"Art is everywhere, you just have to be very attentive."

Elisa Beltrán de Heredia is an interior designer and artist who was born on August 14, 1992 in Valladolid (Spain). The artist grew surrounded by a family of doctors in a pleasant and welcoming environment. She is the youngest of five brothers with whom she established a close relationship from the beginning. At the age of five, she began receiving classes in artistic gymnastics, a subject that became her passion during the next 10 years of her life and from which she learned essential skills such as discipline, sacrifice and effort. At the age of seven, she began her first drawing and painting classes where she discovered new pictorial techniques such as oil or watercolor and where she began to develop her most creative aspect.  Elisa finished her studies of Interior Architecture at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid with Honors and Prize for the best project of her promotion.

During the following years, she worked as a designer until in 2016 when she received the Antonio Gala scholarship for Young Creators and moved to Córdoba where she resided for a year as a plastic artist. In the following years, she received awards such as the DeArte Foundation Art Award granted to an artist under 26, among others. In 2018, her third individual exhibition “Eternity of Silence” opens at the Cervantes Institute in New Delhi organized by the Spanish Embassy in India.

Observing Elisa's art offers you an air of fresh air, rebirth and the desire to take on new paths. It is as if each color so subtly offers us a story or some tale with which we can relate to. You literally feel that her art opens its’ arms to a new beginning that you want to partake in. Her images are pieces of motivation that encourage you to achieve much more, and you have the certainty of doing so. 

Q. What role does the artist have in society?  
 For me, the artist, today, has the role of being a reference in terms of freedom of expression, choice, etc. Through art, you can condition many factors such as fashion, cooking, design, music, etc. Therefore, I believe that the artist's action is very important when it comes to influencing society. If there is something good about art, it has no limits and that feeling of freedom must be transmitted by the artist.

Q. What’s your best childhood memory?  
My best childhood memory is in the Picos de Europa. We used to go when we were little for excursions in the mountains. I have the memory of going with two of my brothers, my mother and some friends of hers. Since then, I have always liked nature and its surroundings. I remember the sun, being on top of the mountain, seeing cows, eating a sandwich, hiking and above all, I remember a CD that we listened to in the car until starting the excursion called “A Land Before Eden” by David Antony Clark, I love it!

Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
 In a whale, I have always liked whales very much, because they are huge, because they live quietly in the sea and because they transmit a lot of peace, just like sea turtles. So, when I was little, I always imagined living inside a whale traveling across the ocean, I imagined that the whale opened its mouth and I entered my house, we became friends and we traveled so happily.

Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
 I have slight memories painting in early childhood education with tempera, I don't remember exactly what we painted, I just remember that I loved it. But from the first painting I painted years later, I do remember. They were some boats reflected in the sea. I was seven or eight years old and it was the first painting I painted with oil. I was very excited because I had been wanting to try that technique for some time.

Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
 Seriously at the University. Until then I had painted my whole life, as I said, from school, but it was still a hobby. However, at the University I began to take it more seriously, going to exhibitions every week, painting every day, etc. In addition, where I studied (Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid), there was a lot of art culture and in my class, especially, several classmates were, and remain, great painters, in addition to the teachers, all that helped me to learn a lot and to keep going with the paint. The same happened to me with the Circle of Fine Arts, since in those years I was going in the afternoon to paint. In the end, I was continuously surrounded by artists and paintings and all this makes you get much more involved almost without realizing it.

Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?  
While at the University I met abstract art and fell in love with it. Since then almost everything I paint is abstraction, despite still being figuratively painted, but the line that most defines me today is more conceptual. I would say that my style is somewhat chaotic because it is based on the mixture of all kinds of colors, apparently without any structure, but there really is a thought behind everything I paint based on the order. It is an orderly chaos. I am really a little like that in my life, I can be the most orderly in the world and at the same time be a complete chaos, but deep down there is balance.

Q. What does your art aim to express?

A. LIGHT. I like to convey the idea that setbacks are always solved. For me, there is always "there is a glow in the dark" so I try to find that my paintings have light, however small it may be, so perhaps what I intend to express are hope, joy, and positivity.

Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
"You are more donkey than an arao!" I do not know how many times I have heard people close to me say this phrase because I am very stubborn and when I have an idea in my head it often prevents me from seeing other options that I have around me. But my sister too she always tells me "nothing gets ahead of you" and I always say that it is not stubbornness, it is simply insistence on what I believe and feel.

Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
I feel great admiration for many artists, both current and past, and not only painters but also musicians, writers or architects, but without a doubt, Gaudí is the artist that generates me the most curiosity, I like all his work, his colors, his madness, his forms organic, etc. Being able to walk around Barcelona seeing his art for me is a luxury. I am also a big fan of Ludovico Einaudi since my brother told me about him more than ten years ago I have not stopped listening to him, and he is always a source of inspiration for my afternoons painting in the studio. Antonio Gala, of course, is someone I admire a lot since three years ago I was lucky enough to meet him at his Foundation and lately, I am very excited about Javier Fesser's entire production, I like the message he transmits and the sensitivity of his job.

Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?

A. Time and hours of sleep. In the end, I am a designer and painter so I spend most of the time or working in the studio or designing and although they are professions that are related in almost all areas, they do not stop requiring much time both separately. It is not something theoretical or practical where you can count the time you are going to use, art and design is something very ethereal difficult to plan and organize, so many times it requires working at night, in the middle of a trip or, rather, continuously as both the artist and the designer while they are alive, they will never stop creating. But still, it's always worth it.

Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It is lonely if you want it to be. In the Circle of Fine Arts in Madrid, we painted in huge rooms altogether. However, it is true that I personally like to work alone and I would almost say hidden. I like silence, tranquility to work. But that does not prevent that after work you can meet your friends to make a fun plan. Like everything in life, it is a balance. I love the moments in which I am surrounded by people, but I also enjoy my lonely moments very much, in fact, there are times that I need to run away and lock myself in my “cave” to be calm designing.

Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
 Since I live in Bilbao I have started surfing and it is a sport that I like very much. I have always been a sports person because when I was little I practiced sports gymnastics, and surfing has that part of the game with the body that I like, it is also practiced in the middle of nature and I love that. Weekends are always good times to do some excursion in the mountains or in the French Basque Country. I also like music and travel very much.

Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
 I think art has to be healthy, sincere and honest. Also, it has to be respectful of the environment and nature. But I also believe that it must always go hand in hand with the concept of “beauty”, because I believe that art is everything that is realized, among other things, with an aesthetic purpose, whether visual, sound, etc.

Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
For me, success is being able to live doing what I like, enjoying each day and waking up with a smile. Success is really appreciating the simple things that everyone has and knowing, as I always say, that "in the end, everything is ordered." I think being comfortable with yourself is synonymous with success.

Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
Many. But one of the most important things I've learned has been to value time and I learned that during my stay in Córdoba. Being a resident of the Antonio Gala Foundation is like stopping your life for eight months at a stroke since you leave everything aside to devote yourself completely to your passion for a certain period of time. At first you enter with eagerness and speed wanting to take advantage of each of the minutes you spend in the old convent to create. After a few months, you begin to realize that running is not the best option, and then you start to reduce the pace, in definitive, to stop, and then when you stand you realize that it is at that moment when the fastest learning advances. Speaking of time, I always like to emphasize the idea that “in this life, there is time for everything but to lose it”, which does not mean that there is no time to rest, but that, by organizing and taking advantage of the moments, you can do everything you have in mind.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
 One afternoon in May, when I stayed at the Antonio Gala Foundation and was about to end, I went to greet Antonio at his office and after a long conversation, just as I was leaving Gala told me “Elisa, you have the gift to make people happy, ” so between small tears I said goodbye to him and I walked through Córdoba thinking about what he had told me. Since then, it is always a good memory that comes to my mind when I am sad to remind myself that I should be happy.

Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
 I would undoubtedly tell you to be in your life always what you really want to be, as long as it does not harm other people. But I think it is very important that each one dedicate his life to doing what makes them happy. Living trapped doing something that does not belong to you is a mistake and a frustration. And as difficult as dreams may seem or as impossible as they may be, if you work hard, with effort and enthusiasm, they can be achieved. But you have to dare.  It is true that swimming in the pool is safe, there are no waves, the water is clean and there is always someone watching, but isn't it better to swim in the sea? Of course, it is scarier, there are currents, big waves and there may even be sharks, but taking the risk is worth it since it can allow you to open a range of possibilities and adventures much wider than that of the pool.