Portrait of an Artist: Kuh Del Rosario
Kuh Del Rosario is a Vancouver artist who draws inspiration from items people are often quick to throw away—chunks of foam, scraps of wood. She recovers and redeems the unwanted objects, assembling them to create vibrantly coloured, organic-looking sculptures.
Born in the Philippines, Del Rosario relocated from Calgary to Vancouver several years ago. She holds a BFA in painting from Alberta College of Art and Design and is a board member with the Main Street-area Dynamo Arts Association.
The Straight reached Del Rosario by phone.
How did you get started as a sculptor?
It was a way for me to investigate painting almost in the three-dimensional form. I wanted to investigate how a painting would look in 3D. I don’t know if you’ve seen my work, but there’s a lot of qualities that are more painterly. It’s almost like taking a painting and being able to walk around it and thinking about the painting and how it would function in the same plane as the viewer. It touches a lot on a lot of architecture. And I guess I’ve always been really tactile. When I used to do paintings, there was a lot of collage and a lot of incorporating different types of other materials. I wanted to move away from the two-dimensional plane and then, yeah, just take it off the wall completely and work with a whole bunch of materials.
What kinds of materials do you like using?
I like using a lot of found objects, a lot of objects from everyday. I salvage a lot of materials that I guess can be considered detritus or that are easily disposed of—things that are cheaply made, things that are made in large quantities like plastic forks or Styrofoam, things like that. I’m really interested in almost allowing these materials to go through another reincarnation, I guess. And really playing with the possibilities and basically turning upside down the specificity of some of these materials, especially when they’re so disposable.
Where do your ideas for pieces come from?
Mostly it all starts with an object, an object that already poses so many challenges and questions that need to be answered through the process. Like, say, I’m working through an old chair, it already has its own form, and so I would deconstruct it and then the process of trying to put it back together and trying to incorporate other materials into it already creates tension. So you solve a problem, and you fix it, and then that creates another problem. And then that goes on and informs the intuitive process. I guess, in that sense, the inspiration for the work is the materials themselves.
What kind of studio space do you have?
It’s basically a large storage space facility. We break it up into the different studio spaces. It’s kind of like open concept. I guess you could say it’s community based, and it’s a lot of feeding off other artists, not even in terms of inspiration, but just through osmosis because you have this natural dialogue happening with other artists. My space, itself, it has cement floors and cement walls. It can probably feel like a dungeon, except for all of the crazy colours that I use everywhere. It basically is a space where I can get messy. It’s a safe environment to just let go and be able to make the mistakes that fuel my work, or the process.
What’s next for you?
This summer I’m going to be attending a residency in B.C.—actually it’s between the B.C. and Alberta border—called the Corbin Union Residency. That will be really different for me because it’s going to be in the middle of the woods with a whole bunch of artists from all over the world…just being able to focus on your art, basically. That’s what I’m really excited about. And then in February I have a solo show in Calgary (at Truck Contemporary Art), so that’s going to be pretty exciting.
Portrait of An Artist is a regular feature on Straight.com that profiles local visual artists. Suggest an artist to profile in the comments section below or by sending a message via Twitter to @thomsonreporter.