Portrait photography and interview by BARTE.


fotografía de juan barte de la escultura susana-botana-piedra-escultura


fotografía de Juan Barte con escultora susana botana


Formidable Magazine. What was your first creative impulse?
Susana Botana. To be born. I consider birth a creative act in itself, between Mom and baby. Actually I don’t believe so much in the “creative impulse”, I believe in working everyday with a creative attitude, so I’m not quite sure of what is a creative impulse for me, sorry.

F.M. There is some point or experience that made you realize that art would be your thing?
S.B. Yes of course, there were some people, some opportunities and some decisions that made me possible to follow the path of art. Specially my Mom, she helped me search for a private teacher to prepare the Art School access exam. This was just 20 days before the actual exam, crazy! In the beginning no teacher would take me, but my Mom kept searching until we found one. It was quite intense, eight hours a day drawing and painting, but I loved it. I felt I could be doing just that all my life.

F.M. How would you define your work?
S.B. It´s very difficult to define my own work, but when I see my work with a distance, I kind of see it solid, essential, genuine, with rhythm, with some consistent ideas and passion behind it. Stone requires lots of attention and energy, it’s like a baby, each particular stone has it’s own character, I try to extract the best of each piece respecting its properties; transparency, rigidity, etc… I think when the viewer observes my sculptures she can see into my mind: human relations, opposites, constructions, in-out, light-shadow, rough-soft, symbols; the eye, the seed, the boat, totems, limitations, fragility, the search for beauty… and so on.

F.M. Inspirational artists?
S.B. I don’t feel very influenced by artists right now, I’m really more inspired by people around me or by my daily life experiences. Today I felt influenced by the first blue morning light or a nice chat that I had with the man of the gas station an hour ago. Brazilian jiu jitsu It’s a big influence for me right now, It helps me see my limits and respect my own art rhythm at the studio. I see/feel lines in jiu jitsu positions and I’m trying to paint an abstract series of them. Bodies are like perfect real sculptures in movement.

F.M. Would you say your studio setting influences your work?
S.B. Absolutly, to me every new studio is an opportunity to get rid of the past and set new priorities, to update myself, because to choose a studio is to choose a place to stay with myself and my ghosts. My goal now is to work with natural light and to have a garden to make clay, that’s why I can’t live downtown. I think my five studios in different areas of Madrid mark very different periods of my life, but surprisingly enough my work follows the same line. I guess Susana is Susana wherever she is.

F.M. Is the studio just a place for production or also inspiration is inherent to the studio space?
S.B. Both really, but the studio usually inspires and some how pushes me to create, I put there a lot of energy, time and love, and so my body feels this energy. The studio has hours and hours and hours of fighting, searcging, trying, doing… as they say “work goes where work is”. It’s very difficult to tell when I’m creating, producing, loving… to me it’s all the same, I can’t set apart life from art.

F:M. How is a day in the life of Susana Botana?
S.B. Tough one. Each day is different, for example, Mondays I do Jiu jitsu class in the morning, then I eat, go to the studio and I teach Pilates in the afternoon. I work with my body-hands-brain, sharing it with people as student, teacher or artist. All these activities give me the energy to go to the studio and they enrich my work.

F.M. Best and worst night out?
S.B. The best is when I’m tired and I sleep deeply since the moment I lie down on the bed, when I finish the day in peace or when I can’t sleep because something extraordinary happened that day. I love it when I sleep just a few hours because I’m very excited and I get just enough sleep to wake up early and make things in a positive mood.
The worst night is when I just can’t seem to fall sleep.

F.M. What do you love and hate about Madrid?
S.B. I like that Madrid is not a vanity city. The city center it’s like those of more traditional smaller Spanish cities: Toledo, León, Cuenca… with a main square, Plaza Mayor, it’s cozy enough to feel at home. But on the other hand Madrid is big enough to make you feel invisible in the crowd. The worst is that there’s no beach, but this could be good too because it makes for the perfect excuse to get out of town.

F.M. What’s in your play list?
S.B. I don’t use play lists in my computer or my cell. I try to use my PC just enough to survive in the 21st century. Now I only listen to music during my training sessions.

F.M. Our motto is “A life less ordinary”, what makes life less ordinary?
S.B. I don’t feel life is ordinary at all. I think It all depends on your attitude, It’s a cliche but its true, If you keep a positive attitude, it’s all not so bad. Our mind controls 90% of our actions, I don’t understand why they don’t teach us at school how to master it. Life is worthy to me when I share, beautiful or bad experiences, with people and I feel a connection between us that makes me feel human. When I take risks and I bet for what I really believe on, also when I accept that there are good and bad days and when I respect my own rhythms of action or thinking. Life is extraordinary when it’s not under your total control, when we are closer to experiences bigger than us: birth, death, love or nature.

F.M. What’s next?
S.B. This coming April 7th I show at Auditorio de Las Rozas, of course everybody is welcome.

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