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Marta Veludo studio visit

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Paying a visit to the work environment of visual artist Marta Veludo is like opening a babushka.

Marta Veludo

Upon entering the enormous former shipyard NDSM we find a small town of studios built up inside the existing structure. Marta meets us at the entrance and guides my colleague and me to one of the upper studios inside this town bustling with creativity.

The studio looks spacious with an elevated kitchen, desks interspersed along the walls and a big communal desk in the middle. We’re greeted by a curious colleague of Marta, working on material for one of their collaborative projects called De Vitrine. Inside this space is a small room with walls and inside these walls there’s a white trolley filled with colorful objects that makes the black printer standing on top look like the odd one out. There you have it. The smallest babushka, a mobile working table unapologetically displaying its colorful contents without overbearing its surroundings.

As small as it is, the mobile working station is not easy to miss: it’s the centre, like the last and smallest babushka, a solid core from which Marta works. At the same time the trolley is flexible and light, enabling her to move around the building freely. Right now she needs to move around the studios from time to time. It seems a literal and playful solution to contemporary demands to adapt to flexible working conditions

Nevertheless, this island – as Marta likes to call it – is not an end station, but a vehicle to arrive at a more permanent working place: ‘I like to have my corner as well, I’d like to have a desk.’

We’re sure there’s a desk waiting for her. Take a tour of her work and studio below.

‘Play has a special kind of relation to what is serious. More important, play itself contains its own, even sacred, seriousness.’ Hans-Georg Gadamer, Method & Truth.

It always had to do with shapes and colors.

When thinking of play, a child’s point of view comes to mind. Marta Veludo’s aesthetic is a vibrant play of colors and structures mixed with a thorough investigative curiosity. It’s easy to underestimate an aesthetic stemming from color-schemes, just as it’s easy to call artistic forms of play children’s games.

Remarking on the drawings she made when she was little: ‘I remember mixing weird colors in the drawings I did for my grandmother, they were really colorful. You always think: that’s kids-stuff. But there might be something to it. I have to look at them again.’ Going from dancing to playing soccer, from sculpture to graphic design, Marta’s form of play is easily recognisable in her most recent work.

I always work the other way around!

Describing her working process, she comments on her unusual connection to graphic design, Marta’s disciplinary basis. Although this discipline should be called her stomping ground: ‘It’s always a fight. In graphic design, you have to work in black and white and when it works in black and white you can apply colors. But I always work the other way around! I start with a palate of colors and then go to apply shapes and structure.’

It might not be the right way, but what is the right way anyhow?

For Marta though, it’s the only way to go and that might also be the appeal of her work. ‘It might not be the right way, but what is the right way anyhow?’ Sure enough, what makes it exciting might be that the work crosses boundaries of graphic design only to enter into the field of plastic arts. The compositions and lines Marta traces gain an exciting depth because they were conceived from strange color palates. They gain a palpable quality as a result which makes the two dimensional work highly suited to start a life in 3D, i.e. a shawl, piñatas and a store window installation.

It’s true, the attraction in these works are colors fading into each other, colliding and slipsliding and always demanding an attention of their own. Citing influences she mentions design studio Yokoland, because their typography works ‘in a tactile way’. It’s true, the tactile potential in starting with colors is what forms the attraction of Marta’s aesthetic.

Even in collaborative works such as the reading material she created for the Vitrine, which is only made up of primary colors blue and red due to the risograph printing technique used to create it, this approach shines through.

Text: Suzanne Knip-Mooij
Photography: Debbie Trouerbach

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