Interview with Hilda Palafox (aka PONI) for ‘Cuando Baja Le Marea (When The Tide Comes Down)’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Cuando Baja Le Marea (When The Tide Comes Down)‘ featuring new work by Hilda Palafox (aka Poni).

Mexico City-based artist Hilda Palafox, also known as Poni, is inspired by love, rain, music, and the feminine spirit. No matter the medium, whether it’s on canvas, paper, linen, ceramic, or adorning a wall, her work portrays the female form weaving together those elements in fresh and uplifting ways.

In anticipation of Cuando Baja Le Marea (When The Tide Comes Down), our interview with Hilda Palafox (aka Poni) discusses the power of femininity, her inspiration behind this body of work, and most rewarding moment of her career thus far.

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

HP: Currently, I work and live in Mexico City, where I am from. I studied design at Escuela de Diseño del INBA (The National Institute of Fine Arts) and later worked as a creative in advertising. I learned a lot but I realized it was not my thing at all. I quit to pursue an artistic career which was something I always had wanted to do. I began doing a lot of editorial illustration then started making and selling my own work, things like prints and ceramics. I started painting some murals, then paintings and eventually got to where I am today. Always learning, growing and experimenting.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

HP: I’ve had many creative influences over the years and they’re all very different. Some that come to my mind now are: Carlos Mérida, Niki de Saint Phalle, Ricardo Martínez de Hoyos, Yoshitomo Nara, Tarsiila do Amaral, Agostino Iacurci…

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

HP: Last year a friend of mine gave me a Tarot reading, right were in LA actually. “The Moon” was one of the cards that came up quite a few times, he explained how this card points out things that are hidden and then a lower tide revealed them. I took this to heart and developed the concept for the exhibition; playing with the idea of the tide, the horizon, the symbol of the moon and the things to be found underwater. I visualized the whole body of work as a dance between these elements. 

SH: What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

HP: Probably the textile piece. I had wanted to do something with this appliqué technique for a long time and it took me some time to find the right fabric and dying it. The sewing was very relaxing once I got it right. I made three different pieces and only one made it to the exhibition. It is a technique inspired in traditional textiles from Panama, Colombia and Africa, I definitely want to experiment so much more with this. 

SH: What is your most and least favorite part of the creative process?

HP: Personally, there is always a moment in the middle of the process where I feel a bit pressured, mainly feeling rushed to finish everything and meet the due date. I would say deadlines are the least enjoyable part. At the same time, I am kind of grateful about this rush because it makes me work harder. Let’s be honest, sometimes we all need that. 

SH: You’ve traveled the world through your work, what is one of your favorite cities (outside of your home) and why has it captured your heart? 

HP: I really like Madrid, probably because it was the first city I traveled to on my own, outside my country. Last year I went back there for work and it was just like I remembered it. I love the old/new city vibe.

SH: How would you describe the inherent power and need for femininity to a person who has only existed in a masculine world? What do you think are the positive attributes of the masculine?

HP: I think the feminine power has always exemplified this need or want to overcome things. In my work I want to show women that have gone past their limit, I want to show this place that we physically, energetically, and intellectually fill in the world. Although my work is not masculine at all, cosmologically there has always been a balance between these two forces, it is not so much like this now. In my work the feminine is taking over to restore the balance, the masculine should use the power and strength it is known to have and direct it inwards and absorb some femininity. 

SH: Favorite thing you’ve watched, listened to, and ate in the last 30 days? 

HP: Paranoia Agent, an anime from 2005, it’s very cool. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts for the first time, I am kind of new to this. Some of my favs are The Art Angle and the first and only season of Recording Artists and Radio Juxtapoz. And eating, I made this ultra-simple cold lemon pie made with these store-bought cookies. I hadn’t made one in years and ended up eating the whole thing in like a day. Loved it. 

SH: What is the most rewarding moment thus far in your art career? How about your life?

HP: I think it probably was when I did my first artistic residency two years ago, in Japan. It was very revealing to me in terms of what I wanted to express with my work and where I wanted to direct it towards. It was also my first solo exhibition ever, very far away from home. I’m so grateful for the whole opportunity, I grew a lot and became so much more aware.

SH: If you could be on a zoom call with 5 people dead or alive who would they be? What would be the ice breaker question? 

