Buenos Aires Visual Designer Carolina Carballo on Her Approach to Materiality

Category > DesignArt and Culture

Interview with Carolina Carballo
by Maéva Carreira


Tuesday, September 22th, 2020


Buenos Aires, Argentina


Maéva Carreira


Tamy Emma Pepin

Like many of us, Carolina Carballo’s life plans changed in March 2020. Her one-way plane ticket to Barcelona was cancelled. And although her plan to move to Spain was put on hold, it surely didn’t stop the Buenos Aires-based multidisciplinary visual designer to pursue her art. As the global pandemic evolves, Carolina is inspired, now more than ever, by nature and its power.

Carolina's Childhood House
Growing up in the countryside in Córdoba, Argentina, Carolina was always playing outside in the orchard with her two brothers. With a natural interest for her environment, and a fondness for colors, materials and textures – a penchant she attributes to her two artistic parents – Carolina has always been very curious about her surroundings. She would always raise her hand in class or experiment new things like dance classes — classic, jazz, afro. From an early age, the designer learned to develop her artistic intuition. She realized that she could express through art what she couldn’t say in words. However, it was not before she moved to Buenos Aires that she found her artistic identity. 
Known as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is a vibrant South American city with its own folk culture and unique Italian influence due to a significant wave of European immigration since the 1880s. This particular cultural diversity has allowed Buenos Aires to develop its own cultural identity, which quickly translated into the emergence of an important artistic and cultural community. Each neighbourhood has its own Centro cultural managed by cooperatives where porteños are invited to participate and enjoy poetry, music, art and theatre.
Buenos Aires’ booming cultural diversity is also reflected in the public educational system. The Universidad de Buenos Aires gave Carolina the opportunity to challenge her artistic views with other artists and students from different socio-cultural backgrounds.

Carolina attributes the diverse academic environment as a key element allowing her to further explore her artistic identity and improve her learning process.

Although she did love medicine, biology and science, she followed her intuiton – graphic design and art history felt like the right path to undertake.
During her studies, Carolina decided to start working in the motion graphic industry. In terms of technology, times are changing quickly, and as photography and cinema transformed the paradigms of Art, I think computer arts are doing the same, but at a faster pace and on a global scale’’.
Today, Carolina is an artist and art director known for her 3D digital technique that features surreal environments and universes that she creates through an intuitive selection of colors, materials and textures. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement and the way design was taught as an answer to what is the best way to live, Carolina engages not only with the aesthetics of the materials pictured in her art but with their functionality as well. Her neo-realistic visuals aim to use the power of color to question the relation of lasting materials in graphic universes she creates inspired by nature.
Carolina’s 3D technique and her personal approach to the environment and nature has further led her to collaborate with various artists and new media organizations such as Taupe – an online research platform that connects color theory to digital art through literature. With this collaboration, Carolina was asked to reflect on the glass as a material and how its properties influence the way we perceive our reality. Using her digital technique, Carolina was then able to create a dystopian future that featured treated glass used for screens left by humans. She wanted her images to question the glass’ relation and interaction with a new and unknown environment.

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Visuals by Carolina Carballo created for ORB

As one of ORB’s visual collaborators, Carolina was invited to reflect on the intersectionality between materiality and the editorial theme Reshaping. Like many people, Carolina is interested in taking action to do things differently, to achieve a better, more prolific and sustainable future. “For the visuals, I found a relationship between this concept and the use of glass. You could think of glass as an element that blurs your sight, transforms it or makes things in front of you clearer ’’.
Curiosity is what pushes Carolina to seek inspiration for her visual environments. As Nina Simone once said, “an artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”. Now, all the more, anything can be a trigger for a project. With lockdowns happening locally on a global scale, Carolina finds inspiration in the simplest things life can offer – leaves, plants, stones, etc. Going through these challenging times, she feels the urge to reflect on how our consumption and our lifestyle impact nature. Because as Carolina says, “we may not control our environment, but we can influence it”. And her thoughtfully designed visual environments have the power to make us question and reflect on the purpose of the materials it features.