RedMilk Meets Fatima Ronquillo

Thank you very much to Chiara Manzoni and RedMilk Magazine, the fashion and culture magazine based in Milan, Italy for a wonderful interview.

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Interview by Chiara Manzoni in RedMilkMagazine on February 1, 2018

JEWELRY OR PAINTINGS? DISCOVER THE WORLD OF FATIMA IN THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.

What is the relationship that you create with your works?

I always wish to create a sense of nostalgia… not necessarily about the historical past but of some memory evocative of personal romance or story specific to the individual looking at my paintings.

How do you choose the main subjects?

My subjects are often directly inspired by art history, books, poetry or opera. For example, I love Mozart’s operas so you often see Mozartian pages like Cherubino, my quintessential aspiring lover. Lately I have been reading about birds and they started appearing more and more, from songbirds to birds of prey.

In your paintings you express love and loss. Do you want to talk about these aspects?

Yes, we return back to that sense of nostalgia that may be an underlying thread in all my works. We’re all looking for an eternal love, and that longing implies an eventual loss.

You’re born in Philippines, do you transport your origins on your artworks?

Not specifically. However my figures have often been described as possessing a feeling of isolation. I came to the United States as a child and I admit that I’ve never fully lost that sense of uprooted loneliness that comes from having left the place of one’s birth and loved ones.

What are the concepts of “mystery” and “imagination”?

Mystery and imagination are the magic brought about by inspiration. It’s something I cannot force into being, but rather a gift by the muses.

There is a perceptible symbolism in your work, for example the eye. How do you take on this concept in your view?

I sprinkle symbolism throughout my works for additional layers of meaning and story to a viewer. Flowers and animals have symbolic and mythical associations and lend a narrative content. Sometimes it is quite literal as in an arrow-pierced wound symbolizing heartache.

Your art bring to the Mexican and Spanish Colonial art, but with a magical and romantic vision. What do you think about that?

One of my first memories as a child is the family altar of ‘santos’. In a way my paintings are reminiscent of those child like figures of saints with ivory heads. I also have lived in places with strong traditions of Hispanic art, first in the Philippines, San Antonio, Texas and now in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Is there any aspect of you that you’ve put in your paintings?

It is probably the “ambiguous gaze” in the eyes of my figures. I gaze at the figure, it gazes back at me, and it is perhaps that wonderment in the eyes that I hope is full of the emotions I feel when I create.

If we want find you in one of your creations, what would be and why?

“The Novice with Dog and Sweet Peas” … it is a painting of a nun with a little dog. I love it because it is a “devotional” painting of someone professing their vocation. And painting for myself is a devotion and a vocation. However I tend not to take myself all that seriously, hence the presence of the funny little dog.

“The lover’s eye”: what is emotion for you?

The lover’s eye paintings are all about love naturally. Someone secret or long gone. It is also a pictorial conceit of a portrait within a portrait. And perhaps a third eye, like a silent witness.

How do you feel when you are creating?

Mostly nervous. Sometimes excited.

Tell to us about your collaboration with A Magazine Curated by Alessandro Michele

Alessandro Michele is an extraordinary talent and visionary. After learning that he liked my work and found it an inspiration I was completely amazed and honored. So when Dan Thawley of A Magazine Curated By contacted me about contributing to the issue, my answer was an immediate “yes!”. In turn, I was inspired by Alessandro Michele and I ran with his “Blind for Love” theme and his coral snake has made it slowly into my paintings. It’s splendidly romantic imagery.

What is the relationship that you create with your works?

I always wish to create a sense of nostalgia… not necessarily about the historical past but of some memory evocative of personal romance or story specific to the individual looking at my paintings.

How do you choose the main subjects?

My subjects are often directly inspired by art history, books, poetry or opera. For example, I love Mozart’s operas so you often see Mozartian pages like Cherubino, my quintessential aspiring lover. Lately I have been reading about birds and they started appearing more and more, from songbirds to birds of prey.

In your paintings you express love and loss. Do you want to talk about these aspects?

Yes, we return back to that sense of nostalgia that may be an underlying thread in all my works. We’re all looking for an eternal love, and that longing implies an eventual loss.

You’re born in Philippines, do you transport your origins on your artworks?

Not specifically. However my figures have often been described as possessing a feeling of isolation. I came to the United States as a child and I admit that I’ve never fully lost that sense of uprooted loneliness that comes from having left the place of one’s birth and loved ones.

What are the concepts of “mystery” and “imagination”?

Mystery and imagination are the magic brought about by inspiration. It’s something I cannot force into being, but rather a gift by the muses.

There is a perceptible symbolism in your work, for example the eye. How do you take on this concept in your view?

I sprinkle symbolism throughout my works for additional layers of meaning and story to a viewer. Flowers and animals have symbolic and mythical associations and lend a narrative content. Sometimes it is quite literal as in an arrow-pierced wound symbolizing heartache.

Your art bring to the Mexican and Spanish Colonial art, but with a magical and romantic vision. What do you think about that?

One of my first memories as a child is the family altar of ‘santos’. In a way my paintings are reminiscent of those child like figures of saints with ivory heads. I also have lived in places with strong traditions of Hispanic art, first in the Philippines, San Antonio, Texas and now in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Is there any aspect of you that you’ve put in your paintings?

It is probably the “ambiguous gaze” in the eyes of my figures. I gaze at the figure, it gazes back at me, and it is perhaps that wonderment in the eyes that I hope is full of the emotions I feel when I create.

If we want find you in one of your creations, what would be and why?

“The Novice with Dog and Sweet Peas” … it is a painting of a nun with a little dog. I love it because it is a “devotional” painting of someone professing their vocation. And painting for myself is a devotion and a vocation. However I tend not to take myself all that seriously, hence the presence of the funny little dog.

“The lover’s eye”: what is emotion for you?

The lover’s eye paintings are all about love naturally. Someone secret or long gone. It is also a pictorial conceit of a portrait within a portrait. And perhaps a third eye, like a silent witness.

How do you feel when you are creating?

Mostly nervous. Sometimes excited.

Tell to us about your collaboration with A Magazine Curated by Alessandro Michele

Alessandro Michele is an extraordinary talent and visionary. After learning that he liked my work and found it an inspiration I was completely amazed and honored. So when Dan Thawley of A Magazine Curated By contacted me about contributing to the issue, my answer was an immediate “yes!”. In turn, I was inspired by Alessandro Michele and I ran with his “Blind for Love” theme and his coral snake has made it slowly into my paintings. It’s splendidly romantic imagery.