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Meet: Camila Quintero

Two pieces of Camila's work
Two pieces of Camila's work

Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
08 April 2020

Camila Quintero graduated from the MA Visual Arts: Illustration at Camberwell in 2018. She is a visual artist, who has established a way to work with abstract geometry by using both fluid and controlled automatism. Since graduating her work has been included in a display in Selfridges windows, for a campaign for the make-up artist Pat McGrath. Last year Camila was part of Spotted at Top Drawer, UAL's stand at the UK’s leading design-led trade show for gifts and interior products. We caught up with her to find out more about her practice, as well as what it was like taking part in Top Drawer.

Camila in the studio
Image courtesy of Camila Quintero

Why did you choose to study at Camberwell? What was it about the course/ College that you liked?

I always wanted to study at UAL. The university is hugely influential in establishing many well-known creatives worldwide and its reputation is far-reaching. I considered a few course options across all the colleges with UAL but decided on Camberwell not only for the program but partly because it was located in South London where I live. My portfolio was also suitable for the MA. As the programs at UAL are broad, they allow you to explore different subjects and to connect with all the colleges.  I thought this was a great opportunity.

Camila's work to the left of a chair
Insitu 2. Image courtesy of Camila Quintero

Before your MA what was your background?

I studied Graphic Design with an emphasis on photography in Bogotá, Colombia. When I arrived in London I began working for art consultants for interior designers. In my free time, I started creating personal works based on my own experiences, travels and observations which then led me to develop a broad range of work which continued until I decided to enrol on the course.

Photo of Camila's final show at Camberwell
Final Show. Image courtesy of Camila Quintero

What is your inspiration behind your illustrations?

The inspiration behind my works comes from the response that we have from our surroundings. I believe my work has influences stemming from design, photography and architecture. I am highly influenced by Bauhaus and the exploration of basic elements of composition and colour from artists of the 20th century such a Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Fischinger, László Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. I create compositions that explore different perspectives and aspects that can be manipulated with the use of abstract geometry and colour. I strive to create a sense of floating in space and time, playing with atmospheric colours and composition. However my recent works have been less illustrative but rather abstract surrealist paintings - so perhaps I consider myself more of an artist than an illustrator now!

Sculpture by Camila
Belt of Venus. Image courtesy of Camila Quintero

After graduating from Camberwell, your work was exhibited in Selfridge’s window; how did that come about?

Displaying my paintings in the front shop windows of Orchard Street for a fabulous project in conjunction with a campaign for Pat McGrath, the makeup artist was a great platform to showcase my work. The creative team at Selfridges discovered me via Instagram as they particularly liked the abstract pieces I had created so they invited me into their offices to discuss the opportunity of using them as part of a new launch. Interestingly they chose a variety of mediums including paintings, digital prints on Dibond and sculpture made from Acrylic.

It was an incredible project, everyone was really easy going, supportive and collaborative. I had the opportunity to present three proposals for the design of the windows and to decide how best to display the pieces including the design of the stands, the walls and overall installation. The windows display were up throughout the summer as a celebration and joy of colour.

Camila's work in the windows of Selfridges

You’ve been involved in the Top Drawer trade show with UAL; what was that experience like?

It was great to take part in this event to represent UAL. I came to know great designers that were also displaying their works at Olympia. I think these events are a great opportunity for students and alumni to learn more about how to introduce their products and ideas to retailers, other designers and the public in general. It also exposes you to the commercial aspects of the industry.

Camila at Top Drawer
Camila at Top Drawer. Image courtesy of Camila Quintero

What is next for you?

I am focusing on creating new work. I had the opportunity last year to not only showcase my work in Selfridges but also with galleries, group exhibitions and auctions. I want to focus on growing my body of work, exploring new techniques and mediums, exhibiting and to be able to make more collaborations and new connections. Perhaps even a solo exhibition - that would be a real achievement for me!

Related links:

Check out more of Camila's work on her website

Follow her on Instagram