MARINA FERRER - Painter
Born in Ibiza (Spain) in 1995, Marina’s interest in the world of art started when she was a little kid. When she grew up, that didn’t change and she studied Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Cultural and Creative Industries.
After a few years, eager to learn more and to try to find her path, she moved to the Netherlands, where she is currently working as a graphic designer, trying not to let go of her oil paint and brushes.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
What made you take the decision of choosing an artistic/creative path?
When we are still at a very young age we are kind of forced to choose our whole life career, and a creative path has always been very stigmatised. I could feel that if I chose it I would make a mistake.
Thank God in the end I stopped worrying so much - something I'm still working on! - and decided to do what I really liked and what I thought I was good at, because you never know where you are going to end up, so I took the risk.
I know this might sound cheesy, but I think it was the creative path chose me, and not the other way around, because at some point when I was still a teenager, I realized that I would never be happy doing something else.
We can see a strong connection with the ocean in much of your work. How did this relationship come about and what meaning does it have for you?
To be honest I think I could never live anywhere that's too far from the sea. In my hometown in Ibiza, the sea is only a 5-minute walk from my home. I grew up next to it, and I only have good memories of it.
To me, and many people, the sea gives me peace of mind, calms my anxiety, and gives me the same feeling I have when I paint. I guess that’s why I’m a lover of landscapes, especially those that are most familiar to me.
The other side of your work focuses on a more personal sphere which depicts your childhood memories. What made you paint these memories?
I’ve always thought about how our childhood - the people we spend time with, and the places we spend time at - define who we are now. And I’m a very introspective person., so going back to my roots, my childhood, and these memories through my paintings is just part of this introspective process.
What's your initial thought when creating a new piece?
What moves you to choose the subject of the painting?
I usually paint from a photo. And alluding to my previous answer, the memories behind that photo are crucial when I choose the subject of the painting. No matter when the photo was taken, or how technically imperfect it is, it’s always the story behind it that makes me want to paint it.
Sometimes even the imperfection of the photo makes for a more fun painting process and interesting outcome, in terms of texture, colours, composition, etc.
1) 'Do you live like this?'. Oil on canvas, 100x70 cm - Marina Ferrer Tur ©
2) 'Amore'. Oil on wood, 93x29.5 cm - Marina Ferrer Tur ©
Tell us a bit of your creative process when creating a new work, do you normally sketch before or do you start directly on the canvas?
I would be lying if I told you I sketch a lot because the truth is that I’ve always felt more comfortable painting than drawing. Sometimes I do a quick painting in a smaller format and maybe use a faster drying technique, but I usually start directly with oil painting on canvas, adding colour on top of a few guidelines and seeing what comes out of it. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I just need to add more colour, a different stroke, or I simply erase everything using turpentine and start again.
Do you always finish your paintings?
How often do you discard ideas or works?
I’m a very slow painter, but also very critical of myself, and a perfectionist. For me, it’s very complicated to know whether the painting is finished or not. I can leave a painting abandoned without knowing if I will ever continue it again and then I find myself changing or improving something that didn’t convince me 5 months ago.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I always take such a long time to sign a painting. Sometimes I forget and sometimes I do it on purpose hoping that some space between me and the painting will help me improve it at some point. So yeah, I have discarded works, and also some of them remain as just ideas in my mind that never happen.
What pictorial technique or artistic movement do you most identify with? Why?
As you pointed out at the beginning of this interview, my painting could be divided into two spheres. On the one hand, I like everything to do with landscape, light, colour, and how they influence each other, so it is impossible not to mention the impressionist painters. I would say that I learned almost everything I know about colour from them.
On the other hand, I also like to portray my life realistically. And although my focus is very personal, the one who comes to my mind when I think about realism is Edward Hopper, who portrayed a society in a very unique and cinematographic way, but also poetically, and melancholically. You can really get the feeling behind his paintings, there’s narrative in them. And I think there’s a lot of melancholy and nostalgia in these paintings of mine. He’s one of my favourite artists, after all.
If you could experience first-hand an artistic movement from the past, what era would you like to come back to?
The truth is, I don't have a very elaborate answer to this question. There are many moments in the history of art that I would like to experience as they all have something to highlight that catches my attention on an artistic level.
I think I would have liked to have experienced the moment when landscape became a pictorial genre in itself, where it is the protagonist, and not only a stage where a biblical or historical scene was represented, for example.
As artists, we tend to compare our work to others and this often can make us feel inferior. Social pressure and the evident competition in the artistic industry are the main reasons why many stop pursuing their desire to achieve their goals in the artistic field.
Do you think artists today experience more social pressure and competition due to the rise in social media platforms? How do you think these platforms changed artist’s ways of communicating and showcasing their work to the world?
In the art market, there are different leagues, as in sports, so if you belong to one in general it's very difficult to move up. Getting a contract with a gallery that represents you, for example, is not within everyone's reach, whether it's for lack of resources, time, or other reasons such as competitiveness, but I think this has existed since before social media.
The art market has always been very elitist and I think this is changing, in part, thanks to new platforms that have provided a space for people or groups of people that didn't have it before. Of course, there are still elites and competition, but now you can see a wider and more diverse range of artists, from all different backgrounds.
So from my point of view, I think that social media and online platforms in general have served to democratise art, making this world much more accessible to everyone.
Do you think there’s a romanticization of the artist’s work?
From what I’ve learned, art has evolved into a business, an industry, so this romantic point of view doesn’t make sense to me anymore, it’s simply not realistic. No artist today wants to live as Van Gogh did, for example.
I think that nowadays romanticising artistic and creative work (in all its branches) only leads to precariousness and instability for the artist (especially for those with more limited resources).
Today, although it is a fact that creativity is a development key, there are still people who belittle it just because whoever works on it "does what they like" and “enjoys what they do”, so usually these careers are underpaid, come with a huge workload, and are very demanding.
How do you manage creative blocks?
What is your suggestion to artists dealing with creative blocks?
I don’t think I’m in a position to advise anyone about this, to be honest. For me, sometimes it’s difficult to find time for my painting. I would say that’s somehow my creative block because I tend to prioritise other responsibilities or activities.
Something I realised that has helped me with this is to paint with friends, just for fun. It can open your mind and you don’t even notice and that’s the whole point for me when I paint, to enjoy, to have fun, to escape from bigger problems.
How do you imagine yourself in 5 years?
What are your goals?
It is a complex question. My life has changed so much these last 5 years, I have taken decisions that years ago I would never have imagined I would take, but I’m happy with what has come out of them. The only constant, I would say, is that I don't move away from the creative path, in one way or another.
So 5 years from now, I would like to see myself working in something creative with creative people or with artists, and hopefully painting so much, even if it’s only for myself. It would be cool to showcase my art a little more as well. And live by the sea, if possible.