Exploring true essence: Carla Cascales Alimbou
All photo credits: Carla Cascales Alimbou
Carla Cascales Alimbou (b. 1989) is a painter and sculptor whose work is minimal, natural, and authentic.
Alimbou started her career in design but transitioned to art based on a need to create in a more pure, authentic way. “For me art is a vehicle that creates beauty without a specific goal, with the sole purpose to make people think and feel by sharing with them what you do.” Her practice explores simplicity and authenticity found in nature and people with a goal of getting to the true essence of things.
“I believe that if we remove all the ornaments, we come to the truth of things, their nature. I like people who show themselves as they are, without appearances, although it is not easy many times to show our weaknesses. It is for me the only way to live as our true selves.”
Alimbou was born and raised in the cosmopolitan, coastal, capital city of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain. Surrounded by the beautiful art and architecture of the city and inspired by her father, who built handmade architectural models, Alimbou was drawn to visual art as a child. Additionally, childhood illnesses led to an impaired sense of smell and taste which enhanced her visual and tactile senses.
After witnessing her father’s profession become replaced by CAD 3D modeling and the sting of the great recession in 2008, Alimbou buried her creative passion during her university years, studying advertising, a more practical path that promised more stable income. But her desire to create was strong. She also studied design and illustration and landed a job out of school working as a designer for a multinational company. While she excelled in her role, she felt empty inside. Realizing that the corporate path would never make her happy, Alimbou struck out on her own working as a sculptor by morning (in the studio her father once used) and a freelance designer by afternoon. After two intense years, Alimbou finally was able to support herself from her art practice, and she hasn’t looked back.
Alimbou’s principal inspiration is nature itself. From it flows a set of values that are imbued in each of her works: simplicity, authenticity, naturalness, the importance of finding beauty in irregularity, and the acceptance of the passage of time. Her practice, full of variety and experimentation, seeks to capture these themes, using a range of materials: stone, metals, glass, wood, natural pigments and fibers like cotton and linen. She often uses rescued pieces of wood or marble or deformed pieces of metal. Her color scheme is always neutral and natural. Alimbou’s appreciation for nature comes from growing up on a beautiful coastline facing the Mediterranean Sea and her study of Japanese artistic traditions. In particular, she’s inspired by the ‘wabi-sabi’ movement which places value on imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things. And kintsugi, a technique used to repair fractures in ceramics using gold resin. Alimbou’s appreciation for Japanese traditions were reinforced through an art residency in Japan in September, 2019.
Alimbou works in a studio filled with natural light. She starts her day by working uninterrupted on new works; morning is when her creative juices are flowing best. She takes a break in the afternoon for physical activity, often tennis, and she exercises her mind by reading. When she returns to her studio in the afternoon, she sketches, re-touches images and responds to emails. She tries to keep her space minimal and organized since she recognizes the important affect that space has on one’s mood.
Alimbou talks about her creative process: