5 Questions profiles SAIC students and faculty at work, in the school and beyond. This month, F Newsmagazine spoke with Pablo Vindel, a first-year Master of Fine Arts student in Fiber and Material Studies who works across fiber, fashion and performance.
What is your background?
I was born in Spain. I grew up in a little town with my parents — a pharmacist and a chemist — and with my younger sister, Ana. I mention them because their strong personalities and their careers had, and still have, a great influence on my artistic practice.
When I was 18, I started a BS in Human Psychology at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Soon, my interests in identity and the inner world began to demand a new direction: a more personal, versatile and transformative perspective. Thus, in 2010 I moved to Valencia and began my BFA. A scholarship took me to France two years later, where I received a wonderful education in smithery and mosaic at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris.
From Paris, I went through an artist residency in Istanbul, and a summer program at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2013. I was soon captivated by the vitality and fearlessness of the artists I met in the United States, and I believe these characteristics are two key drivers for making things count, no matter what you devote your life to.
What themes do you explore in your work?
I am interested in the skin as a permeable concept. Skin behaves as border and as interface. It is an envelope but it also represents an integral part of our lives and, as I see it, of our relationship to others. Within my work, skin records not only cultural-external experiences, but also interior states and intimate spaces. This potential duality that skin gathers also serves as metaphor for the duplicity and the fragmentary impulse of the self, allowing a confrontation.
What are you working on right now?
Lately, my work has been mutating towards a performative territory. At the same time, I am more and more inclined to the Fashion Department. Performance and fashion, together, are entering my practice as a very refreshing and challenging intersection. I am currently building a garment; I call it “an alternate skin.” I am also engaging in new processes, such as wet sewing, and studying a variety of materials: hair, parchment, and vinyl. It is the strangeness and newness of it that seduces me more. Uncertainty makes it worthwhile.
What do you enjoy most — or least — about SAIC?
SAIC is a living organism, and a fascinating one. I couldn’t be more pleased having crossed the ocean once more. The greatest reward for me is the opportunity to build and establish strong connections with very interesting and committed individuals.
The experience is extremely intense, but that is the challenge, right?
Where do you like to go in Chicago?
I would truly like to explore the city much more than I have done. Like a good Spaniard, I am a big wine and food lover. Trying new recipes in new places sounds like a very seductive plan for the coming months!
Visit Pablo’s website at pablovindelartist.com to see more of his work.