Helga Juárez: Glass Jars, Colorful Glasses, a Piece of Plastic
Helga Juárez lives in Barcelona, and makes music and drawings. In this interview, we talk about Helga's process, inspirations, and ambitions in art making.
Do you find similarities between your relationship with visual art and music?
So far I think they have not come out the same way, but I think they are getting closer and closer. Also because in recent years when I’ve played with people, we play indie pop, and I suppose it’s something more structured and contained, although for me, by nature I tend to play in a more abstract and intuitive way.
Where do you find inspiration for new material?
In life, the street, music, my travels, memories. Walking in the streets... a new city... but especially nature, landscapes, objects.
How has living in a more isolated place these past years changed your relationship to making art?
I think it has defined it a bit more, rather than changed it. Inside me is not something new, it's something that was already there but there was too much noise. This new phase has been related to my adolescence in terms of my relationship with music. Nature, solitude and recording in my room without any objective, just for me, as a way of survival I suppose, simply as a form of expression. I spent part of my teenage years playing in my room and recording tapes on the cassette player my mother had in the kitchen. The conservatory, the music school, they were all restrictions, and I needed to play with more freedom. When I was 19 I got my first synth, and I would go hours and hours without leaving home, although before that I had spent a season djing with records, but I returned to the solitude of my room for various life circumstances. And so for me it isn’t something new, this relationship is something that continues in time, and that I’ve always felt I had to do, but I never knew how to do it.
In your art I see hands, people, plants and animals, colors, shapes, gestures… a certain suggestion of the simple and the everyday. What is it that attracts you to these things?
The everyday attracts me, and also nature, the landscapes and objects you find in nature. Objects with colors faded by the sun. Glass jars, colorful glasses, a piece of plastic. I have been very inspired by my last trip to some deserts and little towns in the United States where I saw ceramics and piled glass as offerings or protections, representing a sacred place or just decorating. Galicia has been very inspiring in terms of nature.
If you could create your perfect living utopia, what would that look like?
To live in the countryside. I like the city and everything it offers me, but at times it’s difficult to concentrate there. I would like to live in the country, not very far from the city. Somewhere where I can make my drawings, my music, and have a tranquil life, with more people, like a family, learning from each other... To have a garden, plants to take care of, and animals.
What are you reading these days?
Poems by Alice Notley, Ocean of Sound by David Toop, Argonauts by Maggie Nelson.
What are your hopes or goals for your art?
With music, I would like to continue playing drums and put together something with the recordings I have from this past year in Galicia, and from things with piano that I record when I go to visit my family in Oiartzun. With my drawings also, I would like to put together a little book and give it to some of my friends.