Marlene Paez Dukes
October’s theme is flow and I had the opportunity to interview this month’s speaker, Ricardo Mondragon. Ricardo is a talented Mexican artist and music composer. We met at Daily Bar where we chatted about his work, where he finds creativity in Chicago, and what keeps his flow going. Read below to learn more about Ricardo’s thoughts on community, culture, and this month’s theme.
1. October’s theme is Flow, in one sentence or less, how do you define Flow? A state of harmony.
2. What’s your flow? I have many flows. Music, art, food, animals, running. Nature flows with me.
3. You combine, art and music, what is your creative process like? I begin in my music studio, and look for harmonic forms that are aesthetically pleasing. I then visualize them in 2D and pass on to 3D, depending on the project. Materials and gravity mold my creative process until my eyes are satisfied.
4. How has technology impacted the type of work that you create? Technology drives the art.
5. What do you want people to take away from your work? Whatever they want, whatever they choose to take out of my work. I want to have a conversation with them through art.
6. What does your work mean to you? It is a lifestyle. It’s my way of a better understanding about the world we live in.
7. You were born in Mexico, how does your culture influence your work? I like to choose vibrant colors for my art. I also think that Mexico has molded me into who I am. I like to think that we are a collection of everyone we’ve met - where you were born and where you have traveled. All these experiences brings you to the present self.
8. Where can we see some of your work? I am showcasing my work with other artists at Hyde Park Art Center. The exhibit is called Intersectional Touch.
9. What kind of sounds represent you? I believe that we all have a frequency - vibrations that resonate to connect with others. I don’t have a specific sound that represents me, but if I had to choose my favorite sound, I would pick the chord D minor.
10. What does community mean to you?
Individuals who help each other succeed.
11. What’s on your current playlist? Les Baxter, Voodoo Dreams
12. What are you reading now? I am reading Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures by Eric Kandel and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
13. What is your secret superpower? Being hungry for life!
14. What keeps you up at night? Thinking about art, my next steps, and how I can do better work.
15. Best advice you live by? I follow my gut, it’s the best flow. If for any reason you made a mistake, you will learn. But if you are right, it will only assure you that you are following the right path, which is usually the case.
16. Where do you find creativity in Chicago? Museums, art centers, restaurants, breweries, architecture, everywhere.
17. Who is another creative person / organization in Chicago that we need to know about?