Art

All Sewn Up

An Interview with artist, David Cata about his Under the Skin series

Interview by Lora Wiley - lora@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos courtesy of David Cata
My Brother Javier Art © David Cata

My Brother Javier
Art © David Cata

My Brother Javier Art © David Cata

My Brother Javier
Art © David Cata

Forgive us for asking the most obvious question first, how do you manage the pain?
It might seem painful, but the sewing is always superficial. There’s almost no pain. I express emotional pain in my projects rather than physical. It’s the emotional aspects of pain that concern me.

Explain the creation process. Do you sketch the portrait on your hand first?
Yes. Before starting to sew on the palm of my hand, I draw the portraits and use them as a guide to make the sewn one.

My Grandmother Lolina Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Lolina
Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Lolina Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Lolina
Art © David Cata

How long do you leave the portrait stitched into your hand?
I keep the portrait stitched into my hand for a very short time. I record the action as it’s being done and then I remove it.

How long does it take your hand to heal between portraits?
Once the action is done, the tracks stay on my body for about four weeks. Then they disappear completely.

My Grandfather Cata Art © David Cata

My Grandfather Cata
Art © David Cata

My Grandfather Cata Art © David Cata

My Grandfather Cata
Art © David Cata

These hand sewn portraits are all of people you know or your family. What is the most surprising reaction you’ve received from one of your subjects after viewing their portrait sewn into your hand?
Most of them are surprised. In some cases they are moved by the gesture and for what it represents. I see this as an act of love and affection towards these people.

My Cousin Viky  Art © David Cata

My Cousin Viky
Art © David Cata

My Cousin Viky  Art © David Cata

My Cousin Viky
Art © David Cata

You have a BA in Art and a Master’s Degree in photography and work in photography, painting, video and sculpture. Any other art medium you would like to explore?
I’m not attached to any medium in particular, until recently I never thought of working with performance art. There’s always new media that show us new things, and it’s necessary to go further, explore, learn and evolve. I’d love to mix my work with another passion I have, music.

My Teacher Manuel Sendón Art © David Cata

My teacher Manuel Sendón
Art © David Cata

My Teacher Manuel Sendón Art © David Cata

My teacher Manuel Sendón
Art © David Cata

You’ve also studied the accordion. Why this instrument?
I’ve always liked the piano and wanted to learn how to play it, but my family had an accordion and I finally decided to learn how to play it. It’s a very beautiful and appreciative instrument, and a lot of things can be done with it. I heard once that “it’s the instrument that is closest to the heart”.

My Friend Carlos Art © David Cata

My Friend Carlos
Art © David Cata

My Friend Carlos Art © David Cata

My Friend Carlos
Art © David Cata

How surprised are you at how much international attention this series has received?
It’s been amazing because in just a few weeks my work has been seen around the world. Before that, it had been selected for international shows in Cuba, Peru, New York, Mexico and some others. Great opportunities to show my work, but it wasn’t until some months ago that my work “A Flor de Piel” (Overexposed Emotions), on which I’ve been working for three years, was published in several countries. I was a little scared with this at the beginning, because it was very unexpected and happened very quickly, but I’m very happy because this helped to expose my work to more people.

My Grandmother Perpetua Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Perpetua
Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Perpetua Art © David Cata

My Grandmother Perpetua
Art © David Cata

How many of these portraits have you created and how many more will you create?
I’ve made twenty portraits of my family, friends, teachers and my ex-girlfriend so far. This project is an autobiographical diary in which people that are important for me and have marked my life are shown. It’s a lifetime project, so it’s not closed yet.

If you could pick one to live on your hand permanently, which would it be and why?
Somehow, all of the portraits I’ve done are permanently living on me, even if they are not visible. Each print is latent on my body. But, If I had to pick one, I’d keep my great-grandmother Perpetua’s portrait.

One Response to “All Sewn Up”

  1. […] out the stitches. He says the resulting ‘tracks’ stay on his body for about four weeks. In an interview with Citizen Brooklyn, he said, “Somehow, all of the portraits I’ve done are permanently living on me, even […]

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