Circle of life – interview with Cuore

Carolina Favale paints under the pseudonym “Cuore” and is one of the most inspirational street artists working in Buenos Aires. Interview and photos by Buenos Aires Street Art.

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Challenges – Argentine street artist Cuore

Cuore’s murals stand out for their striking characters, vivid colours, beautiful compositions and powerful imagery. Beneath the surface there is also deep thought, care and sensitivity behind her creations. Her art also mirrors elements that have touched her own life as well as the world around her and draws inspiration from personal journeys, experiences, relationships and moments of introspection and reflection.

Carolina, 26,  faced plenty of tough challenges growing up in the working class neighbourhood of Boulogne – none more so that coping with the death of her father while she was just eight years old. She told Buenos Aires Street Art about how her life and her art are inextricably linked and the positivity she instills in her artworks. “I think life is always a challenge and there are a lot of new experiences that can cause change,” said Carolina, who has two sisters and a brother. “When my dad died, my mum was pregnant with my little sister and we were going to move into our new home. It was obviously a sad time for all our family but I think that when something bad happens that totally changes your life, you have to try to move forward in a positive way and learn from negative experiences. You cannot deny who you are or your story when you are painting, and I think life can be a bit like that.”

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Life forms (Sept 2011)

Circles often appear in Carolina’s artworks and to her the shape also has a deeper meaning. “I find life is like a circle in many ways, that’s why I use the circle a lot in my images because it is always moving or evolving,” she explains. “I think that we are always in a circle just learning and improving ourselves through our experiences but we always come back to the first step in our identity or our story. Sometimes I just use the circle because I like how it looks in the image but the circle explains a lot about how I think about life.”

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Full circle – Cuore and mural inspired by Argentine writer and poet Maria Elena Walsh (May 2012) 

Carolina studied Fine Art at the Antonio Berni School of Visual Arts in San Martín, Buenos Aires, graduating with an honours degree while also specializing in engraving. And her influences come from painters such as Mark Rothko, Antoni Tapies, Anselm Kieffer and Egon Schiele, and she points to Interesni Kazki (Ukraine), Herbert Baglione (Brazil), Kenor (Spain) and Inti (Chile) as some of the street artists whose work she admires most. Despite only starting to paint regularly in the street two years ago under the name “Cuore”, She has painted more than 20 murals in her home town and is now painting outside almost every week. “I was a painter before becoming a street artist and I was working with images and concepts a long time ago,” Carolina reveals. “I think that art should be a way to connect with other people and to help us think about who we are and it should carry a message.”

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Let’s go outside (July 2011)

To Carolina, reclaiming outdoor spaces through her murals and providing moments of contemplation and stimulation for the people who see them is what her work is all about. “I think street art is a good way to appropriate public spaces because we are not used to living in these spaces anymore,” enthuses Carolina. “In Boulogne there are almost no public spaces, there is just one park. It used to be a neighbourhood where people would sit outside drinking mate on the pavement and sharing stories with their friends but with the insecurity on the streets, people are now locking themselves up inside their homes and nobody is sharing. When I paint in the street I am not inviting people to my place to see my art, I am doing it in a public space and in this way I think art is something to share with others.”

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State of calm – mural on a prominent street corner in Boulogne (Sept 2011)

She adds: “I often have ideas or reflections that relate to something I have lived through or different situations but for me the most important thing is to try and find a calmness in the aesthetic of my images and to invite people to reflect or contemplate. You need that tranquility because we are so used to living in a hurry that often we don’t think about what is happening around us. Many people are so busy being taken in by consumerism, thinking about the new car they want to buy or a new TV. I think we need to understand ourselves first to become better human beings and then we will have a better understanding of other people and the world around us.”

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Sharing – Cuore painting at Arte Patricios (May 2012)

It’s obvious that painting outdoors is what Carolina enjoys most and to her it’s the purest and most open form of expression. “While I was studying Fine Art, I always felt like painting in the street because it’s a way of sharing what we are doing with other people and for me it’s more genuine that doing it in other places. If you are painting in the street, people are interacting with you all the time and commenting on your work. To me it’s fresher and more spontaneous. The people can see what you do, how the artwork itself develops and they can ask you about the techniques you use and ask you anything they want really.”

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Social beings (Sept 2011)

She added: “We are social beings, we live with other people and can’t survive for too long on our own. I think that many of the problems we have today in society and around the world are because we don’t get involved or care enough about other people. We need to learn from others and learn from our own experiences.”

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Human beings – design by Cuore at Meeting of Styles in Buenos Aires (Nov 2011)

Human behaviour is something that fascinates Carolina and human forms are elements that also feature frequently in her art. “I always try to think about human beings and how we interact with other people and talk about life with different symbols. I use the human body when I want to paint a man or a woman but they are never a man or woman they are allegories representing something else or another situation. For example in this mural (below) I saw the tree and its surroundings and the concept was all about autumn. It’s a space in which I feel we can relax for a minute and think about life and the world around us and take a moment to dream about new possibilities.”

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Autumn calm (May 2012)

Cuore’s growing number of murals have already become part of the urban landscape in Boulogne and she seems to be becoming something of a local hero. While we are chatting in front of her stunning design with its autumnal theme that she completed a few weeks ago, a local resident standing by her front door remarks: “Thank you for making our street so beautiful. When are you going to paint our house?”

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It’s a bug’s life – Cuore and the monster she’s nicknamed ‘Bug’

Another of Carolina’s recent and nearby artworks includes a surreal amphibian-like fish, and it’s a wall that she has painted three times. “I try to work with my own productions and the latest artwork is like an evolution of the fish,” she reveals. “At first it was a fish, then it became almost like a reptile, and now it’s more like a monster. I call it ‘Bug’.”

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Say it right – Beauty and the beast (March 2012)

The same piece also contains the contradictory phrase ‘Cómo es tu hermoso bitcho feo?’ written above the creature meaning ‘How is your beautiful ugly bug?’. Carolina explained: “The animal is really ugly but at the same time it’s beautiful. When I speak about this, I’m trying to think about how we are. We all have an ugly bug inside. You have to get used to the horrible things that are inside and share them in a good way.”

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Different strokes – “Difference is equality is freedom” (Feb 2012)

Carolina’s creations are often accompanied by poignant phrases or sayings that are carefully chosen and sometimes comment on the society that we live in. “I try to give my own reflections about who we are and I think we are always seeing the division and differences between us but not what we have in common so I always try to see what we have in common and make sense of it,” she says. “We have many things that are different but if we want to connect with others we have to look more closely at what we have in common.”

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Positivity – with Luxor and Acra in La Plata (March 2011)

She added: “When I was younger I used to produce artworks with a clear message often criticising things but then I realised if you criticise all the time it can have a negative effect. You have to think about what is the best solution.”

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Concept – Cuore painting a mural with Ene Ene (Dec 2011)

Carolina also revealed the thinking and process behind her artworks . “Sometimes the image comes first then the concept but in most cases first comes the phrase and the concept of what I want to say and then comes the image,” she says. “To me if you just put all of the phrase or the concept in your artwork you kill the image. In art, I think you have to produce something that says something and that’s why my concepts often focus around my life and my experiences.”

Check out more inspiring works by Cuore at www.carolina-favale.blogspot.com.ar/

All photos © Buenos Aires Street Art

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