We had the good fortune of connecting with Diego Narvaez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diego, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
I believe success is an idea that is constantly changing and that we should revisit often. I’ve found that my idea of success when I started as an artist was to have big shows, travel abroad for ambitious projects and leave my mark on the History of Art. Now I laugh about that idea. Now I tend to think locally and about the connections I want to generate with my artwork. Through landscape painting, I want to open questions about the ways in which we relate to the environment. I’m not interested in sending a single message but to get the viewer to engage with the piece and set their imagination free. It’s been almost a year since my partner and I decided to make a big shift in our lives and move from cosmopolitan and wild Mexico City to the quiet forest of British Columbia, Canada. We are living on an organic farm and day by day, are trying to simplify our lives and be more coherent with our beliefs. This change has deeply influenced the way I view success and it makes me think in context. Success and goals depend on where you are, the people you connect with and where you want to go. I’m not saying I am going to turn into a hermit painter and isolate in the deep forest, but I am trying to think more locally and to ask myself what type of art is needed nowadays. This brings to mind another important part of success, which is inter-connectivity. There is no personal success without a group of people being involved and being successful too. More and more the planet is showing us how collaboration is needed to succeed as humans. As I am writing this, COVID-19 is spreading across the entire globe. This is a chance for all of us, as a society, to reassess our idea of success and include in our plans the effect we are having on the Earth. We do not have to be saviors; we just need to be more conscious of our actions and their repercussions. From this point of view, success would mean to work in balance with earth. I have it clear, that in my case, it is through art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a landscape painter and a seeker of the sublime. I like looking at the huge contrast that now exists in landscapes, where we, humans, have shaped the Earth. Nonetheless, there are still pristine places. I create paintings where the urban and the natural collide, thus creating new meanings in those specific landscapes. As an artist, it’s quite interesting to look back and reflect on how your art practice has changed and how motivations and goals have shifted. I am looking to live according to my aspirations as an artist, to integrate my art and lifestyle. This is in part the reason my partner and I moved to the forest in British Columbia. As I mentioned above, we are living on an organic farm, simplifying our habits and building a relationship with the Earth. This has been a huge change for me and my art is changing as well. I can’t say it’s been all happiness living in the vastness of nature; it’s also been overwhelming and scary. I believe challenges are essential for creation. This does not mean that the artist has to suffer, as the History of Art has told us, but I believe true art is always in conflict. Once you get in the comfort zone, then it stops working. In this sense, to the artist art is very honest; it is a matter of being true to yourself. Professionally, I can say that since last year, my art career entered a new phase which includes exhibitions abroad. I decided it was time to expand my horizons and look for opportunities in the US and Canada. I had the opportunity to participate in group exhibitions in both countries. Now, with COVID-19 things are changing and the art world will also be affected. We all have to be creative and flexible in finding new ways of working. I am currently preparing for an exhibition in October at Fortune Gallery in Victoria, BC. I will also start working with Madrona Gallery, in Victoria when the isolation is ceased. I am excited for what will come with these collaborations. Stay tuned!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are all where we are because of the help of others and as an artist this is a rule. I am grateful to my art teachers who had patience and were open to sharing their knowledge. Also to my classmates for being my extended family and for being able to learn from their creative processes. I’ve received the support of FONCA, the National Fund for Arts and Culture, in Mexico, on several occasions and that helped me to work on many painting series and show them in many different exhibitions. I’ve also been able to collaborate with organizations, brands, fellow artists, galleries and institutions, not only in Mexico but Argentina, Iceland, USA and Canada as well. They’ve invited me to participate in shows and projects that are the core of my artistic career. It would be impossible to thank all the people who have helped me here. For example, a friend in Mexico, Darío Salzman, introduced me to Mary, who collaborates in Shoutout. I thank both of you for this opportunity! And of course, the closest people: my partner, family and friends have supported me in so many ways and I will always be grateful for that. And of course, the closest people: my partner, family and friends have supported me in so many ways and I will always be grateful for that.