Metro Artist Profiles: Paulina Luz Sotto
The visual artist muses on how art has made her who she is today, her process and her inspirations as a creative, and walks us through her ongoing exhibit, ‘Alleviating Through Fine Lines'
It may come as a surprise to some but visual artist Paulina Luz Sotto never planned on following her grandfather’s footsteps. “Growing up with him, I never viewed him as a National Artist. He was always just my grandfather, and he never tried to influence me in any way,” she reveals. When she hit her teen years, she started becoming interested in art but had thought that the chances of making it into a career were slim, and ended up pursuing a degree in Communications to eventually get into Advertising.
“After graduating cum laude, I decided not to work right away and just spend time on my hobbies… one of them was art,” she smiles. “I suddenly got an idea, almost out of nowhere, for an abstract painting. I posted it on social media, had a few more ideas that I put onto canvas, and just kept sharing them with no intentions of selling. Eventually, someone asked me if they were for sale and that’s how it all started. It almost feels like it was meant to be, in a way.”
Paulina sees her art as embodying the beauty in simplicity. Through the years, and in her evolution as an artist, she has always viewed herself as an artist who utilizes simple lines and color in order to invoke a sense of joy and peace in the viewer.
As she grew up surrounded by her grandfather’s art, she had never really paid close attention to it but today realizes that art has always been a part of her life. “Now that I’m an artist myself, it has allowed me to stretch the limits of my creativity and discipline. Also, in terms of the simplicity of my art, I try to keep things simple in other aspects of my life. What I wear, for example, is never fancy or out there. If it’s comfortable and easy to put on, then that’s for me," she grins.
On her ongoing exhibit at Galerie Stephanie titled ‘Alleviating Through the Fine Lines’, she had a simple wish and mindset: to make everyone’s lives a little easier. She describes her art as not having deeper meanings nor hidden agendas—what you see is simply what you get. “The world is in a tough spot right now. Every single person is going through challenges that they have never had to face before… We don’t need anymore complications in our lives. I just want to make things a little better, hence the title,” she explains.
The exhibit is also extra special for Paulina, as this is her first one as a new mom. “I gave birth to our daughter last September 2020. It’s been hard managing my time between taking care of our baby and working on these paintings. It’s a new challenge but something that I embrace because I enjoy doing both. I’m just happy and thankful that my daughter is happy and healthy, and that I still have the opportunity to do what I love while seeing her grow every day.”
The show runs from January 30 to February 14, 2021.
A Peek Inside 'Alleviating Through the Fine Lines' by Paulina Luz Sotto
A Peek Inside 'Alleviating Through the Fine Lines' by Paulina Luz Sotto
Get to know more about Paulina Luz Sotto as an artist, what it was like mounting her ongoing exhibit ‘Alleviating Through the Fine Lines,’ and her creative influences and processes below.
1. Who and/or what are your artistic inspirations? What keeps you inspired as an artist?
Of course, my grandfather is one of my biggest inspirations. He has accomplished so much and has been a huge influence in the Philippine Art industry. I also love the works of Mondrian, Matisse, and Dali, among others. But other than the more well-known artists, I actually follow a lot of lesser known artists on social media, both local and international. So when I have a creative block, I just have to go through my Instagram’s homepage and scroll through all the beautiful works that these artists share. I also have a collection of different art books. I like to go through them when I feel stuck.
2. Take us through your artistic process—concept, choosing the medium, creating it, working on it, and then finally finishing one piece.
When it comes to concept, sometimes I’ll get a brand new idea suddenly, and sometimes I’ll make variations of a certain style. There are also times wherein I just aimlessly doodle and see if there’s anything that warrants a closer look. What I actually choose to create just depends on what I feel like working on. The process of actually creating it largely depends on the style. There are some styles, for example, that I have to sketch out first before transferring it onto a canvas. But most of the time, I work free-hand directly onto the canvas. As for the medium, I like to work with acrylic paint because it’s flat and easier to layer. Working on a piece for me actually feels very therapeutic. I’m very particular about the clean lines, and those are all done free-hand. Cleaning up the lines and making sure they are neat and bold is a process that I enjoy. I usually listen to podcasts while doing this.
As for finishing, sometimes that’s actually the hardest part, knowing when to stop. I try not to overdo it when it comes to my paintings. I want it to be intricate and eye-catching, but at the same time I don’t want to put too much on the canvas. Most of the time I’ll look away from the painting, take a step back, then look back at it and see if it makes sense to me. I can’t really explain how I know if a painting makes sense—it just does or doesn’t.
3. What about creating art in quarantine—what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
Luckily, being in quarantine hasn’t affected me much as a working artist. When I paint I am always just alone in my home studio, so that hasn’t changed. Now that we have social media, it’s much easier to share my works and talk to clients without needing to actually see them in person.
4. What are your favorite mediums of art to use? Favorite subjects/topics to tackle?
Favorite medium would definitely be acrylic paint. As mentioned earlier, I like acrylic because it’s flat and easy to layer. I also love using gold leaf in my paintings because of its reflective properties. As for subjects, I love painting cityscapes—different versions, different styles and colors.
5. Would you have a favorite piece or series that you worked on in your career?
My favorite piece is always the latest one.
6. Where do you see yourself as an artist in the coming years? How do you hope to evolve?
I see myself exploring different styles, challenging myself to create something new with simple lines and colors. I hope I can explore different mediums, maybe create some sculptures.
7. Walk us through the works, your favorite pieces, what it was like mounting this exhibit. What makes it different or special from other solo exhibits in the past?
My upcoming exhibit showcases a little of everything that I love to work on. There are landscapes and cityscapes, some portraits, paintings with a lot of color, some using my favorite combination of red-black-white; just a bit of everything. I’m also exhibiting some prints for the first time. I love to draw flowers, so I’ve included five flower prints as well.
It’s always hard to choose a favorite piece. I put effort and thought into every piece so they all mean a lot to me and I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite.
Mounting this exhibit has been very different from the others because of the ongoing pandemic. This exhibit was originally scheduled for June, but we had to postpone it. Even now that things have settled a bit, it’s still a struggle because I can’t go to the gallery myself since I have a baby at home and can’t take any risks. Thankfully the gallery has been very understanding about this. It’s also the first time that there will be no opening reception. While I would love to have one, everyone’s safety comes first. With that being said, I’m very grateful that I get to exhibit my pieces even with everything going on.