Meet the versatile Venezuelan artist with indigenous roots,
through his Innovative Artist Call.
Denim and Art fused in "The American Denim", the artist call announced by the MIFA gallery and the FAMA association.
Marco Caridad is an interdisciplinary artist born in Venezuela and based in Miami, whose diverse and experimental fusion of media challenges stereotypes. He celebrates the intricate nuances of his experiences as a gay man, an individual of mixed heritage, an immigrant, and a Latino. His artwork has been recognized in prestigious venues such as the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, the Historic Post Office Museum of Miami, the Center for Fine Arts in Maracaibo, DORCAM, the Miramar Cultural Center, the Koubek Center, and MIFA, among others. Caridad has co-written two books, "Syllabaries: Images and Words" and "Develop Your Creativity with Theatrical Exercises"; he also holds a Master of Fine Arts from The Art Institutes, Miami International University of Art & Design, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Zulia.
He is a board member of FAMA (Fiber Art Miami Association) which, together with the MIFA gallery, calls for textile artists, fiber artists, or mixed media artists. This call is open until September 8, 2023.
"Art became the breath
that gave life to my thoughts,
the acceleration of my heart,
and the essence that infused
of my existence."
Interview with Marco Caridad:
"The Quality of Being Soft," a series of cut canvases, or as I like to call them, soft sculptures, hung on the wall. Just like the represented theme, the artworks are gentle, delicate, and vulnerable."
Do you remember a specific moment when your passion for art began?
From a very young age, I was drawn to colors and creative expression. When I walked the streets of Maracaibo, my hometown, I was fascinated by the art on display at a museum near downtown; I would always sneak away from home to go there.
"I surrounded myself with visual artists, actors, musicians, sculptors, puppeteers, and writers, immersing myself in a world full of creativity and possibilities."
When I began studying theater at the Center for Fine Arts, my passion for art overflowed completely; art became the breath that gave life to my thoughts, the acceleration of my heart, and the essence that infused every aspect of my existence. I surrounded myself with visual artists, actors, musicians, sculptors, puppeteers, and writers, immersing myself in a world full of creativity and possibilities. So, I could say that my passion for art has been the river that has carried the vessel of my life forever, but it was in the theater that it became a tsunami that propels me to create and explore without limits.
"I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had in my artistic journey
and I continue to work hard to grow and develop as
an artist in constant evolution."
Was there anyone who inspired or influenced you in the beginning?
I fondly remember a TV show called "Art Attack"; I used to try to replicate it as an enthusiastic and curious child. Then, during my university years, I had high-caliber professors and a fascination with Jackson Pollock and other post-war artists in the United States. In Venezuela, I also found inspiration in optical art, a movement of great relevance in the country's public art. Thus, between TV shows, interactions with professors, and artistic discoveries, my journey in the art world was shaped, merging diverse influences in my multidisciplinary exploration.
Do you feel that your artistic style has changed since your beginnings?
Definitely! Over the years, my artistic style has undergone significant changes due to my constant exploration and experimentation. My goal is to convey my ideas in a clear and impactful way.
"Not Easily Broken| Bonds of the Soul." Part of the series "Sans Stereotypes," created for a
at Miami International Fine Arts (MIFA) in 2001.
What has been the biggest artistic challenge you've faced so far?
The large-scale mural I am currently developing in Puerto Rico. This mural tells the story of the world's beginnings according to the Popol Vuh of the Maya. I had the opportunity to undertake an artistic residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District, where I was able to research and study the Popol Vuh.
During my DNA studies, I discovered that I have 70% indigenous ancestry, which was shocking to me since my parents had not communicated this information to me previously. This discovery sparked a deep interest in exploring the indigenous stories that are part of my identity and have been hidden. The mural I am working on poses challenges both in technical and conceptual terms. I am excited about the final outcome and the message it will convey to those contemplating the mural. The richness of the Maya history.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
My advice is to start with small formats and allow themselves to explore fearlessly. Experiment with different techniques and styles, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Working on smaller projects will allow you to save resources, try out new ideas, and complete work more quickly. Additionally, these smaller pieces are more accessible and can help you receive early feedback and sell your work. Remember that art is a journey of continuous discovery, so keep your passion and perseverance alive, and never stop exploring and growing as an artist. The world awaits your unique and authentic creations!
"I believe that intrigue is a powerful tool to capture the viewer's attention
and provoke an emotional and cognitive
connection with my art."
Let's talk about the Open Artists' Call...
"I want visitors to immerse themselves in a world where
denim comes to life in surprising and captivating ways."
Tell us about choosing this wonderful and iconic material.
I always seek materials that carry deep meaning and are iconic in themselves. I delved into the wonderful and timeless world of fibers and textiles. Recently, I decided to use denim, specifically old jeans from my husband.
Through researching the meaning of denim in American society, I discovered that this fabric has been associated with the exclusion of women and has played a significant role in US culture and the market. Moreover, denim symbolizes the working class and represents resilience and strength.
"By using my husband's old blue jeans in my sculptures, I am utilizing material loaded with cultural and personal significance. These pieces represent protective cocoons where a couple shelters themselves from the outside world. Through the use of denim, I want to explore and convey ideas about identity, resilience, and the experiences of immigrants."
What images or words come to mind when you think of the word 'jeans'?
A pair of worn jeans full of history.
People walk confidently and stylishly in fitted jeans.
Groups of friends laughing and having fun while wearing comfortable jeans.
Energetic and industrious workers wearing jeans to face the day.
Strength: durability and resistance.
Indigo: Feeling of freshness and youth.
Resistance: and rebellion in different moments of history.
Style: Fashion icon that has transcended generations and trends.
Have you thought about materials you'd like to use in your work, besides denim?
Absolutely! I've been considering different materials for my work, in addition to denim. One idea that excites me is incorporating candles, as they are a symbol that has been present in many of my creations. They hold deep spiritual meaning, and I would love to combine them with screenprintings that convey optimistic messages.
I've also been exploring the possibility of contrasting denim with other materials that represent strength and solidity, such as cement. I'm in a creative search phase, experimenting to discover how I can uniquely integrate these materials and generate an artistic discourse that provokes restlessness and curiosity in the viewer.
"I'm fascinated by the idea of merging
The softness and flexibility of denim
with the toughness and stability of cement."
The relationship between jeans and my art is exciting. By using them as a material in my works, I'm fusing my love for this iconic garment with my artistic expression, taking its meaning beyond fashion.
"Jeans become the platform where I can convey
my ideas, emotions, and messages."
What would you like to convey with this exhibition?
My enthusiasm for denim and how it can become a medium to communicate and tell stories. Through the participating artists, I want visitors to immerse themselves in a world where denim comes to life in surprising and captivating ways. I hope to awaken their imagination and curiosity, encouraging them to explore beyond traditional material conventions.
Thank you, Marco Caridad!
Spanish only-View full Interview with Marco Caridad
Credit: Kari Hovaghimian