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Paloma Rincón on honing your own style and creative process

Paloma's art. Food is arranged to look like a hot air balloon in a hyper real way.

Born in Mexico and based in Madrid, Paloma Rincón is a visual artist working across multiple disciplines. In advance of her talk at DesignThinkers Vancouver, we asked her a few questions about her creative process, how she found her distinct artistic style and how she makes time for fun projects.

Your style as a visual artist is so distinct: it’s vibrant and colourful, graphic and emphasizes juxtaposition. Have you always known your style, or has it been a journey of self-discovery?

I’ve been working in a similar style for years now, although it’s something I’ve developed over time. Even though it’s well-defined now, there’s always room for exploration and growth. You can always incorporate new techniques or mediums, and the stylistic aspect can also evolve.

To arrive at a particular style, and even a preferred subject or genre to work with, you should try many things. You can always learn and refine your personal vision once you’ve encountered different challenges and discovered your own point of view or approach to them

When you receive a brief, what are your next steps? Walk us through how you conceptualize your projects. 

My initial reaction upon receiving a brief is a barrage of disjointed ideas, excitement, and a hint of anxiety. These feelings stem from confronting a new challenge and something unknown. During this phase, I attempt to write down everything that comes to my mind in a brainstorming session, preferably by hand in a notebook, allowing for some rough sketching.

This early stage often requires a bit of time away, during which I focus on another task. This break is actually very valuable to me because unconsciously, my brain continues to work on it, and when I get back, things start to fall into place much more clearly.

From there, comes the phase of refining, which can only be achieved by entering the preproduction phase. In my case, this involves assigning real elements and considering how to bring it to life: the set, the lighting, the camera. In this final phase, the idea is fully adapted to the physical world.

How do you balance personal endeavours with client work? Do you have any rules that you follow or routines in place? 

I don’t have any rules or routines, and it’s more a matter of the time I have available. When I’m immersed in the initial phase of a commercial project, I usually don’t have much time to dedicate to personal work. I utilize the intervals between submissions and feedback to organize and plan ahead. Additionally, the post-production phase in advertising, involving revisions and corrections, occasionally provides me with pockets of time. However, it’s during the interim periods between projects that I find myself most energized and focused on self initiated work.

Transitioning from projects characterized by external oversight to ones offering greater creative freedom is immensely gratifying. Yet, after immersing myself in self-directed work for a while, I appreciate the structured environment and collaborative dynamics of the commercial world. I believe that both contribute to my personal and professional growth.

Your DesignThinkers talk is titled, “The Creative Process as a Self-Learning Tool.” Without giving too much away, what can attendees expect from your session?

In my talk, I will share some of my work, background and process.  Through it, I will include many reflections I’ve learned over the years about the creative process; how I approach it now, what has changed through the years and what I have learned in the way. It has taught me many things, both, about the creative process itself and also about myself. It is a great tool for self-awareness.

I believe it’s crucial to understand why we do the work we do, the areas we enjoy the most, those we dislike, and why. Ultimately, it’s about learning how to navigate it all with a positive attitude

What are you most looking forward to about coming to DesignThinkers in Vancouver?

I’m excited about visiting Vancouver for the first time in my life, to be inspired by such a fantastic lineup of artists, some of whom I can call friends, and to meet with them and everyone at the conference. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at Design Thinkers Toronto in the past, and I can’t wait to have a similarly wonderful experience again.


Catch Paloma’s talk, The Creative Process as a Self-Learning Tool, at 3:00 p.m. on May 28.

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