Today we’d like to introduce you to Leonardo Bravo.
Leonardo, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I think something foundational for me is that I was born in Chile and grew up in Valdivia, a small college town in the south of Chile and in the middle of the Lake Country, surrounded by spectacular lakes and volcanoes and intersected by a winding river that leads out to the Pacific Ocean. I mention this because the landscape there has a profound impact on your sense of place. It is an area of dampness and constant rain creating dense and atmospheric forests that envelop the region. There’s a mystique to the south of Chile, being there you are highly aware of nature having its own life force, responsive to its own rhythms and patterns. Myths and legends from the indigenous past create a vivid space for a type of animism of the natural world and these definitely take hold of your imagination. As a kid, I felt that I was connecting to larger energies outside of my self-embodied by the natural world and being made palpable through keen observation and perception.
However far I’ve come from this place, as an immigrant to the US and my life in LA, I know it’s informed and shaped how I observe and connect with the world around me and has deeply influenced my work as an artist.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I primarily make paintings on paper that point towards a type of architectural form and geometric patterns related to weavings and textiles. In a broader sense, I use this complex visual vocabulary as a way to explore states of fluidity, transition, tensions, and movement. I see them as akin to visual mappings, the weft, and warp of weavings, or wall markings calling forth a collision of histories, voices, imaginings, and incantations. Although the works are not by themselves illustrations of a rich source of inspiration, they function as evocations to be read, suggestive of a complex and compelling symbol system. I’m inspired by the work of artists such as Ani Albers and Gunta Stolzl from the Bauhaus weaving workshop, but also from South American indigenous textiles, and tantric paintings from Rajasthan. Ultimately the complexity of works I make suggests an architecture of time and space in which forms continue to build upon each other, emanating new relationships, and suggesting pathways that open up to limitless possibilities, questions, and complexities.
In addition to my paintings, my practice also includes Big City Forum an interdisciplinary, social practice and curatorial research project that brings attention to emergent practices across design, architecture, and the arts. Analog to my artworks Big City Forum seeks to create a model of collaborative engagement and relationships.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
To seek out connections and relationships to other fields of knowledge and practitioners. The sprawl and fragmentation of LA tend to easily create silos, so I think it’s important to learn from others radically different than who we are and understand that there’s a rich tapestry of experiences that connect us together. I think also a personal commitment to your craft, above and beyond the market and/or personal accolades, is critical to see this through persistence and perseverance.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I just had a private showcase of new works at a private residency in Los Feliz and recently exhibited with BKB Design gallery in Palm Springs as I feel the work stands in relationship to the sensibility of artists working in the high desert. I’m also involved with Bettina Hubby’s, Curatorial Hub, a super nimble and responsive site for exhibiting and selling work and developing more opportunities for artists. www.curatorialhub.com
Through Big City Forum I’ve been able to collaborate with some of more important cultural institutions in the region including the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Cal State Dominguez Hills School of the Arts, Art Center, Otis Art Institute, The Skirball Center, and The Neutra VDL House.
- Website: www.curatorialhub.com/leonardo-bravo
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @bravoarts