Cecilia Beaven is a Mexican visual artist who lives in Chicago. Through her work, which spans illustration, painting, drawing, animation, film, and sculpture, Beaven explores, experiments, and gives visibility to her perspective on her Mexican identity, developing a visual narrative with personal stories, mythology, and a sprinkle of fiction.
MEZCAL VERDE: How did your interest in art/illustration start?
CECILIA BEAVEN: I have been drawing since I can remember, creating images has always been my favorite activity. Later I studied art and then make this interest my job.
MV: How does your project as Cecilia Beaven started?
CB: When I finished studying (I studied at La Esmeralda) I started working doing freelance projects such as illustrations and commissioned paintings. Eventually, people began to recognize my work and seek me out for larger projects like murals and animations, also they invited me to present my work in different exhibitions. And so, one thing led to another.
MV: Which is the part that you enjoy the most about your job?CB: Being at my studio working or playing. I always have several projects at the same time, so I jump from one to another while listening to music, taking a break to read a comic, going back to work, making coffee ... I can be in the studio for many hours without realizing it.
MV: Which are the techniques you use and why?
CB: I use many. I do acrylic painting, vinyl murals, Indian ink drawings and comics, ceramic sculptures, traditional animation, some digital drawing ... Each vehicle gives me something different and I like to explore all of them to add expressive tools to my visual vocabulary.
MV: What are the themes, narratives and statements of your work?
CB: Through my multidisciplinary work, I explore an open, non-linear visual narrative, and reflect on the development of a personal mythology. I am inspired by Mexican mythology, in my life in Mexico City, and in my current reality living in Chicago. My work includes mythological, ethnographic, and introspective research. I try to create intriguing and absurd visual narratives that reveal a seemingly strong mythology, but also fragile and introspective.
MV: What is the inspiration behind the label for Mezcal VERDE?
CB: I was inspired by the figure of Xipe Totec, a Mexica God who represents cycles of life, death and renewal. Representations of Xipe Totec show him wearing the skin of a skinned person or animal. I played with this image and put myself as a character, using the skin of a lizard, which I like for being an ancient, strong and patient animal. It seemed like a significant image after 2020, a strange and difficult year that made me think a lot about strength, resilience, and social and biological cycles. We all need new skin, stronger armor.