Natalia Villanueva Linares: 2021 NOT REAL ART Grant Winner

Natalia Villanueva Linares: 2021 NOT REAL ART Grant Winner

Natalia Villanueva Linares is today’s guest and one of our amazing 2021 NRA grant winners! Natalia hails from Peru and France and is now residing in Chicago. She is an installation and performance artist specializing in space understanding.

Our conversation begins with Natalia describing a decade long-project she has been working on involving revamping a church in Illinois and making it a cultural center hosting community artworks and an international residency program.

From there we hear more about Natalia’s work and what her concerns with space understanding mean, where she talks about how she tries to connect people, spaces, culture, and history through her multimedia artworks.

Estera” Installation by the artist Natalia Villanueva Linares at the Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL.
Estera” Installation by the artist Natalia Villanueva Linares at the Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL.

We also hear about another of Natalia’s powerful and sublime works today, a traveling participatory performance piece called Soulutions, where she collaboratively creates healing potions with audiences around the world.

In this conversation, we also get into Natalia’s self-care practices involving her love of colorful foods, the different energies her parents bring into her process, and her thoughts on the inclusivity and transparency of the NRA family. Be sure to catch this one!

Natalia Villanueva Linares
Natalia Villanueva Linares

“For me space is not a place. Space is the place but also the culture, the people, the audience, the country that it is located in, the city, it’s history. Most of my work, when I present it, it doesn’t only reflect how my idea can occupy a whole room or a whole space, but it also takes into consideration where it is happening, who is coming, how are we going to nourish each other? How is the work going to nourish the person who comes in and takes the time to look at it, and how the audience can nourish — the cultural implication of the work. So space, the understanding of space for me is how a work can be welcoming, inviting, but also is looking to learn also from those who approach it.” — Natalia Villanueva Linares [0:14:45]

Colorial' 2014, 300 thread spools by Natalia Villanueva Linares
Colorial’ 2014, 300 thread spools by Natalia Villanueva Linares

Key Points From This Natalia Villanueva Linares Episode:

  • Natalia’s gratitude for winning the NRA grant and her experiences applying for past grants.
  • The community art project Natalia curated centering around a church she bought in Chicago.
  • Challenges of funding and sustaining the project leading to the church exchanging hands.
  • Nadia talks about how her work deals with ‘space understanding’; connecting people and space.
  • Perspectives on the unseen aspects of artworks being what makes them powerful.
  • The meaning of the relationship between effort and simplicity in a work’s effect on people for Natalia.
  • Natalia’s perspectives on mass production in art and the role of art more generally.
  • Making potions to heal ‘the uncurable’: Natalia weighs in on her Soulutions project.
  • Natalia’s extremely productive nature and how the pandemic has shifted her into a more focused mode.
  • Natalia’s methods for taking care of herself and love for eating colorful, nutritious food.
  • The early experiences Nadia had of her artistic voice and when she found it fully later in life.
  • How Natalia’s parents met and the role each of them plays in her creative process.
  • Sourdough’s experiences in Peru while he was traveling as a 25-year-old.
  • Natalia’s experiences in the NRA selection process and Sourdough’s intentions for the project.

“It is what we don’t see when you look at a work that makes you feel.” — Natalia Villanueva Linares [0:17:11]

Installation by Natalia Villanueva Linares

“Art becomes a way of coloring certain parts of the self, the life, the past, that need to come out.” — Natalia Villanueva Linares [0:38:27]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.