Showcase: Andrea Zavala Folache

Meet Andrea Zavala a polyedric Spanish visual artist currently based in Amsterdam


How did you come up with the idea of making art as a part of your life?

It wasn’t so much of an idea, I would say it  happened without having to plan it. My parents are an architect and a restourer/mural painter and they always encouraged me to take drawing, painting lessons, drama and dancing. At the age of fourteen I decided that I wanted to improve my drawing skills so I went to an art academy after school. Then I had to choose subjects at school in order to apply for a degree and I immediately felt more excited about the artistic ones, even though I wasn’t thinking of a future career. So for my last two years of school I moved to an Art school and since then I  prepared myself to take the exam to enter the bachelor of Fine Arts without doubting about taking any other degrees. Since then, I just like spending time being involved in the artistic practice, and sharing it with people that are also interested in it.


I saw that you managed to exhibit your work quite around and in different places. You must be satisfied. Is there a place where you would exhibit your work next?

I am going to do a 24 hour residency at Overtoom 301 in Amsterdam, which consists of 24 hours of work and an exhibition of it in the end.


How was the collaboration with multimedia artist Christopher Holloran born?

We met each other in the European Exchange Academy, a residency program that we both went to in the summer of 2009. We started being very interested in each other, not only for our work but also personally. Now we are a couple, and we still share lots of ideas and have a common taste and way of thinking in many aspects. So, again, it just happened very naturally.


Right now, do you think you will work with him again?

Yes, we have in mind to continue the project Lookatic in different parts of the world. Our next stop will probably be Jerusalem, even though we have China in a waiting list after spending 5 months there. We have a lot of “chinese” material  and footage that we will use in the future.


Before you came up with this technique, that seems a “back to the origins”, had you other means of expression?

Yes, I have tried a lot of techniques such as charcoal, pastel and pencil drawing; lithography and etching engraving;  analog and digital photography, acrylic paint, watercolor, collage, digital film…I like having a wide range of possibilities around me.

Are you satisfied with what you are doing now or do you hope to come up with something different?

I always want to try new different things and do more. At the moment, I am very satisfied with my last work Rice Cakes, and I am willing to continue this type of process, but I’m also involved in filming isolated scenes of people in their daily lives along with my Social and Cultural Anthropology studies.  I am also training myself physically to study and analyze body language and dance in order to use it for my work.


I read about your project Where Are The Chocolate Eggs?, where did this idea come from?

It started when Christopher and I traveled to New York where we were invited by fashion designer Koos Van den Akker to work in his studio. We though it was an amazing opportunity so we worked as many hours as we could and walked around the city filming, recording and talking about people. Because we both love making our drawings move, then it all ended up in an animation.And how is it going? New York-Where Are The Chocolate Eggs? is part of the project Lookatic, which we are going to continue soon in the future. It has been selected and shown in different festivals (Animacall, Haff Netherlands Animation Festival, New York Downtown Film Festival…) and it won the 3rd prize in the Animation category at the Fernando Quiñones Festival in Cádiz, Spain.


I liked so much the Rice Cake Series, some of those are very great. Why did you choose to use the rice paper?

Because I was living in China, and rice had such an influence on me, I guess. There was medicinal rice cake being sold in the street, I ate rice every day, and they have wonderful handmade papers which are also made out of rice. Out of experimenting with what was around me, I decided to use the paper on Rice Cake Series because, even though it looks so vulnerable and weak, it is strong enough to handle oil paint, terpentine and heavy brush strokes. I don´t consider myself delicate when I´m drawing or painting, so this juxtaposition turned out to be very interesting.


Among your earlier works there are some that I really liked, such as those with the oil on wood, another rather uncommon material. It feels like you want to go back to our origins also with this choice of support.

I feel connected to works that have a relationship with the material in which they are made. Using different materials and experimenting with their textures is how I get more connected to my work. It is pure and direct, I can manipulate it  physically so my body is also involved in it. If I’m in front of the computer screen, my eyes, fingers and brain feel  mechanic and a bit “robotic”. Even though I use tangible work and sometimes process it digitally (like in some animations) I find very attractive to use materials that are “alive”  (paper, wood, paint, graphite, fabrics…) .They are more personal since they have a story behind them and they are flexible to manipulate.


Are you now working only with Christopher Holloran or do you also have future solo projects in mind?

I am mainly working on my own at the moment: studying Anthropology, dancing, creating an artistic foundation and producing my own works. Christopher and I will soon start collaborating again with Lookatic.

(Images © Andrea Zavala Folache)

More of Andrea’s work here

Torielli the bass-rider


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