Color and Chaos – Bimbi Larraburu

Bimbi Larraburu talks about her relationship with color and chaos.

Some artists find a blank white canvas to be daunting. With limitless possibilities to be explored, how can you know if what you’re doing is the best thing? Bimbi Larraburu sees her canvas not as a challenge, but as an open space to express her inner self through color, line, and shape. Bimbi’s works give way to a chaotic visual effect, one that simultaneously excites and soothes any viewer. The colors are vibrant and the composition is random, and yet everything works together to create perfectly balanced abstract pieces.

Bimbi has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for her whole life, and continues to work there today. She was always interested in the arts from a very young age, but was encouraged to pursue a traditional university career, causing her to study Architecture and Advertising, elements of which she continues to bring into her art. Bimbi also studied under the Argentinian abstract painter Heriberto Zorrilla and learned the ways of the “Esencialismo” movement. In addition to her art, Bimbi loves to travel and manages a family real estate business in Argentina and the US.

Bimbi Larraburu
Bimbi Larraburu painting in her studio in Buenos Aires.

Being from Argentina, Bimbi answered some questions we had for her in her native Spanish language as well as in English. We have transcribed the interview in both languages here for all to enjoy! Read on to learn more about Bimbi’s story, as well as her techniques and inspiration.

Los Colores de Mi Alma, Oil on Canvas, 47.5″ x 39.5″

Color evidently plays a major role in your artwork. How do you decide on which colors to use in each piece?

Los colores son el primer motivador, por lo tanto, antes de colocarlos en mi paleta, examino mi caja. Agrupo los tubos, los abro,  y los elijo según la atracción que me provoquen en ese momento. Cada pomo que abro es una fiesta para mis ojos. Los elegidos, van a parar a la paleta. Los demás, volverán a la caja a esperar ser usados en otra oportunidad O tal vez más tarde ya que a veces, en el proceso de una obra, siento la necesidad de colocar un color nuevo, distinto. Algo que produzca un choque, un contraste. Por eso la elección de los colores nunca será definitiva mientras esté trabajando en la obra.

Colors are my major motivation; therefore, before placing them in my palette, I stare at my box of paints. I match up the colors and choose them according to the attraction that they cause me at that time. Each tube I open is a feast for my eyes. Then, the chosen colors end up in my palette. The others return to the box to be used at another time, or maybe even later on the same painting because sometimes, during the process of a work, I feel the need to use a new, different color; something that provides a contrast. That is why the color selection is never set in stone during the time that I am working on a painting.

Your paintings include hard lines between layers of colors. What tools do you use to create these forms? What is the desired effect?

Mis obras se articulan a través de planos de colores cuyos encuentros, en algunas oportunidades, generan estructuras. Las herramientas que uso son variadas. Desde pinceletas, espátulas hasta pinceles de goma.

My paintings articulate the planes of colors whose encounters, at times, generate structures. The tools that I use are diverse; from soft brushes or spatulas to rubber brushes.

Fría Ilusión, Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 28″

Are you ever surprised by the final product when you complete an artwork?

Mucho más me sorprende lo que sucede mientras trabajo. Y también me sorprende a donde ha llegado mi carrera.

Mostly I’m surprised about what happens while I’m working. And I’m also surprised about where my career has come! I do not look for specific images or subjects to describe. Sometimes, hidden characters or situations suddenly appear on the canvas.

Other times, it is simply an attractive and provocative apocalyptic atmosphere that shows up before me.

Cuando Ya No Me Nombres, Oil on Canvas, 39.5″ x 31.5″

You studied under Heriberto Zorrilla, a well-known abstract artist in Argentina. How did your time with him influence your style?

Hace más de 12 años que asisto al taller del Maestro Heriberto Zorrilla. A su taller llegué con mis conocimientos de Arquitectura y Diseño y él, de a poco, me fue dando herramientas para convertirme en artista. Por lo que mi gratitud hacia él no tiene que ver sólo con lo que me enseñó a hacer sobre la tela, sino también por haberme guiado para ser quién soy hoy. 

Over 12 years ago, I worked in the workshop of Master Heriberto Zorrilla. When I first got there, I used mainly my architecture and design knowledge and, little by little, he gave me the tools I needed to become an artist. I am grateful for him not only because of what he taught me to do on the canvas, but also for guiding me to become who I am today.

