that it was kind of silly to keep complaining about the amount of time you have to do things, when it is all relative. . . . The amount of time that you have to do something is enough. . . . It spoke to my reality because, in my past projects, it is true that you could have more time or you could have less, but the struggle with that particular work would be the same. It’s just a matter of valuing the amount of time you have.

How do you know when you have been successful?

I guess if you don’t over think, you always know. There is some kind of intuitive space in your head that can recognize success . . . and it’s probably not the success that others might consider, but you know if your piece worked or not. . . . It comes from the inside.

Why did you choose to pursue the life of a professional artist?

I feel like I’m becoming a professional artist . . . I’m still in the process. . . . I guess you might always feel like you’re in the process because you are actively doing it. Once you stop, you can look from the outside, but I guess then your career would be done. . . . But I do actively look forward. . . . I feel a great value in working and incorporating my own thoughts and designs and creativity in that way. . . . I don’t like to just think about creating art pieces, I don’t think that would define my career path, but think the art pieces are results of my path. . . . I like to work in areas that also involve the visual aspects of our common day.  

In your opinion, how is being a woman artist in 2015 different from what it might have been like one, two, three or even four decades ago?

I don’t know if I would use the word “different.” I think it’s adding along. . . . It’s a continuation of the decisions made in the past and we’re further. . . . That road might not be completely linear because we always look around and back, but it’s always moving forward.

Does personal history work its way into your practice? How might who you are be reflected in your current work?

Yes. I think personal history and also the visual backgrounds come across [in my work]. . . . I think I even see it in other artists, too. . . . Whether we want it to or not, it’s impossible to not include the personal in art.

Carolina Borja, A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush, 2015, paper mâché, crepe paper, tissue paper, found sticks, thread. 6 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. (detail)

Are there certain ways in which you identify yourself as a feminist artist?

I have been more aware of feminist artists in the past two years, so I haven’t really contemplated that until recently. . . . I’m part of WARM and WCA and I did the Women’s Art Institute. . . . The way I think and my perspectives and philosophies fit in an area you could call Third Wave Feminism. But, when I’m doing my work, I’m not consciously thinking about feminism. I don’t think that I am trying to prove feminist points through my work, but things do bleed into the work.

Carolina Borja










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