María Cuéllar : @mariacuellar.m



María Cuéllar 



A colourful delight for you all on a Sunday morning! The wonderful, superb work of María Cuéllar @mariacuellar.m 📣

Her works are so joyful, so full of life and sublime that I had to share them with you! There is the full interview in my bio, in English 🇬🇧 and Spanish 🇪🇸, but here is a little taster for you!

The sheer beauty and colour of her works made Cuéllar’s work stand out to me when discovering her on Instagram. I have since collaborated wither on The Art Swap 2020.

We talk artistic truths, early memories, journey to being an artist and more…

Cuéllar describes her work as: ‘Identity, body experience, physical intimacy, as a way of expressing perceptions.’

She stays creative through her feelings of freedom, her intent curiosity and her need to express herself.




    What made you decide to follow a creative career choice? Was it ever in question? Or was it inevitable?

    I have not thought much about the decisions, I have always been guided by an intuitive act. So everything has happened dynamically. When I was twelve years old I started a dance career at the Barcelona Conservatory, and at the same time I danced in a young ballet company. Although I have always been linked to plastic expression, I have complemented this development with artistic studies. At the age of eighteen, I obtained by following the way that gave me the most freedom as possible. Remaining in those two artistic disciplines that determine me.

    Cuando tenia doce años empecé la carrera de danza en el conservatorio de Barcelona, y al mismo tiempo bailaba en una joven compañía de ballet. Aunque siempre he estado vinculada a la expresión plástica he complementé esta desarrollo con los estudios artísticos. A los dieciocho años, opté por seguir la forma que más libertad me proporcionaba. No he pensado mucho razonadamente las decisiones, siempre me ha guiado un acto intuitivo. De manera que todo ha sucedido de manera dinámica, permaneciendo en esas dos disciplinas artísticas que me determinan.

    What was your earliest memory surrounding art?

    My family has always educated me from an early age going to theaters and museums, so I always imitated what impressed me the most.

    Mi familia, siempre me ha educado desde muy temprana edad yendo a los teatros y a los museos, entonces siempre imitaba lo que más me impresionaba.


    Tell us about your process? How does each work come to fruition? Do you plan? Or are your paintings fluid in creation?

    I started from an investigation that responds to what concern me, to what I'm interested in investigating. All this is part of the background of the painting. At the same time when I paint, I limit myself to identifying the sensations, perceptions and visions that arise through improvisation.

    In theory everything has an established order, but the most important thing for me is the honesty of the stripped action. Get lost in the creative process and drift. You cannot order or fight against what the body asks of you.

    Artistic truth and functionality causing limitation and hermeticism. I believe that the canvas is a transforming container where the experience remains something dysfunctional in a temporality and an uninhabitable space. At this moment I understand painting as a container, which retains identities, bodily experience and the way we relate to ourselves and the world.

    Parto de una investigación que responde a aquello que me inquieta, a aquello que me interesa indagar. Todo esto forma parte del trasfondo de la pintura. Al mismo tiempo cuando yo pinto, me limito a expresar las sensaciones, percepciones e visiones que supuran mediante la improvisación.

    En teoría todo tiene un orden establecido, pero lo más importante para mi es la honestidad de la acción despojada. Perderse en el proceso creativo e ir a la deriva. No se puede ordenar o luchar en contra a lo que te pide el organismo.

    La verdad artística y la funcionalidad provoca una limitación y un hermetismo. Creo que el lienzo es un recipiente transformador donde la experiencia permanece como algo disfuncional en una temporalidad e un espacio no habitable. En este momento entiendo la pintura como un contenedor, que retiene las identidades, la experiencia corporal y la manera de relacionarnos con nosotras mismas y con el mundo.


    How do you know when a piece or project is finished and needs no additional work?

    That moment depends on your pictorial objectives, on the way you relate to the matter, on your way of being and perceiving. Each painting is diverse and has its own needs.

    Ese momento depende de tus objetivos pictóricos, de como te relacionas con la materia, de tu forma de ser y percibir. Cada pintura es diversa y tiene unas necesidades.


    What 3 words would you use to describe your work?

    Identity, body experience, physical intimacy, as a way of expressing perceptions.

    Se me hace difícil solo seleccionar tres palabras, a groso modo diría experiencia corporal, intimidad física, identidad, percepciones.


    What are your ideal conditions to paint? What is your studio like? And what are your artist essentials to work?

    My current studio is a four-square-meter garret in the neighborhood Poblenou, Barcelona. I paint stapling the painting on the wall. This shape is more practical and I feel more comfortable. I need a space that allows me a minimum of mobility and to be able to work at the same time with large, medium and small frames. Before I had a cooler but less intimate space.


    Mi actual estudio es una buhardilla de cuatro metros cuadrados en el barrio Poblenou, Barcelona, eso sí tiene terraza para despejarme. Pinto grabando la tela a la pared ya que esta forma es más practica y me siento más cómoda. Necesito un espacio que me permita un mínimo de movilidad y poder trabajar a la vez con cuadros de gran formato, medio y pequeño. Antes tenia un espacio mas guay pero menos íntimo.