Kamikaze, Oil on Canvas, 39.5″ x 31.5″

Can you tell us more about the “Esencialismo” movement that you are a part of?

Él Esencialismo es un movimiento pictórico argentino que fue creado en la década del ´80 por mi Maestro, Heriberto Zorrilla y desarrollado junto a Helena Distéfano, su esposa y compañera de ruta. Es un movimiento que propone una actitud, una forma de situarse ante el arte. El artista esencialista, durante su trabajo sobre la tela, manipula, ordena y selecciona aquellos elementos que irán conformando la obra que luego será un símbolo del sentimiento del artista.

“Esencialismo” is an Argentinian pictorial movement created in the 1980’s by my teacher, Heriberto Zorrilla, and developed with Helena Disetefano, his wife and travel companion. This movement proposes an attitude, a way to ‘stand’ before the art. The essentialist artist, while working on the canvas, manipulates, orders, and chooses those elements that later will become symbolic of the feeling of the artist. My personal approach is that during the development of the picture I start to follow the ideas that appear in front of me. That moment of revelation is when I find both a concept and a name for my artwork.

Al Calor de Nuestro Infierno, Oil on Canvas, 47.5″ x 39.5″

How did growing up in Argentina affect your art career?

Afortunadamente, Argentina es un país libre y de gustos muy amplios. He tenido muchas oportunidades de mostrar mis obras en lugares muy importantes de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, como en Museos, Universidades y espacios públicos.

Fortunately, Argentina is a free country with very broad tastes. I had many opportunities to show my works in very important places of the city, like Museums, universities and public places.

“One day just by chance I found a workshop on abstract art, and suddenly I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life.”
Prófugos, Oil on Canvas, 47.5″ x 39.5″

Do you think your studies in Advertising and Architecture influence your work in any way?

Actualmente, en muchas de mis obras aparecen estructuras o atmósferas urbanas que siento que tienen que ver con mis estudios de arquitectura. En relación a lo aprendido en publicidad, siento que todo el proceso creativo de la obra es un brainstorming en el que en lugar de ideas, son los colores los que van armando el producto final.

Currently, in many of my artworks I portray structures or urban atmospheres that I feel are related to my architecture studies. About what I learned in Advertising, I believe the whole creative process is a brainstorm in which, instead of ideas, it is the colors that create the final product.

Y Un Día fué el Fin, Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 28″

How does your love for travel relate to your artwork?

Pintar y viajar son las dos cosas que más amo hacer. Por lo tanto, viajar a ver ferias como Art Basel o tomar algún work shop en la Liga de Arte de NYC o, como ahora, viajar para mí muestra, son cosas que me llenan de satisfacción y placer.

Painting and traveling are the things I love the most. Therefore, traveling to see fairs like Art Basel or taking a workshop in the Art League of NYC or, like now, traveling for my exhibition, delights me with pleasure and satisfaction.

Los Demonios te Están Llamando, Oil on Canvas, 47.5″ x 39.5″

What do you want your viewers to take away from your work? Do you expect them to see exactly what you see when viewing your work?

Tengo una postura muy clara con respecto al espectador. Ellos son quienes terminan de cerrar la obra. Me gusta mucho ver que alguien está observando un trabajo mío. Mi intención es que algo le suceda a quién lo mire. No me interesa qué le sucede. Pero que algo le pase. Eso ya me llena de satisfacción.

I have a very strong position about the viewer. They are the ones who end up finishing the work. I really like to see somebody looking at one of my paintings. My intention is that something occurs in the beholder; I don’t care what is it as long as something occurs to him. Only that fills me with satisfaction.

Arqa, Oil on Canvas, 39.5″ x 31.5″

How has your found love for painting changed your view of the world?

La pintura no ha cambiado mi manera de ver el mundo. Ha cambiado la manera en la que yo me paro ante el mundo. Y ha cambiado la manera de ver mis propios mundos interiores y poder representarlos en el lienzo.

Painting has not changed the way I see the world. It has changed the way I stand before the world. And it has changed the way I see my own inner worlds and given me a way to be able to represent them on the canvas.

Sueños Rotos, Oil on Canvas, 47.5″ x 39.5″

Collecting art is a highly involving and emotional experience. The artist’s process and intention are some of the factors that make one fall in love with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ creative methods and fascinating techniques in the Center Stage and Artist Techniques categories.


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