Interview with pop surreal creative duo Crajes

Crajes is a duo formed by Carla Rendon and Jessica Ruiz with the constant encouraging of their two cats; Poe and Ingres. They both dropped off their college studies of Psychology and Philosophy to pursue their dreams and start a career in the world of Fine Arts. Their most known artworks are  painting and drawing but they work on all kind of supports and art forms like: videoart, animation short-films, mural art, sculpture, … Female figure is the focus of their art. Beauty and fragility of their work don't hide the more dark, grotesque and direct side of it.
 
 

 
Hello dear Crajes, please, tell our readers how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?
 
We have been doing art since 2009, we find it when we started working on animated short films after leaving college. We always wanted but we thought it was almost impossible to make a living as an artist, finally we decided to try it no matter what.
 
 
 
  
What   was / is   your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
 
It's almost impossible to name them all, but our favorites are mostly movies, comics. The most visible in our painting are from Spanish religious art (virgins), Edgar Allan Poe tales, European classic art, duality.  Also, Mozart Requiem really inspires us while painting. Films that inspire us are by Kubrick, Hitchcock, Buñuel, Bergman, Lynch... Comics by Alan moore, Daniel Clowes, Suehiro Maruo, …Writers like E.A.Poe, Kafka, Nietzsche, Freud, Baudelaire, Bukowski, Sade, …Artist like Ingres, Diane Arbus, Moreau, Delville, Harry Clarke, Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac, Dino Valls, ...
 
 
 
  
How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
 
Really normal, we usually wake up early and start working as soon as possible, also we reply emails etc... If we are really focused we don't go out until night to buy some food but if not we prefer to go during morning with the sun. We prepare the week on sundays, this way we can split the work. During winter we spend the night watching movies.... but in summer we like to go to the beach and have a drink with friends and stuff. This way we can refresh our minds with the warm weather.
 
 
 
 
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
 
We are self-taught, and yes we think an art education is important but it's not necessary a formal education. So if you are a curious person you will always learn anything from all kind of situations, talking with other artist, reading... It depends on which kind of person you are. Anyways, we think that sometimes in formal education teachers lead you to what they idea of art is, and that is a thing we dislike, it's impossible to learn art objectively. We haven't noticed any disadvantages during our career about this issue, only access to certain grants. Sometimes other things like being a woman are more a disadvantage.
 
 
 
 
What fascinates you the most about surrealism / pop surrealism / contemporary art / lowbrow art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
 
We like all kinds of art but the thing that attracts us from surreal is the duality that is implicit in it. The fact that you can explain a story that is not obvious at all but at the same time there are multiples stories that anybody can recognize or create by observing the art. We usually don't think about describing our style because it evolves so quickly and our process is really different creating an oil and  creating an ink.  The only thing in common is the duality  between darkness and beauty. Intimacy and alienation.
 
 
 
  
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?

That you own your own time and that time makes you really happy, We think that happens to anybody that loves his work. Also is a way we have to expel all our feelings. Being creative is letting yourself be innocent sometimes and not being blind to the things that happens around you.
 
 
 
 
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?

It depends on our mood. We usually work with oil or with mixed media and inks.When we work with oils it's a more controlled process in the beginning, we make the sketch and we decide almost everything and then we start. If the painting is big enough the both of us at the same time but if not we make various paintings. The colors usually are intuitive. Then with ink is letting ourselves do what we like at the moment. The longest part of our work is the moment when we need to decide. We talk a lot during days or weeks. Our basic tools are super smooth canvas, and lately we enjoy a lot bamboo paper.
 
 
 
 
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
 
We would like to keep working more with porcelain. We just started and is an amazing medium.
 
 
 
 
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
 
We have been in different studios. Now we are working in our home. The most funny things happens with the cats always. Right now the weirdest thing that is happening to us is our some of our neighbors. They are a really unusual family looking at us all the time, they live in the house in front of ours. At the beginning it was scary but now we are really used to it. They (two really scary in their 40's twins  and their aunt) sit in they balcony smoking and looking at us while be work almost all the time, they don't speak to each other, they only look at us.
 
 
 

What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
 
So the toughest challenges are treating with all kind of people, you can find really nice people  but not everybody is like this, you need to learn how to differentiate these people and listen to the advice of the nice ones.
 
 
 

What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?

The best advice is to be patient. And the worst is to create what  others tell you to sell more, this from their point of view.
 
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

That is not so opens as it looks like, and also that if you are not from a wealthy family you have a really hard time to make a living as an artist.  For us is not lonely we are always together and with  our cats.
 
 
 
 
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?

The only thing we have in mind is evolve in all ways.
 
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?

Work work work.
 
 
 
 
Your favorite art or life quote is …

We love so many but one of favorites is this one by Picasso:
 
„My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.“
 
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?

Carla plays basketball and she loves sports, and Jessica loves cooking. Also, both enjoy reading, watching series and movies.
 
 
 
 
Do you have an online portfolio, blog or social medias where we can view your work?

Yes, we are working right now on our website Crajes.com but while Instagram is the one we update the most.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now   or any ongoing   event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?

Yes, our last solo show just started. The show is named „Insania“ and will be open until first days of july at Fb69 Gallery in Münster, Germany. Also we just launched our first limited edition of porcelain in our Bigcartel shop.
 
 
 
 
Thank you very much to both of you ladies, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
 
By contributor Linda. May 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.