I first got in contact with Laura through Instagram. After we discovered that we both live in Vienna now we decided to meet at a concert (Tash Sultana, very amazing).
I soon after that discovered her poetry, paintings and other artwork and was in love with it from the first moment on.
Her work is very genuine, very honest and raw but powerful at the same time. Through it you get a glimpse into her experiences, what moves her, messages she wants to convey, ultimately into her life.
For this next part I sat down with Laura and asked her some questions:
Luna Maluna Gri: Tell me a bit about yourself and your work:
Laura Oyuela: I’m Laura Oyuela, I’m 21 years old and I paint, I draw and sculpt and write, so I don’t think I have any specific medium in that way. I always work, I would say, depending on what I wanna do. If it’s a topic or an idea I have at a specific moment, I then find the medium to do it.
I’m originally from Honduras, I grew up there and when I was 18 I moved to Vienna because I wanted to study art or something related to art.
LMG: How and why did you start writing poetry and painting/drawing ?
I think that at least drawing and painting, totally unannounced. I started doing it and then just never stopped. I think when I was around 14, 15 a teacher called me on the school vacation, (between going from one grade to another) and she was like: “Laura, I want you to participate in an art competition next year and I want to teach you watercolors” and I was like “why ? Where does this come from ?” and maybe it was just because last year in art class I did a small painting and she really liked it, so then I was like “yeah sure”, I mean, I told her that I didn’t know anything about painting but of course I thought that it wouldn’t kill me to learn how to paint and probably I would enjoy it. And I think ever since that teacher called me, taught me, and started me into painting and watercolors, I realized I really liked doing it and I never stopped. So after that, I even took classes at the school of fine arts in Honduras and was always looking for or doing things like painting.With writing, I think it also started at the same time. I had this “wreck this journal” book and after I finished that I just got a normal notebook and I simply wrote down stuff, glued stuff, etc. I started doing it and I just kept on doing it until now.So in a way I just kept on doing stuff without realizing at that moment that I was actually painting and writing quite a lot.
LMG: What do you like more about painting and what more about writing ?
LO: Well, about writing I think it’s different things. Sometimes, I write out the same thing a lot of times just because I’m thinking about something a lot but then other times I just write because I’m bored or random words come to me and I write them down kind of immediately. I write mostly poetry, so in a way, it’s not like short stories or something narrative but more like, I would say, artistic in a way. And what I like the most is that for me in a way it’s kind of like thinking. I think a lot, and when I write, I just write down what I’m thinking, so it’s basically the same for me. So it’s like putting down my thoughts.With painting and doing stuff with the material, I think what I like the most, is actually doing it. I have the problem that I spend a lot of time on how to find the material, given that I don’t work only in one specific medium. I think it would be easier if I would be, for example, only painting, then I would have an idea and then visualize it in painting. Sometimes I visualize something in a lot of materials and it’s kind of hard to pick one or just one. So what I think I like more about painting or doing sculpture, creating something is when I’m actually doing it and I’m very into it.
LMG: What is your experience with performance art and how or what do you feel when performing (poetry for example) ?
LO: When I’m about to read my poem I think ‘Ahh! very nervous’ but when I’m then actually reading it, it’s like, I know them already so well, so it’s a little bit natural when I’m reading them out loud.But I think, for example, I’ve only made two performances, like art performances before, where it doesn’t involve talking in a way (like directly) and I feel like, for me at least, that’s easier to do than reading poems that you already wrote. Because at that moment when I’m performing, I’m not scared of doing it, even though in the performance I’m also myself and also the person I am in the performance. I feel like it’s freer and I’m not scared of doing it, of moving or standing.
LMG: What do you think is the role of artist and art in our society?
LO: think they have more than one role and it’s probably too hard to pinpoint just one, but I think in a way most artists have this power to present things, either social problems or personal experience or scientific theories when they channel it to their own view. Sometimes it really resonates with someone else and if this someone else actually gets to see a piece or a poem or experience a performance, I think in a way, they transmit a lot of information and a lot of knowledge even, without it being a traditional way of learning or experiencing.
LMG: What role does writing play for you ? What role does painting play for you ?
LO: To be honest I can not stop doing it, even if I would try to. I mean I’ve tried to. Sometimes I even question myself “Does it have a purpose for me to write so much ?”, because nobody reads my stuff or I’m not actually doing it to share it or the works I make. Sometimes I just do them because I just have this feel of doing them, and of course there are others that I know that are probably trying to do something with them or trying to share them with someone, but I feel like it’s already a part of my life. I think the role that it plays is being a part of me and being a part of who I am. And also how I present myself to the world, because it’s already so involved in my life that it’s something that’s always there and I feel like it won’t go away.
LMG: What inspires you ?
LO: Life (laughs). Like now, a lot of things that inspire me are, because I’m doing a lot of research and reading a lot. I often get a lot of questions from very, I’d say, academic knowledge. Sometimes when something is very scientific, you read it and then you realise it resembles something else, like a very simple personal experience. I think it’s everything. Also I feel like whatever personal things I go through also goes into my work but it’s not that simple to say this or that. Also going to university and my friends and everything kinda complements in a way to what I do.
LMG: What is something you can’t create without ?
LO: Energy (laughs). I feel like sometimes or a lot of times people say “you need inspiration”, and of course that plays a role but…..
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Copyright to all photos and artwork: Laura Oyuela