Andres Bustamante – Pinta Art Fair

For the last few years, we have been visiting different art fairs around the country, including the yearly edition of Miami Art Week, Art Basel and all the growing art fairs that happen during the week. One of the fairs we visited during 2023 was Pinta Art Fair, where we met Colombian artist Andres Bustamante. In this exclusive interview, the artist shared the ins and outs of the inspiration for his artistic process, and how deeply it is connected with his own personal experiences with the difficulties and challenges of his own life.

Andres Bustamante – Pinta Art Fair, Dot Red

Where are you from?

My name is Andres Bustamante. I am a sculptor born in Cali, Colombia, living between Nashville, Tennessee and West Palm Beach, Florida.

What kind of artwork do you make?

The kind of work I make is abstract, contemporary work. I explore the abstraction of human emotion, the abstraction of human existence. I ask questions about the nature of reality and my immigrant experience. I am curious, and I use a lot of different materials that are normally meant for industrial purposes. I heat them and I sculpt them, I bend them, and I use pressure. To me, it speaks to the abstraction and what it means to be human. The ins and outs, the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, the beauty and the pain.

What do you feel is the mission of the work you make?

My mission is to spread creativity, because creativity to me is medicine. How may I create so that humanity may heal? So that memory may be reflected in the work, so that as humans, we remember our creative power, our creative nature, our divine existence, while exploring that beauty and pain, joy and sorrow, and all the lessons in between. 

So what’s your technique? Can you tell us a little bit more about why you chose sculpture as opposed to other mediums, at least as a foundation in your works?

The technique I use is I use blow torches, heat sources, heat and pressure. As humans, as divinity made flesh, when we go through the heat is where we find and refine the forge, it refines us, purifies us and beautifies us. It’s under pressure that a diamond is created. It’s under the heat that steel is melted and folded in. I use predominantly industrial materials like polycarbonate and acrylic to express those emotions. 

Andres Bustamante – Pinta Art Fair, Dot Red

Tell us a little bit more about your upbringing and how you found art as a way of expression.

So I was born in Cali, Colombia. My grandparents raised me with a lot of love. My father struggled with addiction and homelessness in Colombia. My mother struggled with her mental health and she was very young and still in school. They were finding their way and my grandparents showed me the kind of love and tenderness that was necessary for a child.

At age ten, I migrated to the United States to live with my mother and life was very, very different. It was the complete opposite of what I experienced in Colombia. That’s when I was put through the fire of humanity, of human existence, of life. 

I went to the depths of the dark nights of the soul to search for what Andrés Bustamante had to say, what this expression, this temporary flesh expression of Andrés Bustamante had to say. The story and the emotion, the abstraction that I’m here to speak to, because there’s other people that could relate to the work, that may have experienced the immigrant experience, the immigrant journey. questions about reality and existence and the reason for being here and the reason for why things have occurred to us.

Is there anything missing that you would like to share about your work or why you are here?

What I love about this creative process is that I’m continually evolving and exploring what it means to be here and now, what it means to be human, what it means to be in the flesh, and that’s something I will explore eternally.

There was a guy that said “You are Gods”, and they worshiped that guy, and called that guy Jesus. From my perspective, in my understanding, Jesus was a person who was holding a big mirror. An abstract and foggy mirror. And a lot of my work has a reflective component to it, an abstract, melted, folded mirror, with bubbles, blemished marks and fingerprints to it. Sometimes we don’t see ourselves very clearly in the mirror, but at the same time we’re reflected, like in my piece “Reflejo del Sol” (Reflection of the Sun). I just believe that in one way or another, we’re here in a temporary flesh experience to discover that’s what makes life fun, it makes the pain beautiful and the light beautiful.

Andres Bustamante – Pinta Art Fair, Dot Red