We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Szkolnik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
“It is never too late to be what you want to be”. At one point in my life, this was a recurring thought that came to mind. After graduating from the Toulouse-Lautrec Institute in Lima-Peru with a degree in Graphic Design, I began to work for an advertising agency. Shortly after, I met my husband and moved to Boston to continue my studies and got a degree in computer applications at the Massachusetts College of Art. We then moved to Venezuela where I dedicated most of my time to my family and raising my kids. Years later we immigrated to Miami, where I worked for an event planner for several years and pursued some freelance works here and there but ended up always scaling down because I feared not being able to find a good work-life balance. It is true, as people always say, that there is a right time for everything. When my kids were all grown up, I decided to set my fears aside and pursue my lifetime dream of being a visual artist. My ambition was to find myself in my creation, to enjoy every moment from the concept to the final piece and to connect with people through my art. To all the people out there with a dream, just take it one step at a time, focus on the path and believe in yourself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my sculptures I apply the technique of geometric folds using materials that can be manipulated and transformed to create volume. I started by learning the art of Origami, which is what prompted me to continue experimenting with paper pleating. That led me to the abstract and geometric forms generated by the pleats, which can be seen in my works. I integrated the use of repetitive modules, especially the triangular shapes, to create the volumetric structures. The main concept behind my works is called “Rhizome”, which is a botanical term. This concept was developed in the philosophical field by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. They compare the growth of a tree to the growth of this root which grows without order, horizontally, and acquires different paths. You can cut one side and it will grow in another direction. The generative growth of the modules and the use of elastic threads in some series of my works take place in a Rhizomatic way. That is how I achieve a balance between the formal and informal in a new way or order. Through the manipulation of these volumes, a more transformable and changeable work is created. For me it has a lot of resemblance to what life is about; constant changes, evolution and an infinite future that is not ruled by any defined or rational norm. In some way, they reflect contemporary realities that can only be explained from fluctuation, mobility, or multiplicity, such as the chaotic diffusion of information on social networks, the flow of ideas in our own mental processes, the oscillations of our behavior, political-social developments and migratory movements. That is why my works have a balance that opposes the firm and the flexible, connects the static and the transformable and represents the polished and the handcrafted. They connect one side that is structured and the other that is freer. I would love for each viewer to connect to my works in their own way, to trust the feeling it creates based on their own reality. My sculptures are versatile in size, color and form. They can be adapted to any wall size installation, be standing floor pieces, hang from ceilings and in small formats serve as decorative objects.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
South Florida is an incredible destination to visit and I would definitely pack a week full of touring and restaurants. Aside from the beautiful beaches and a scenic boat ride along the Intracoastal Waterway, I would take my friend for a walk around Wynwood, the Design District and Lincoln Road. In the itinerary, I would also include visits to the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Perez Art Museum Miami, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Norton Museum. With so many great malls to visit, I would take my friend to Bal Harbour Shops to walk around and eat at Makoto, as well as Brickell City Center to shop and eat at Casa Tua Cucina.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank my husband and kids for their love and incredible support; you are my rock. My family’s encouragement to always keep going is what drives me every day. My amazing friends who empower and inspire me, including my childhood friend who convinced me to share a studio with her where we worked on our own projects and did some collaborations as well. Thank you to everyone that has influenced my work in a unique way, who have helped me and given me the opportunity to grow as an artist. Last but not least, to life itself, which has been so good to me and I feel blessed to be where I am today.
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