HP: Haha, mmm… I don’t know, maybe Trish Keenan, Gertrude Stein, Geles Cabrera, Modigliani, and Prince? I would probably ask something like: What are you drinking right now?

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, May 2 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post our professionally shot video tour of both our May exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, May 2 from 1-2PM pacific time we will go live on our Instagram Stories to tour both exhibitions, have a bit of fun, giveaway some stuff and answer some questions

Sunday, May 3 at 2pm pacific time we will post a full set of photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, May 4 at 2PM pacific time we will share a link to our self-guided virtual tour of both exhibitions on all of our social networks (links to all below)

Monday, May 4 at 4 PM pacific time we will debut ‘Magic Mondays’ with our close friend WORM who will wow us all with his sleight of hand magic and feats of wonder. He really is a mind-blowing magician and we think it will be fun to share with you all. Looking forward to having this be a weekly featuring during our li’l pandemic lockdown and we’ll always give a li’l look at both shows as well

Cuando baje la marea

Cuando baje la marea

The intrinsic softness of silence; in the midst of darkness we often mistake solid ground for certainty. 

Amongst the cosmic alignment lay the possibilities of every single one of our existences. As the tide lowers our bodies follow, reaching and crawling to get hold of what the water and salt have whispered to us. Confronting immensity to plot against her, believing truth should be spelled out to us in the syllables we find comfort in. As we scheme the path to our grand finale before we notice, she will have already drowned us. 

Could you best attempt to remember when you helped her carry the weight of the ocean? The night you did not seek for its ending and lent a hand to an old friend. Erasing every horizon, shifting the meaning of reality; lost between beneath or above, resistance and malleability dissolving. The smell of the changing seasons and their secrets, the disappearing aches of your own secrets and fears. Blending your eyes with hers, in the end, aren’t we all the same underwater? 

In Hilda Palafox’s latest body of work the artist found a calling for the unveiling of her future from a tarot card reading that repeatedly revealed the moon card. The moon here is understood as the drive for the discovery of something laying in front of our eyes that we are unable to see up until the tide lowers. For the artist, such revelation has yet to come. 

Carefully depicting the playful lack of an epiphany through rough strokes and layering of colors; portraying her own struggles in tearing down the perception she has of herself. A subtle release of the mind comes with the optic illusion of the place she wants the viewer to inhabit. Corpulent figures settling into the canvas aiming for doubt over clarity. Unifying her pictorial universe through the shift of focus to imagery before color. This exploration of a mystery placed upon her lap becomes a proven reality that answers are not revealed on command but rather unleash our capacity to outgrow ourselves. 

Erasing the limit of space and volume, a balance between emphasizing on highlighted figures and the disappearance of contrast; a romantic mise-en-scène of intuition blending with the desperate human need to discover one’s true essence. 

By Ivonne Alcántara

(Spanish versión)

La intrínseca suavidad del silencio; en medio de la oscuridad solemos confundir el suelo firme con certidumbre. 

Entre el alineamiento cósmico se encuentran todas las posibilidades de cada una de nuestras existencias. Como baja la marea nuestrxs cuerpxs la siguen, añorando, gateando hacia ella para aprehender lo que el agua y la sal nos susurraron. Confrontando a la inmensidad, conspirando en su contra, creyendo que la verdad se nos debería deletrear con las sílabas que conocemos. Mientras planeamos el camino hacia nuestro gran final, sin darnos cuenta, ella ya nos habrá ahogado. 

¿Podrías intentar recordar cuando la ayudaste a cargar el peso del océano? La noche que no deseabas que terminara, ofreciéndole una mano a una vieja amiga. Borrando todos los horizontes, redefiniendo la realidad; perdidx entre arriba y abajo, la resistencia y la maleabilidad disolviéndose. El aroma de las temporadas cambiando con sus secretos, la desaparición del dolor de tus propios secretos y miedos. Combinando tus ojos con los suyos, al final, no somos todxs iguales bajo el agua?

En el cuerpo de trabajo más reciente de Hilda Palafox la artista se encuentra de frente con un llamado por desvelar lo que el futuro tiene para ella a partir de una lectura de tarot que le reveló tres veces la carta de “La Luna”. El símbolo de la luna se entiende como el empuje hacia el descubrimiento de algo que yace frente a nuestros que nos vemos incapaces de ver hasta que baja la marea para mostrárnoslo. Para la artista, aún no ha llegado tal revelación.

