Ana Buitrago was born and raised in Bogota, Columbia and moved to Chicago, Ilinois to study a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art at the School of the Art Institute, to pursue her love for painting and sculpture. She found ceramics by accident when a friend asked her for help with something they were working on, and in turn, rediscovered the material that she had been introduced to as a child but had always thought of it from as a material for crafts. Exploring the material with help from professional ceramicists, she fell in love with the infinite possibilities and unexpected results; and tells us that this is what makes her go into the studio every day.
Ana loves to challenge and explore materials to create functional and sculptural pieces, including handheld water vessels, vases and table lamps that sit comfortably between art and design, "two fields that are seen as separate by many". Touching upon themes of balance and geometry; her work starts with a sketch, often drawing upon architecture that she has seen on the street. The sketches start to transform as she begins making the piece. When working with cast pieces the process is very similar, Ana casts a number of pieces and then, using her intuition, cuts them or assembles them until the form that she imagined emerges.
‘In/Equilibrium' is a series of vessels, designed by Ana as a modern interpretation of stirrup spout vessels from the Moche civilisation that Ana found when researching pre-Columbian functional objects. Her design incorporates some of her main principles, such as balance, and introduced her to creating functional design works.
We asked Ana who inspires her, and she answered that one of her biggest influences is Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese American sculptor; furniture designer; landscape architect and set designer who created abstract pieces, often inspired by biomorphic style. Another inspiration of Ana's is painter, sculptor and photographer Constantin Brancusi. Ana finds the work of both of these sculptors "the most visually pleasing" and enjoys observing the way that both, Noguchi and Brancusi's pieces are "composed by multiple materials that are perfectly matched"
In 2018, Ana's work was selected to be exhibited at Sight Unseen OFFSITE in New York, there Ana was introduced to some great contacts in the creative world and chose to move to Brooklyn after graduating to pursue career opportunities.
Ana has now lived and worked in Brooklyn for the past 8 months, working part time as an artist assistant and part time on creating her own pieces from her studio. She likes to work on a maximum of three to four pieces at a time, with salsa or latin rhythms playing in the background. Recently, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ana has set up a space in her living room to build her pieces and takes them to her studio for sanding and firing.