Sofía, artistically known as "Pixa", was born in Chile 28 years ago, where she studied Graphic Design. The artist landed in Barcelona in 2019 to do a Master's degree in illustration and ended up staying. Drawing has been a part of her life since she can remember. She always has had a strong interest in the visual universe, from comics to the world of street art and illustration. Since she has been in Barcelona, Sofía has immersed herself much more in urban art. Last year she travelled to paint at the Vision Art Festival, the first of many festivals she hopes to participate in.
How did you decide to go beyond illustration and move on to urban art?
The truth is that it always caught my attention and in 2012, with the push of two great friends who did graffiti, I dared to make my first graffiti. What I like most about painting walls is the fact that I use my whole body. Having to make a stroke by stretching, sitting, or tiptoeing. It creates a kind of dance that sometimes flows very satisfactorily. This feeling does not come to me when I work on small canvases or doing digital illustrations, it is special.
You come from Chile, a reference spot at the urban art sphere, with places like Valparaíso, where the walls speak for themselves. From your point of view, how does the experience of urban art change in Barcelona in contrast to Chile?
In Chile, urban art tends to be much more political and vindictive. I feel that in that aspect it has a little more impact, especially due to the political situation that Chile is going through at the moment. It is time for changes, the people have spoken and demand what corresponds to them, which can be clearly seen in the interventions and murals. Also, there is no such thing as "legal walls" but people still paint. It has a more adrenaline rush and empowering feel.
As a society we still have a lot of work to do to demystify and dignify women and, unfortunately, urban art, like many social spheres, is masculinized. As a woman and an artist, have you ever felt conditioned by what you do and how you do it?
In general, I am very happy to get into “masculinized” spaces or activities and do my things, which is very feminine, to break these stigmas. The first time I painted it was always with men, now we have connected with several women painters and it is very nice to see the network that is being created.
What would you like to transmit from your artworks to the people who see them?
My artistic exploration currently consists of female anatomy, pushing the margins between real and surreal proportions. Above all, I am interested in the visibility of different bodies and consequently the creation of unique and original characters. I seek to position these beings within a context in which there is a dialogue between organic forms and blocks of colours, to arrive at a visually harmonious result. I have been investigating representing a little the explicit and implicit limits that are imposed on us. On how we are constantly looking to adapt to them to feel content. To achieve this, I experimented with the female figure within the formats in which it is immersed. The aim was to explore surreal proportions and push the limits, to make a pigeonhole visible. Now I think I'm leaving this "box" a bit to delve into other things at a technical level, such as texture, light and shadow, the background as a stroke ...
One of the characteristics of muralism is that the artist is in constant interaction with the urban space and, at the same time, with the people. Could you tell us an anecdote that you lived while painting a wall?
Another magic that urban art has is that it is for everyone. It does not discriminate in gender or age, you do not need to have studied art history, or have visited museums. It is there, it is part of the city and blends into the landscape.
The best interactions for me are with older people, who always come by and say hello. I don't have any in specific, but it is very satisfying to talk with the people who pass by, who think. Sometimes they don't like what you do, or they don't understand, but it is feedback and it is also appreciated.
On March 7, together with 9 other women artists, you painted a mural in vindication of International Women's Day. How did you live that experience?
That day, before 8M, it woke up very gray and rainy. When we arrived at the Tres Ximeneies, we had as a group a discussion about whether to paint or not. I personally wanted to paint and thought it was a bit like a metaphor for the feminist struggle. There will always be more obstacles and goals to overcome, but with a good attitude and motivation, if we join forces together, nothing is impossible. Finally, we painted the same, with a little rain, but it was very good. A very pleasant atmosphere was created, with dancing and a lot of good vibes.
Would you recommend Wallspot to other artists?
Yes, it is a good time to paint calmly, learn, be with friends and spend the afternoon. Sometimes the graffiti does not last long, but it is part, finding beauty in the ephemeral.