Immersed into the vibrant canvases is a network of programmed technology including medical heartbeat monitors, heat and light sensors, and a library of music that responds to the viewer’s touch, body heat or internal energy current. Once the art piece is touched it comes alive with vibrant music, moving images, changing light, and different textures. This interactive art is designed by acclaimed Mexican artist and sculptor Ivan Guaderrama who has programmed his art to respond to sensory data.
Hidden within the artist district of San Jose del Cabo, Ivan has found his artistic purpose and is sharing it – literally – with “hands-on” paintings that are soft and hard wired for a personal experience. He laughingly speaks about his fantasy to somehow build a bridge between the left hemisphere in his brain with his right hemisphere to move forward with his newest interactive multi-sensory ideas for art experiences.
zeebigblog.com met with Ivan to experience his immersive art at the Ivan Guaderrama Art Gallery located at the southern end of the Baja California peninsula where desert meets the sea and the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean.
Ivan provides a peek into his studio. Besides traditional paints, brushes and canvases, he has boxes full of engineering parts, highly technical medical equipment, a variety of high quality solar panels and solar motors. Ivan admits he is not a technical expert and says, “I have faith that I will be shown how things work. At first I did not understand voltage plus current; now I know. What I need is not more money but more time.”
Asked about the challenge of blending creative art with skills more suited to an engineer, he says, “Sometimes we don’t do things because we say to ourselves, ‘I don’t know how or I don’t know everything.’ You don’t have to know everything. You just have to want to do it and work hard to accomplish it.”
“Most of the pieces take me months to complete,” Ivan explains. “I contacted every company everywhere that created a heart beat sensor. I used a medical heartbeat sensor in the end.” When creating an immersive art experience, Ivan doesn’t settle for an experience for some – but an experience for all. “What I am doing has to work for everyone. You can make one piece and two weeks later after over 100 people have touched it, it doesn’t work anymore.” When that happens Ivan continues to work on the piece until he can achieve the interactive experience for every person without fail.
Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to touch the art. Some of the gallery pieces were designed specifically to have music play when letters or images are touched. “I programmed different songs on the letters. I also created paint with graphite to make it is more conductive. Some customers have their own music, or music they composed themselves programmed into the image. Some customers have asked for custom art pieces to be made for their own compositions.”
Ivan has also created an “art experience” app which is available through iTunes for some of his pieces. When the app is opened and directed to an art piece the image begins to move and sometimes words appear and music is heard. “I have over 5000 points I created in the art what is like a fingerprint. It allows part of the image to be recognized by the app.”
Ivan refers to his work as deeply spiritual and not religious. He says that for him, “I realized there is no religion. There is just every individual’s personal relationship with God. I believe He doesn’t want religion because religion takes you far from Him. So I don’t create anything that is religious.” At the heart of his work is the message of love and faith in God. This came from his personal transformation from doing pieces that sold well simply for commerce. He was looking for a higher purpose to his work – something meaningful and fulfilling. “Seven years ago I was feeling empty. A friend of mine invited me to go to Columbia. When I came back I realized what I was doing with my art and my life were not right. For the first time, I understood the gift and talent God had given me. I knew then that I had to take care of my relationship with God.”
He says, “Faith is the engine of my company.”
Ivan Guaderrama was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. Early in his career he was tutored by Henry Paul Ally at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado, USA. Ivan’s work is sold and exhibited worldwide. He has an art installation at the Los Cabos Airport dedicated to first responders and others who helped breathe life back into the community after a hurricane devastated the area.