BEYOND THE EASEL: Graduates Working in the Arts
ProyectArte gives its students not only a high-quality arts education, but also the tools and opportunities to broaden their professional horizons. In today’s world, a career in the arts can mean many different things, not just painting and drawing. As ProyectArte graduates Florencia Buezas, Mercedes Peñalva, and Matías Presta demonstrate, professional artists don’t necessarily need to confine themselves to the easel.
Florencia Buezas, a 2008 graduate of the Scholarship Program, first embarked on her small-scale jewelry-design venture as a source of extra income. She applied for and received a micro-credit loan from the Municipality of Saladillo that enabled her to purchase the tools and materials she needed to advance her work. Although her product line is still under development, her vision is to give materials like leather and metals a special twist by incorporating elements unique to her personal artistic style, like elaborate branching designs. While she doesn’t plan to leave painting behind, she has found jewelry making to be surprisingly close to her art; it’s a skill she is now hoping to perfect.
Another working artist from the 2007-08 Scholarship Program is Mercedes Peñalva, who attended fashion design school and is currently working to develop her own clothing line, AMAME BARROCA, prendas hechas con amor, (Love Me Baroque: Garments Made with Love). According to Mercedes, her designs for AMAME BARROCA reflect her own unique philosophy of life. Her clothing is made for the “baroque woman” who manages a busy schedule and has many projects on the go, yet who has not abandoned her attention to detail and her concern for beauty. The garments aspire to be both multi-purpose and timeless; one can pair them with wardrobe basics for both day and night and wear them throughout all the seasons of the year. Her brand envisions a world that is more tender and romantic, with an optimistic and playful aesthetic. They are made with loving care, as every piece is unique: hand-dyed, with hand-made embroidery and prints. Mercedes’ clothing line builds on her work as an artist, incorporating prints taken from her drawings and the works of other emerging artists, bold uses of color, and innovative combinations of fabrics and textures. Her artwork has long played on fashion, offering a critique of current fashion industry practices.
Mercedes has found fashion design to be a rewarding field of work that indulges her creativity and independence, provides her with a monthly income, and gives her a the flexible schedule necessary for her to continue her studies. She is currently gathering materials and working on ideas and designs for her spring-summer line. Her brand is sold in a variety of locations, including a monthly design fair that she organizes herself called Bohemiadogue. AMAME BARROCA can be found on Facebook and at www.wix.com/mercedespenalva/amamebarroca.
Matías Presta, a 2010 Scholarship Program graduate, is thankful every day for his job in the Creative Lab at Vostu, a social gaming company that develops online games and other multimedia for social networks like Facebook and Google’s +1. Vostu is based in Sao Pablo and New York, and the company has over 500 employees in Buenos Aires’ Puerto Madero neighborhood and almost 50 million users around the world, particularly in Brazil, Mexico, the U.S., and Asia. Matías works in a select team of art directors alongside one of the company’s three owners. His job is to help define the style and visual elements of upcoming games and projects. More than the final product, what he enjoys the most is the creative process: developing a game’s aesthetic profile, defining its characters, and designing backdrops and buildings. The experience, he explains, is like being backstage at Disney. He is thrilled to have a job that requires him to draw all day, both by hand and digitally, and to try out new styles—some realistic, others more cartoonish—to fit the desired profile. Beyond complimentary snacks and lunch, one of the notable benefits of working at Vostu is the live model classes held twice a week. Despite working full time, Matías is still able to manage many additional activities, including coordinating art therapy programs in psychiatry, teaching drawing to first year students at the University of Buenos Aires, and pursuing his own studies.