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Federico Uribe. Get a little closer « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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Federico Uribe. Get a little closer

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 11.2012


The works of Colombian artist Federico Uribe (born in 1962) are the kind that make you move around in the exhibit hall: you have to see them from far away first and later close up in order to appreciate their true value. Uribe tells us that he’s very disciplined and practically lives holed up in his studio. Maybe that’s the secret behind why his works are so prolific in terms of the variety of materials used and his work that is so painstaking, no matter which technique is used in the creation of each piece.

federico uribe I DressLab

Federico, you were born in Colombia, you now live in Miami, and along the way you’ve studied in Cuba, Mexico, Russia and England. What has each of those places contributed to your work?
A lot, and nothing–I’ve been living in my head much more than any other place. I work long hours, I’m very disciplined, and I’m always in my studio so it really doesn’t matter to me whether I’m here or in China.
​But there is one exception, which was my time in Mexico. That country, with it’s tradition of high quality artisanship, taught me a lot.

federico uribe I DressLab

What’s the starting point for your work?
I develop several things at the same time–I paint abstract works with the mathematical part of my mind. With the psychological and philosophical part, I create pictures with objects, cables, cords or pencils. And with the ecological and sentimental part of my heart, I build animals.

What is your creative process like? Do you usually have an image in mind and then you find the material to bring it to life or the other way around?
Both processes happen to me, and it doesn’t matter which: some ideas come from the objects, others from words, or from mere coincidence. People give me things or tell me about things that exist, and I take those and use them someday… At other times I get ideas with specific materials that I have to find. For example I’m making a series of cables that connect nature with God, with dogs, and the like. This project has made me go find used cables for painting the pictures.

Do you feel like you have a soft spot for any specific material?
None in particular. There are materials that are more malleable for working but if I had to choose one, I like colored pencils for creating objects: they have a childish connotation in our memory and they are plastic and docile despite making straight lines.

federico uribe I DressLab

Choose an inspiring object from your studio and tell us why you find it inspiring…
Books, because I love them and I tend to listen to audio-books while I work all day, every day. Especially classical literature and history. In the end, you establish a sentimental relationship with them. And to think that they also come from trees creates a romantic idea that I’m particularly fond of.

federico uribe I DressLab

Can you find one point in common that connects all of your works?
If there is one, it’s an obsession with manufacturing, artisanship, and their relationship to nature.

Is there any fictional character that you identify with?
Yes, myself. I’ve invented an image of myself that now people think is me.

federico uribe I DressLab


Text_ Luisa Bernal
+ info_ Federico Uribe



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