Cuidadosamente representando la alegre ausencia de la Epifanía con trazos rudos y capas sobre capas de colores; presentando su lucha interna por demoler la percepción que tiene de ella misma. Un tipo de liberación sutil de la mente llevada por la ilusión  óptica sobre el lugar a que invita al espectador a habitar. Figuras corpulentas descendiendo sobre el canvas optando por la duda sobre la claridad. Unificando su universo pictórico cambiando el enfoque a la imagen antes del color. Esta exploración por el misterio puesto sobre su regazo es la prueba de que las respuestas no se encuentran a la orden; llevándonos a desencadenar nuestra capacidad de crecer más allá de lo que somos.

Borrando el límite del espacio y el volumen, un equilibrio entre el emphasis de la figura y la desaparición del contraste; un romántico escenario donde la intuición se mezcla con la desesperada necesidad humana por descubrir su verdadera esencia.

Por Ivonne Alcántara

New works from Hilda Palafox (PONI) and Kayla Mahaffey debut May 2

HILDA PALAFOX (aka PONI)
Cuando Baja Le Marea (When The Tide Comes Down)

Thinkspace is pleased to present “Cuando Baje La Marea (When the Tide Comes Down)” from Mexico City artist Hilda Palafox, also known as Poni. The artist’s absorbing works often contain the female form. The artist shares, “Girls, love, rain, and music are my biggest inspirations.” And whether it’s on canvas, paper, linen, ceramic, or adorning a wall, her work brings together those elements in fresh and uplifting ways.

Palafox grew up and is based in Mexico City, she has an bachelor’s degree in Integral Design and since 2006 has been spreading her beautifully crafted dolls around her home country. Her illustrations carry an air of pureness and at times, a very elegant apathy. She enjoys mixing and matching techniques, for each piece the results are always held together by  a gentile and graceful balance. Subtle suggestions of expressions and emotions held together by light bodies and romantic surroundings. 

Hilda’s alluring mural work can be found from the island of Holbox in Quintana Roo to the streets of Southern California to the rooftops of Mexico City. Her characters blend in, inviting you to watch, from their pupil-less glances to their doe eyed stares, a seduction that could only be a vision, reminding us of a graceful nostalgia.

Hilda Palafox is an artist who balances fluidity, simplicity and a sort of visual poetry in her work. She lives and works in the chaos of one of the most populated cities in the world and yet her work is ever more calm and romantic.

KAYLA MAHAFFEY
Deconstructed

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is “Deconstructed” from Kayla Mahaffey. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Mahaffey (also known as KaylaMay) is quickly becoming one of the city’s most sought-after artists with her unique blend of flat, cartoon elements with brilliant photo-realism.

Mahaffey’s work gives voice to the unheard stories of contemporary youth and, as explained by the artist, “serves as a guide to bring hope back into our daily lives by cherishing each moment not in the mindset of an adult, but with the fresh eyes and imagination of a child.” 

Being born and raised on the South side of Chicago, IL., only ignited Kayla’s love for all things art. The artist elaborates, “seeing the struggle and the support from the community made my work evolve to a concept that is personal to me.  I continue to further my technique, and creativity in my field in order to paint a beautiful picture of a new world for those around me. Living in our society can be tough and most of the time we have to make the best of it. A wild imagination can take you so far, but at the end of the day we need to realize and observe the world around us. And the world around us is where I find my inspiration to paint. Colorful paintings that contain hints of whimsy and realism that tell a story of inner thoughts and personal issues that sometimes go unheard.”

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, May 2 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post our professionally shot video tour of both our May exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, May 2 from 1-2PM pacific time we will go live on our Instagram Stories to tour both exhibitions, have a bit of fun, giveaway some stuff and answer some questions

Sunday, May 3 at 2pm pacific time we will post a full set of photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, May 4 at 2PM pacific time we will share a link to our self-guided virtual tour of both exhibitions on all of our social networks (links to all below)

Monday, May 4 at 4 PM pacific time we will debut ‘Magic Mondays’ with our close friend WORM who will wow us all with his sleight of hand magic and feats of wonder. He really is a mind-blowing magician and we think it will be fun to share with you all. Looking forward to having this be a weekly featuring during our li’l pandemic lockdown and we’ll always give a li’l look at both shows as well.