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Award winning painter Karina Llergo Salto embodies the spirt of a dancer in her surreal, abstract work. Her paintings flow from her heart and are influenced by dance, air and water. This wife, mother, triathlete, former competitive swimmer and graphic artist has won multiple awards, been featured in numerous exhibitions and galleries and in such publications as Life & Arts and Journal of Art. My Wonderful Walls was lucky enough to be able to license some of her paintings and turn them into high quality fabric wall decals. Her expressive dance art makes a unique addition to our wall sticker collection and has been very well received. We wanted to learn more about this Mexican born artist and invite you to as well.
My Wonderful Walls: Where were you born?
Karina Llergo Salto: I was born and raised in Mexico City.
MWW: Where do you live now?
KLS: Northbrook, IL
MWW: Were you always interested in art? How did you begin? When did you begin?
KLS: I was always interested in creativity, drawing and painting. I was self-taught growing up since I didn’t have anyone around me that was interested in it, but I always rose above my peers in art classes at school wining several art contests.
MWW: When did your art turn professional?
KLS: After earning a Bachelors in Graphic Design, from Anahuac del Sur University, Mexico City, studying a post degree in Multimedia, and later on, in Animation, I worked in the launch of todays’ best Newspaper in Mexico City, Reforma, as Art Director, receiving The international Award of Excellence, Best Portfolio and Silver award from The Society of Newspaper Design. In the earlier 2000s, after working at the advertising agency McCann-Erickson as Art Director for Coca-Cola, Revlon and Kimberly Clark, I began freelancing my own design and graphic company while also making art. In 2005, I started to do art exhibitions after finishing a post degree in abstract art and taking art classes with renowned Mexican artist Roberto Cortazar and portraitist Enrique Estrada.
I moved to Chicago, IL in 2007 and decided to fulfill my creative impulse - painting. I have translated my knowledge of manipulating images into my art, daring to deconstruct the human bodies to represent a force in movement. I know a piece is completed when I close my eyes and feel its rhythm of dance, water and air singing in harmony.
MWW: What inspires your art?
KLS: In my work I’m influenced by three elements that raises my pulse, breath and heartbeat: Dance, which has been the rhythm of my life, Water, that’s in my nature being for 10 years a competitive swimmer, and Air, that has made me venture into skydiving for the freedom that provoke in my being.
MWW: What medium do you prefer? Has it changed at all over the years?
KLS: I started painting with oils, which I love, because of the richness and depth. But in recent years I became more conscious in my practice of not using toxic materials. Now I paint mainly with acrylics, experimenting with all its different mediums and sometimes adding oils into the final touches.
MWW: What is your favorite thing/subject matter to paint?
KLS: I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of expression of the human body. The human figure has always been in my art, it always challenges my skills with its complexity and ending study.
MWW: Can you describe your creative environment?
KLS: I have two different spaces where I work: one which I call my “hard-core work area” where all the mess takes place, dripping, splashing and all my creative impulse from my gut appears. Here I try not to think but feel. Another, my “Studio”, is where I work in a more organized and conscious way and where the details of the artwork take form. I jump from one to the other randomly as my creative process dictates. I work with 3 or 4 pieces at a time so I don’t get stuck in one. I also feel that music is fundamental to get inspired. Classical crossover music is my own favorite to work to.
MWW: Best time of day for you to create?
KLS: My mind is always working in the creative process and I need to concentrate on switching it to do my daily chores. It somehow helps to follow a time schedule but I always feel that creativity is something that you can’t set a time for. It’s always buzzing around and rolling.
MWW: What is your favorite My Wonderful Walls sticker you have been involved with creating?
KLS: All my “Flying High” collection, which includes the dancers or women that seem flying, floating or underwater. It involves quick thinking and action. Each artwork is its own experiment in flow, balance and rhythm.
MWW: Do you live solely off your art or do you have another job/career?
KLS: I do this for a living.
MWW: What are some of your other interests?
KLS: I love spending time with my husband and four kids and traveling with them. I like doing exercise. I do triathlons and marathons and love the peace that comes with doing yoga. I enjoy going to theater plays, dance shows, and reading books.
MWW: Is anyone else in your family an artist? Children? If so, do they also enjoy art?
KLS: My two twin girls like art and are frequently chosen to participate in art exhibits from school. They are always observing what I’m working on and are my best critics.
MWW: In a few adjectives how would you describe yourself?
KLS: I’m a strong, caring, thoughtful, happy person in harmony with my being.
MWW: Your art?
KLS: Paintings of human bodies in motion freely interacting with their energy and natural forces.
MWW: Do you have a favorite piece of artwork you’ve created?
KLS: “Surrender” because it’s an artwork that express rendition to love and giving the control to your heart. The figure appears to be suspended in space weightless and dripping as she melts so that the feeling itself is what it will be the only thing left.
If you are a fan of colorful, abstract dance art you’ll want to check out the entire Karina Llergo Salto Collection of wall decals at My Wonderful Walls. Choose from designs such as Passion , a striking red, yellow and beige Flamenco dancer wall decal or the lively ballerina fantasy art decal in Devotion. Our fabric wall decals are made with a high-quality polyester fabric material that is mess-free, removable, repositionable and eco-friendly and won’t mar your walls. Wall decals are a great way to display beautiful art when you can’t put nails in the wall or need something less permanent.
For more Karina Llergo Salto artwork, she invites you to visit her on her artist website, like her on Facebook or follow her on Instagram. Thank you Karina for letting us get to know a little bit more about you and your work!