At only 17, this young Colombian artist has managed to set for herself a stellar path that many experienced artists would want for themselves. Exhibiting from New York’s’ Times Square to even the Louvre Museum in Paris, there are no borders for the art of Isabella Madrid, who supported by her loyal social media followers, continues to reveal her feelings like a chrysalis becoming a butterfly.
Isabella Madrid was born in Pereira, Colombia’s beautiful coffee region, in a large family of prestigious coffee entrepreneurs. At the age of twelve, she began to feel a void in her life that she tried to cover with many other activities until her father gave her the first camera at thirteen and she discovered photography: “I saw other people’s cameras and I was fascinated by the idea of everything that could be done with that artefact, I had finally found the perfect filler.”
Her technique of self-portrait, now better known as ‘selfie’, contrasts with the current celebrity culture and ostentatious living of appearances. Isabella Madrid’s style is simple, candid and introspective. Truth and beauty in images that are retouched, not to show an unattainable beauty, but to visually reach the beauty of feelings that words can’t convey.
“Photography started as a therapy for me, it was a distraction I needed urgently because my mind was not ready to function normally.”
The leap to social media popularity comes to Isabella through the celebrated “Exposure” awards granted by the Internet platform SeeMe. Over the past five years, SeeMe has managed to connect creatives from around the world with a global audience through both social networks and exhibitions at world-class venues, from Art Basel Miami to the Louvre, the White House, or dozens of events in New York City.
Isabella took part in the New York’s Times Square exhibition in 2014 and also at Louvre Museum in Paris in 2015. With this, there came publications in art books, individual exhibitions in her country, and the accumulation of an almost one hundred thousand internauts follower base who reward with several thousands “likes” and complimentary comments each and everyone of her photos.
Speaking several languages and an exquisite education prepare the young artist for international success, although she now only dreams of going to university to study visual arts, travelling and continuing her passion for making and sharing unique images that peel, one by one, bittersweet feelings like the petals and thorns of a fragrant rose.
Isabella tells CHROM how her experience has been so far.
CH: How did your creative work begin?
IM: My dad bought me my first camera at age 13 and I quickly got bored of just taking pictures and doing nothing with them. So there began my love for post production, and realizing the incredible things that could be achieved from a photograph changed everything. I was already totally in love with photography and I knew that the road would be very long.
“Inspiration comes to me from the most unexpected places and people. However I also find it within myself, in my feelings, in the human body, in light, and in nature”
CH: Tell us a little about the creative process and your technique to carry out your works
IM: My artistic photography is mainly the self-portraits I do. Therefore, the whole creative process is very personal and aimed to self-discovery. With my tripod and remote control, I start taking pictures, many times without knowing the direction I want the photographs to take. The best ideas usually come to me as I try to produce the ideas that I already had in mind, so my technique is quite spontaneous and without much preparation. I do all the editing in Photoshop, I like to experiment with textures, mixing digital painting with photos, with colors, with light, with black and white, and whatever comes to mind sitting there where I can spend hours.
CH: How do you define your style? Does your work have a message?
IM: I think I’m still not able to define my style, I’m constantly trying to experiment more with my work and looking for that something I want to keep forever and be known for. There are some constants in my artistic photography however, like the fact that they are all self-portraits and that the process is always of self-discovery. I don’t intend my work to have a meaning but to convey a sentiment.
CH: What other artists do you admire?
IM: I admire many artists that influence my work; photographers, painters, musicians, and filmmakers, in all I can find inspiration and because of the fact that they manage to do a job that captivates me, I admire them; the list is endless.
CH: What places and mood do you like to work?
IM: My creative work mainly happens in my own room. Places where I can be myself without any concerns, and places with lots of light are the best places to make my ideas come true.
CH: What do you think is reason of your social media popularity? What is the secret of your connection with the public?
IM: Since I started to produce creative photographs I felt the need to share them in social media, so since I was 13 I have been building my platforms, especially Instagram. I think what has helped me connect with the public is their active participation, the continuity in sharing my work, and engaging with other people who are doing the same as me, to grow together.
CH: What projects are you working on now?
IM: My main focus now is to finish school and go to university to study visual arts. I do not have anything specific in mind except to continue experimenting with new ideas in order to be able to set up new projects in the very near future.
CH: What are the current opportunities for young artists like you who don’t live in the main art hubs?
IM: I think the opportunities are on the internet. It’s amazing the power of connections made online, and anything I’ve been able to do would be have been possible without my online presence.
CH: What are your aspirations and desires for the future?
IM: I want art and photography always present in my life, I want to go to university and study visual arts, I want to graduate and build my career from this, I want to travel the world taking pictures, and no matter what the future brings, photography will always be part of my life, that I am sure.
CH: Where can we see and buy your art?