Location, location, location

But Where Do We Put It? opens today and we’ve got a preview. 

From L-R: Carina Santos, Kristine Caguiat, Paulina Ortega. All photos courtesy of Carina Santos.
From L-R: Carina Santos, Kristine Caguiat, Paulina Ortega. All photos courtesy of Carina Santos.

Carina Santos, Kristine Caguiat and Paulina Ortega have known each other since college, and their first show together at West Gallery opens today, prompted by a drunken pinky swear. GG caught up with Carina as she discussed the common thread their works shared, water—how their styles intersect, and how the physical distance between one of their co-artists (Paulina), factored in the making of the show.

How long have you three known each other and what made you decide to finally do a group show together?
I met Pau and Kris back in 2006 as freshmen in college. I was block mates with Pau and I kind of met Kris on deviantart, but we were all taking the same major. We had been toying with the idea of a show of the three of us since college days (in a “wouldn’t it be nice?” kind of way) but credit for putting this one together goes to the two of them, since they apparently made a drunken pinky promise to start pursuing this side of art when Kris went to Singapore to visit Pau who was based there at the time. I’m kind of the barnacle on this ship, I think, to be honest!

From L-R: Kristine Caguiat, Paulina Ortega, Carina Santos
From L-R: Kristine Caguiat, Paulina Ortega, Carina Santos

Do you think your styles as artists complement each other? Not that it’s particularly necessary, but do you think your work informs the other? How so?
I think that we all kind of have a similar perspective, though obviously not exactly alike. Visually, we process things similarly. We’re attracted to different aesthetics and express ourselves differently, but I think there’s an underlying sort of intersection with the three of us. Like I said, we all met in college, and I think among all of the people I met through our major, Pau’s and Kris’ work really resonated with me the most, then and now.

We all took up BFA Information Design, and although we all work in the design field as well, I think that the three of us kind of are able to speak the same language (visual and otherwise) when it comes to other areas of interest like art, music, and literature.

Paulina Ortega
Paulina Ortega

On that note, what is something you admire about each other’s work?
For me, there is something inherently harmonious when it comes to Pau’s work. She’s always had this more sophisticated edge to it. The end result is always clean and kind of deliberate in how it’s presented, like her vision is clear from the get go, but it’s playful and cheeky at the same time. She’s also a really talented illustrator. I know that her watercolor work is the most published, but Pau’s so good with graphite, too.

I admire the natural curiosity of Kris’ work. She’s always been the one that’s a bit more experimental with mediums and processes. There’s a bit of edginess to her work, the marriage of her influences obvious in the end result. I don’t mean that you can tell what her influences are exactly; I just mean that you can tell that she gathers bits and pieces from the books she reads and music she listens to, and she creates something that reflects her understanding of what she has consumed, in relation to her own experiences. There’s a certain richness in her work that I’ve always loved.

In terms of process, do you guys make any distinctions from when you’re doing commercial work and otherwise?
It’s not deliberate, but yeah, it’s definitely different. I think that coming from a design background, this distinction is kind of unavoidable. I hope to incorporate more of my art process when I do design work, but right now it’s been hard not to compartmentalize.

Carina Santos
Carina Santos

Tell us more about why you named your show (‘But Where Do We Put It?’) as such.
We honestly just put it to a vote. We were toying with names—all of us have a soft spot for long titles—playing off of the common thread in the work that we want to share, which is water. After some back and forth, we ended up settling on this title. I think we like But Where Do We Put It? because it’s not so literal, but its question kind of invites the viewer to ask, too. It operates on a few different levels—the physical space of the gallery, the matter being handled, and so on—because it’s not attached to any clear thing.

One of you is based abroad. What’s the experience of mounting the show like, having to factor in your physical distance? Did that matter even, being that it’s 2015?
Of course it matters. I think that’s partly why I hinged on the idea of water as distance. Pau has been my constant friend for all of college. We sat beside each other for at least one class for four years, so it was a bit disorienting to graduate and not have that, and then have an even bigger wedge of distance once she moved to Singapore, and then now, to Australia. In many ways, it’s been difficult, but honestly, there is also a bit of ease when it comes to coordinating because of group chats and Google. What I mean is that it’s not ideal, but it could be way worse.

But Where Do We Put It?
West Gallery
On view starting October 22,2015