Ambar Navarro is an LA based artist, animator, and curator. Originally from San Antonio, TX she moved to attend the California Institute of the Arts and received her B.F.A. in Experimental Animation (2015).
Her work explores internet cultures, collaboration, making friends irl/url, experiments with online trends, and learning new ways to incorporate technology into projects. Ambar Navarro has had worked screened and exhibited at Rookiemag, Sunday Los Angeles, Slow Culture Gallery, ATM Gallery, Wall Street Journal YouTube Channel, PBS SoCal, and Perform Chinatown.
An Interview with Ambar Navarro:
What inspires you to make work? Can you name any particular artists that you look up to?
I’m inspired to make work from relationships people have to the online world and issues that directly concern me in the present time. I like to create little online experiments and the platform, NewHive has really helped with me organized these ideas. I still think of “The Internet” as a physical space and can’t help but separate my real life and the online life in my head. I also try to focus on issues like money, student loans, dating/relationships – topics I think people don’t necessarily want to talk about. I recently graduated from a very expensive art school and am dealing with paying off student loans which has definitely affected my art practice and work situation.
Some artists who I look up to are Kytten Janae, Thom Rugo, Josh Shaffner, David Lewandowski, LaTurbo Avedon, Vince Mckelvie, Jillian Mayer, Arvida Bystrom, Molly Soda, and Signe Pierce. They are some of the hardest working individuals I know pushing the limits in digital work.
What are you investigating through your work? How would you describe your relationship
It’s all very personal. I don’t expect everyone to like it or “get it”. I have a very obsessive personality and spend a lot of time thinking about certain projects I want to do. I also really like having full control on set which is why most of my work deals with small-scale miniatures, but also spend a lot of time doing collabs and reaching out to artists. I’ve done a few photoshoots with Arvida Bystrom and almost always include LaTurbo Avedon in every project I do. Next, i’m working on a project with Aleia Murawski and this Metaverse commercial that just premiered:
What would you consider to be your aesthetic or style, and how does it show itself?
Everything I do always relies on color. I became obsessed with lighting while working on my film and have a box full of colored gels my teacher once gave me for interning in the Lighting dept. All the colors I choose are specifically chosen for what kind of feel I want for that piece. I mostly stick with a very saturated pink but recently have been getting sick of doing that so am moving onto new gels. I also always stick to just using one solid color per show but my next piece is for the FEELS V event which is going to have a room shift colors throughout the day. Maybe White, Light Blue, and Dark Blue.
You frequently illustrate private moments in your work. What draws you to reveal these moments?
There’s no other way for me to deal with any sort of personal problems i’m dealing with. If I talk to friends about it they eventually get sick of hearing about it and it’s something I can’t shake off until I make something about it! I don’t think i’ve made anything super personal recently which is maybe good lol. But I definitely have some ideas brewing for the future about about my Mom – home life in Texas as well as my Student Loan$.
Are you working on anything right now that you feel is going in a new direction?
I’m doing an interactive photobooth piece similar to The Met gala’s which you can follow here: www.instagram.com/feelsvme/
It’s for the FEELS V festival in Oakland and gives the festival go-ers their 15 secs of fame while they wait to see their favorite musicians. It’s also being headline by Lil B who makes all his content around his fans. This piece is supposed to be all about the guests at the show.
How do you find the art scene in Los Angeles?
I think I got into the LA Art Scene at a really nice time because of Sunday Los Angeles! They were/are an art gallery that recently had to close down due to their evil landlord but opened up a space for young artists. Adi Rajkovic the curator for Sunday has an amazing eye for curating and has skills to curate shows with a high number of artists (50-100?!) They were the first gallery in LA that I knew of doing this and also have a really similar pink/girl vibe.
What advise could you give to someone starting their creative career?
Make lots of work and don’t let anyone bring you down! If someone does bring you down just keep making work! Also reach out to people whose work you like. You never know who will want to curate you in a show or end up working together.
Can you describe any habits/rituals etc. that you do before you start working?
Before I start working I always clean up my workspace around me. I set timers for how long I want to spend on a certain project or to hurry up and finish! I also have a really hard time focusing so will turn off my phone or make sure not to go in gchat lol.