Rocío Montoya‘s work is intriguing, her collages are a melange of emotion, pattern, and color. Her subjects are eye-catching and her backgrounds, though sometimes stark, serve to draw the viewer in and highlight her discussion. Check out her interview:
Were you born in Madrid?
Yes, I was born South of the city, in a small working-class neighborhood. I’ve lived here all my life but about five years ago I moved to the center with my boyfriend.
What is your favorite part of the city? Where is your favorite place there?
There are many beautiful and interesting places in Madrid, I am a regular at the museums area and there are two places that I particularly like and visit quite often, the greenhouse and royal botanical gardens.
Tell us about In Bloom, what direction did you give to the model? Did the photographs turn out as you expected? Where did you get the material to add? What does it mean to you?
This series was made in my home / studio. It was fun and the result was satisfactory. I worked with Cynthia Leon, a makeup artist whom I love. I always prepare my projects before taking pictures, so the models know how the images will be once collaged (aproximately). I like natural and spontaneous models, Brunna was easy because she’s a great professional. All the floral elements I used have been taken or rescued from books and magazines. This series has a strong aesthetic charge as it is approached as “fashion beauties”, I wanted to make a personal interpretation of beauty that reminds me of the arrival of spring, Brunna is like a flower within the composition.
What was the inspiration and thought behind Lagrimas Secas? Where did you shoot it? Do you shoot most of your work for collage inside?
“Lágrimas secas” is a very personal series that is still in the process of creation. My muse is a great friend with whom I have a very special connection. These photographs were taken in my house with a white cloth and nude model. It was one of my first experiments with photography and illustration. I drew flowers and in this project I intend to reflect what comes after emptiness, they are an ode to femininity and women’s strength against adversity. I always try to look for the beauty in my compositions and the contrast between feelings, and thanks to collage I can create a dreamy and unique space out of a seemingly real situation, I love it!
By combining people and trees, what were you seeking to say in Nosotros? How do you choose what to collage your photographs with?
“Nosotros” is a project I did with Alejandro Meitin (friend and art director). This series is an ode to love and return to the real things. An encounter between two people who survive the torment of the big city and need to reflect on the absence caused by routine. As for the chosen images, I always have an idea in my head before, I do a lot of pictures of my models and I also make a lot of landscapes pictures. I sit at the table and sketch out a thousand combinations until I find the one best expresses my idea.
Some of your work like, Hands and Maraña, have geometric patterns, others like Life With Bird and Human Landscapes are more free form, do you use patterns to create meaning? Do you feel different emotionally when making collages that are ordered versus free form?
I am a very impulsive person and in my personal work I like to get carried away by my own feelings and moods. I like to experiment and try different techniques and styles (if not, for me the work would be boring). I have always expressed my obsession with the merger between humanity and nature, both concepts are repeated continuously in my work but with different approaches in each piece. I like to disturb the viewer and my collages represent “open doors” to unknown places to create new aesthetic and emotional experiences.
I really enjoy working with clients who give me creative freedom, it is very rewarding. Really what I like is to do my personal work, then I feel freer and can channel my most authentic and artistic side.
How does your approach to art change when you are working exclusively on photography, instead of photos that you intend to collage?
Normally when I make a photographic series, the place becomes a much stronger role, everything matters here because you will not remove or add any item. I love taking pictures outdoors and have my models interact with the elements around them. I take the portrait and the model is always the center of the image but I do not like to do “perched”, I much interested in generating action, something is happening in each picture.
When I think of collage I try to do the most clean and minimalist images, I think of “silhouettes” that can enter or leave the composition. Both techniques amuse me a lot and each has its charm.
Where did you photograph Room? How did you feel photographing the series? How important is your emotional state when taking photographs? Does it influence your work?
This series consists of self-portraits made in my own bedroom, with natural light. It is a very intimate work because I show a part of me that is normally hidden. I undress before the camera to let the emotions flow. These photographs were made in a difficult personal moment in which I was sad and take pictures of myself sometimes turns out to be a very positive therapy, also at times helps me to think and looking at reality from other perspectives, it is comforting. Yes, of course it affects me, the emotions (positive or negative) are the engine of my work, without them the inspiration would never come.
What are you working on now?
Besides realize my personal artwork, I work for brands and customers and I am also graphical editor and press photographer in a national newspaper.