  • What has been the highlight of your career so far?

    I have done exhibitions in galleries, participated in events ... but the highlight for me has been meeting other artists and having friends, going out to paint on the streets, going to have a few beers at studios, doing projects and collaborations ...

    He hecho exposiciones en galerías, he participado en eventos… pero lo más destacado para mí ha sido conocer y tener amistades con otros artistas, salir a pintar a la calle, ir a tomar unas cervezas a los estudios, hacer proyectos y colaboraciones…



    Who or what is your greatest inspiration? How does this inspiration come out in your work?

    I have many favorite painters, Maria Lassnig for the inner detachment and expression of intimate bodily perceptions and the type of self-referential painting. Also Paula Rego, Tracey Emin, Sue Williams, Dana Schutz, Cecily Brown, Helen Frankenthaler ... Christina Quarles ...

    Tengo muchas pintoras favoritas, Maria Lassnig por el desprendimiento interior y la expresión de las percepciones corporales íntimas y el tipo de pintura auto-referencial. También Paula Rego, Tracey Emin, Sue Williams, Dana Schutz, Cecily Brown, Helen Frankenthaler…Christina Quarles…


    If you could own one piece of artwork in the world, as if money or likelihood was no issue, what would it be and why?

    Maria Lassnig "Woman Power" 1979. I love a phrase that says "My mind is submerged in the unreal world, subtracts reality, I am afraid of being in this world, but also not being". In this painting she is exposed to the emptiness of the world, she starts from experimentation and inquiry, I perceive a sensitivity and strength in the brushstroke that invades me.

    Maria Lassnig “Woman Power” 1979. Me encanta una frase que dice “ Mi mente se sumerge en el mundo irreal, sustrae realidad, me da miedo estar en este mundo, pero también no estar”. En esta pintura está expuesta al vacío del mundo, parte de una experimentación e indagación, percibo una sensibilidad y fuerza en la pincelada que me invade.


    What is creativity to you? Do you consider yourself to be creative? Why or why not?

    Creativity comes from freedom, curiosity and the need to express what you perceive through your gaze and sensitivity. According to your way of being, perceiving and feeling.

    La creatividad proviene de la libertad, de la curiosidad y la necesidad de expresar aquello que percibes a través de tu mirada y sensibilidad. Acorde a tu forma de ser, percibir y sentir.


    Does your creative energy come from internal or external sources?

    It is a mix of internal and external factors. We are social and political beings, art has these connotations that implies the way of relating, of inhabiting space, customs ... everything is reflected. I feel like all the external force, my experiences conflict in my interior, through painting and gesture permeate everything that produces a change in me caused by external dynamics.

    Es un mix, de factores internos y externos. Somos seres sociales y políticos, el arte tiene estas connotaciones que implica la forma de relacionarnos, de habitar el espacio, las costumbres… todo se ve reflejado. Siento como que toda la fuerza exterior, mis experiencias entran en conflicto en mi interior, a través de la pintura y el gesto impregno todo aquello que produce un cambio en mi causado por dinámicas externas.

  • What is your greatest indulgence in life?

    I enjoy a lot of things, I love when my parents cook and then I take a nap.

    Disfruto gratamente de muchas cosas, adoro cuando mis padres cocinan y luego me echo la siesta.


    What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?

    I feel continuously starting, is very strong the transformation of speed, you are never in a estable point in the painting and I think this is how it should be. What I feel is that there has to be a constant work of self-exploration, risk, error ... Find a way to flow and move, without necessarily trying to make a style already established or a way of doing.

    Yo me siento continuamente empezando, es muy fuerte la velocidad de transformación, nunca estás en un punto estable en la pintura y creo que así es como debe de ser. Yo lo que siento es que tiene que haber un trabajo de autoexploración constante, de riesgo, error… Encontrar la manera de fluir y moverte, sin intentar hacer forzosamente un estilo ya instaurado o una manera de hacer.


    What are you working on at the moment?

    I am doing a series of paintings on canvas trying to innovate in the process and experimenting with new dynamics of colors and compositions. And other more experimental and spontaneous quick paintings on paper. I am also involved in a photographic project.

    Estoy haciendo una serie de pinturas en lienzo intentando innovar en el proceso y experimentando con nuevas dinámicas de tonalidades y composiciones. Y otras pinturas rápidas sobre papel más experimentales y espontáneas. También estoy metida en un proyecto fotográfico.


    What is your ultimate dream project?

    I would love to collaborate with one of the painters that I admire the most.

    Me encantaría colaborar con alguna de las pintoras que más admiro.


    Favourite historical female artist?

    Louise Bourgeois y Francesca Woodman

    Favourite current practicing female artist?

    I love the work of Sinéad Spelman.


    Who should She Curates interview next?


    Nuria Farre Abejón (@nuriafarreabejon), Gimena Herrera (@mariagimenaherrera), Mai Blanco (@maiblanco_ )