How I became a Full Time artist online
I wish I could express briefly how I feel in this stage of my life thanks to the digital age. I have to confess though that I hardly manage to answer my mobile phone, and read a few internet websites in it. Everyone who knows me well can tell that I'm still a big fan of desktop computers, good Andean Colombian music, zarzuela, El Empastre, Joan Manuel Serrat, Mercedes Sosa and Facundo Cabral. A few mugs of good coffee -Colombian- of course (very proud of it) and my cats reflect my daily morning habits, therefore there must be someone who does all this internet and social media stuff for me: my daughter.
International exposure is the dream of any artist in the globe.
As you may have already read on Who Is Aurora, I made a good start in my career. I had frequent exhibitions, and gained positive reviews for my recognitions at the most important art collection in Colombia.
But things were tough in those times. It was highly unusual to see female artists in such a conservative country. Everything that meant breaking up the conventional role of being at home and taking care of the kids was perceived as something ackward, in addition to the fact of disrupting into an art male dominated world. The earliest stages of my career were difficult and becoming a single mum didn’t make things any easier, to the point of having to give my daughter my own last name, as her father walked away from us as soon as she was born.
The strength and will to carry on and make things suitable for us both, was the main drive for making choices that started to lead me away from my international professional development. The necessary budget to be able to travel and participate in more events, or even pay for shipping them started to be out of my reach.
An artist would’t be granted loans by the local banks in those days, believe me, and I totally refused the idea of leaving my baby daughter with anyone else. I deeply appreciate the help that my sisters gave me every time I needed it. The years started passing by, and so my work started to evolve.
My earlier paintings are surrealist and the human figure the main element of my compositions. The strength of my work finds its most concrete manifestation with the purity and intensity of colour as well as the three-dimensional character, impression caused by the textured treatment on my paintings.
In the early nineties my work turns to expressionist and figurative. Latin American and Colombian history become a strong topic in this second period.
When the internet became available in Colombia, the technology was based on connecting your computer to the phone socket. The humming and shirping of it is something that I would never forget ! You had to be quick, check your email as fast as you could and use the complete URL that you wanted to check, as the phone bill could go sky high if you got too excited finding new things and exploring.
A few years later the broadband became a hit. And that’s when I got back to my dream. There were news about the potential of having your own website and attracting clients directly through the internet.
Although my work has been rather eclectic, it is strongly influenced by a figurative and expressionist style, using large formats in oils and acrylics, sculptures and giant murals, drawings and watercolors, as well as small experimental works with mixed techniques.
And that’s when I presented my portfolio online to some of the most important art galleries in North America. I got a positive reply and offer of a group exhibition at Cadwell Art Gallery in New York (which by the time had Henry Moores and Fernando Boteros works). Not bad after so many ups and downs! I was also offered a permanent residence at a Canadian Art Gallery in Montreal.
Having my own business?
I gave it a big thought.
Trying once again, after a massive bankrupt experience for opening an art academy that I ran on my own, and which by the time it started to produce a good income, had to be shut down for the amount of three months delayed rent payments plus the lawyers fees, which turned a $4,000 dollar debt in to $25,000. ´
One of my loyal disciples at the academy, and a wonderful friend, brought up the opportunity to make two giant murals together, one for an open air arena and other commissioned by one of the most important heart hospitals in Latinamerica in my hometown. That helped me out overcome the situation which dragged out all my earnings. It was a very painful stage, where I physically felt panic when I heard a phone ring, which reminded me the lawyers demands. It was thanks to the support of my younger sister and her family who managed to embrace us, in spite of facing some financial difficulties as well.
I managed to get a nice large flat, where I settled my home and art studio and stayed for about seven years. I got many other disciples and some ocasional sales.
Then I got news from Bogota in more than a few occasions. Some of my artworks where being bought for no more than $ 300 dollars, from me at my very own art studio and then resold in Bogota for almost $ 3,000
I saw that episode as a sign and decided to move out for good from my hometown and settle in Bogota. Again the old fashioned way of dealing with artists in the capital, made me take the decision of joining my daughter, in the small city 80 kilometers away from Bogota.
A Brand New Beginning
Exploring the potential of having an art business of my own, and achieving to make the budget to get engaged into international events again…
Now I owe my own webpage, my blog, my satisfactions, my dreamed international exposure, my loyal collectors, young talented artists looking for my curator’s advice! It all came at once! Everything I had wanted.
I can tell you loudly and clear that THERE IS A LOT MORE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN! There is a lot more from Aurora Bueno to come!
God bless the day the internet was invented! (and the creator of the washing machine)