Interview with the Visionary Collagist Óscar Varona

Inside Óscar Varona’s Creative Artworks.

Óscar Varona is a writer, collagist, and librarian from Madrid. He graduated in Library Science and Documentation from the Complutense University of Madrid. Inspired by disobedient storytelling techniques and minimal routines, he has released numerous collections of stories and collages. He is the author of the short story collection “Tremolo” (2003). His work has been published in “The New Yinzer” (USA, 2009), “Mondo Kronheca Literature” (Argentina, 2009), “Metazen” (Canada, 2010), “Ascent Aspirations” (USA, 2014), and issues six, eight, and nine of “Groenlandia” (Spain, 2009 and 2010). Other publications include “Imprint” magazine, “Cóctel Demente,” “Pif Magazine,” “Empty Mirror,” and “Rapsodia.” Varona was also the coordinator and editor of the cultural journal “Delirio” (2009-2012). Though he has been writing for a long time, he is also the author of the novels “Contracción” and “Nocturna Artificial.” Recently, he has focused more on collages, fascinated by the juxtaposition of sexualized/commercialized body images and elements of organ, blood, guts, death, and decay in his artwork. Varona prefers his art to speak for itself through his multidisciplinary creations.

Óscar Varona’s Behance, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook profile pages

Can you please introduce yourself and share with us something about your background?

My name is Óscar Varona and I’m from Madrid, Spain. I’m a writer, a collagist, and a librarian, so far. Nothing more interesting in my background.

Oscar Varona
Óscar Varona

How did you get into art? What prompted you to create collages? Can you share with us the first/best memory that made you involved in this path?

I don’t know, or I don’t remember, how I got into art. I guess these are things that have always caught your attention. Other people have their own concerns, neither better nor worse, but there is no specific reason to come to art. It’s not that I’m more sensitive or anything like that, or a better person.

I got into the world of collage because I like the idea of mixing different materials when I made mainly analog collages, and creating images that I couldn’t make with drawing or illustration as such.

My first memory, which is not the best, is buying porn magazines to make my first collages, which turned out to be real shit.

What do you love the most? What are the challenges?

I’m not sure what you mean. If you mean life in general, well, typically, my family and friends. As for creating collages, I love it when I get so absorbed that it’s a kind of meditation. Unlike writing, collages are not stressful. I don’t have any particular challenge. I had them at the time. Now I’m happy to keep breathing.

Who are your creative influences, and whose artwork do you admire at the moment?

I have many creative influences, so many and so diverse that it would be impossible to number them all.

Oscar incorporates his poems, conversations, and stories into his own artistic creations, primarily collages  and graphics

Your collages are so rich and dense with imagery and elements. How is the creative process when you are realising new artwork? Do you draw and sketch on paper before digitalizing? Do you interact with digital and analog images?

The creative process is simpler and less romantic than people think. First I take an image that catches my attention, and then I add elements that are attractive to me and with which I play with their shapes and colours.

Can you tell us about how your surroundings affect your creativity to make connections with various elements for new creations? How do you keep inspired?

Reading, watching movies, listening to music, and seeing other forms of art that inspire me.

How long does it take from start to finish an art collage project?

It depends on the collage, how much time I have to invest in it, and how inspired I feel. There are collages that I have made in a few hours and others that have taken me days to finish.

Do you have a favourite piece that you have created and why?

No, I don’t have a favourite collage. When I finish one, I already start thinking about the next one. I completely forget about them. Sometimes, when time passes, I am surprised to see what I did long ago.

Does making art collage help you in other areas of your life? If yes can you tell us a bit about this?

I think it helps me to relax. As I said before, making collages is like a kind of meditation that I immerse myself in during the creative process, isolating myself from the rest of the world.

013Oscar Varona Collage Art
© Óscar Varona

We are living in the AI era. Do you think this will influence the way people will look at and understand collage art?

Definitely. You will end up making collages and illustrations so detailed and incredible that they will turn out to be completely artificial. Perhaps it will be time to return to a purer and more archaic collage, to an analog collage that returns us to our being. I’m not a big fan of AI, maybe because I’m too old, or because I don’t understand it too much. It makes things easier, but there will be a time when we will not know how to differentiate the good from the bad. And there will be an explosion of pseudo-artists who will, in some way, devalue art. Or not. Or maybe, it’s just the old man who lives inside of me speaking to you. I don’t know, I don’t care.

Photo and images courtesy of Óscar Varona

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by retrofuturista

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