Artist Interview with The Invisible Realm
A woman wrestles with a shirt of swirling stars. Two men morph their bodies in front of flocking birds. Ten strangers camel across a pink, Saturn-set desert. Something, it seems, is always a little strange, but that’s exactly how artist and creative director Felipe Posada (The Invisible Realm) intends it to be. For the past ten years, Posada has been creating compositions in a way he describes as extracting to reality what’s hidden below the surface.
“The actual technique of the collage is a tool I picked up for my line of work. That’s basically what I’ve done (since 2005) working as a designer, art director, animator, etc– making a lot of early concept commercial projects as collaged style frames and storyboards. Eventually those things would get polished to the point they don’t look like collage anymore, but I always enjoyed the initial part, when things weren’t totally perfect.”
But with the commitment of full time and freelance work, there was still an undercurrent of ideas and personal creativity to be expressed. Posada’s techniques, which is a combination of printed materials, digital stock, and 3D renderings, poured right over into his personal work.
“The birth of my first daughter had me take a step back and look at myself and the things I had done and undone to feel more complete and fulfilled. Probably because I wanted to project that to her. I started having these almost existential moments in which I felt unfulfilled with what I had done with my life and with my work. Even though commercially it was fine and acceptable, I was missing an essential part of myself.”
The work offers a reminder that we are not from here, but are visitors on this earth. That what’s “real” and familiar is perhaps the greater illusion after all.
“It was just a natural thing, I started creating these compositions, these collages, as a cathartic experiment to get stuff out. The same way some people may find that in writing, it was a tool to untangle the knots deep inside.”
“I started going back to early memories and ideas that I had. Beliefs, thoughts, dreams, fears. This collection of things that are part of the subconscious. I started exploring those things as visual representations– as artwork, and that was the start of The Invisible Realm.”
Posada was Born in Colombia to a catholic family, but grew up with doubt and uncertainty around his religion. Fortunately, his father was always on his side, offering books and wisdom and doors into other ways of seeing the world. “My father,” he retells, “gave me all these books that I still treasure about metaphysics and esoterism. Some of these concepts are pretty crazy, but a lot of it felt more universal to me and I found a lot of answers in there. I became very curious.”
Esoterism and the cosmos underpins the work. Intuition, old as time, is woven together with personal history and the neon glamour of the past half-century.
“The works may carry an aesthetic feel that I thrive for (retro, nostalgia, etc) because I grew up in those years– I was born in the 70’s– but a lot of the symbols, iconography, and bits of geometry are very universal.”
Themes of space and stars and faceless figures hold up mirrors to the penetrating mystery of living. The work offers a reminder that we are not from here, but are visitors on this earth. That what’s “real” and familiar is perhaps the greater illusion after all.
In Eterna Frida, an image that is half a sitting Frida Kahlo and half an anthropomorphic geode, these themes come together, literally, at their center. The shot of Kahlo was from 1939 by photographer Nickolas Muray and was much later popularized on a 2012 cover of Vogue Mexico. In Posada’s rendition, he situates her head in center of what could be an eclipsed star, a sort of new age halo. Kahlo, Mexican, had a complex geographic narrative and a broad postmortem fame– and so it is, maybe, that she sits neither here nor there, rather in a space that is above and beyond. Eterna. Forever. Literally crystallized as a cultural icon of near religious proportion.
“There’s variation in the process. It’s either one or the other: accidental or purposeful. Many times I have an idea of at least a concept that I want to explore. An essence. And then I start going through tons of imagery to can convey that idea. I find the images that can channel what I had in mind and help me shape it. Sometimes the images themselves take me down a different route and trigger something else. I may end up in a different place, but it’ll always have to do with something I had in my mind.”
Posada is essentially putting his intuition in the driver’s seat. It’s like getting lost on purpose, and as a result, the images are not answers or keys as much as they are questions and keyholes.
Like most artists, the work has come in waves. Lately the message to Posada has been to ease up. “As an artist, every time you slow down you get a little nervous.” But on some level, the work is always happening, albeit below the surface, where the breathing time in-between is vital for hearing the next cosmic whisper. And it will come. There’s an infinity inside us, where the library of dreams is held. A sort of Jungian bank. It’s what makes Posada’s work, rich with archetypes, feel so oddly familiar.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things that people can identify , in one way or another, with the artwork. That it pulls out something, an emotion, a thought, an action. It will trigger something different in different people, but what’s so rewarding is when it leaves an imprint on, and speaks to, your subconscious.”