June 21st, 2020

Words & Interview by Victoria Campa · Artwork by Mar Vilella

Nerea Garro creates otherworldly images that are anchored in highlighting women. With simple, direct compositions, subtle coloring, and spectacular art direction, she makes it look easy. Surrounded by a community of creatives, Nerea's models, stylists, and collaborators are very often her close friends. Nerea’s personal work rivals the fashion work she creates for Spanish brands such as Amichi, and is deeply rooted in the ocean and her travels. Here, she tells us about discovering other forms of creativity in isolation (the dress she wears in our FaceTime photos was a quarantine design) and about finding escape in science fiction.   


How are you staying creative? 


During this time I have tried not to push myself to be creative, just relax and try to enjoy new crafts. I have been lucky to share this time with one of my best friends, who also works in the creative industry, and together we have spent our time creating different things, from pictures, to jewelry, balloon furniture, but only if we felt like it. There have been creative days and other days when the mood didn’t help, and that was fine too. 


What revelations or realizations have you had about yourself or your life during this time? 


I have realized that it is great to stop, spend some time with ourselves, take care of ourselves, from eating healthy and tasty food, to exercising a bit, resting a lot, seeing films, documentaries, all of which have really enriched my cultural knowledge. I have also been organizing my computer and hard drive, going through thousands of photos from years ago til now. This has made me think a lot about my life, friends, places, experiences, and the passing of time, realizing what makes me happy, like days sleeping by the beach with the people I love. I know I am able to say this from a privileged point of view. I have been so lucky that no one close to me has been ill, or has had extreme worries about money. 


Tell us about art (books, movies, music, etc.) that you have discovered or revisited during this time. 


I have inherited my father's taste for science fiction, and have been reading all the "Dune" series. Now I am reading "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the inspiration for Blade Runner. But without hesitation my favorite series is "The Foundation" by Isaac Asimov. In terms of movies, here are some films I have watched this quarantine: "Love is the Devil", "The King’s Speech", "Rear Window", "Vertigo, Dolls", "The Fifth Element", "Tess", "The Virgin Suicides". The one I have enjoyed the most has been "The Elephant Man". I didn’t know a lot about the history, and it really touched me. Also, I have been watching documentaries like, "Sketches From Frank Ghery", "Kusama: Infinity", "Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict", “Muchos Monos Un Hijo Y Un Castillo”, "Vivienne Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist…" And I think my favorite song this quarantine has been “Siboney” by Connie Francis.


Is there a particular favorite piece of work you like to reference during difficult moments, such as this one? 


I’m from Bilbao and in difficult times I have always found it comforting to go to the Guggenheim Museum on my own, walk around and immerse myself in the artworks exhibited at that time. I especially remember one complicated day when I went to see Bill Viola’s retrospective. Now that museums are closed, science fiction books have helped me disconnect from reality and discover new and exciting worlds. 


What are some silver linings that you've encountered during this time? 


I have found it very positive to have a lot of time for myself, to take care of myself, both the physical and the mind. Normally we spend a lot of time working and going out, surrounded by people and noise, and suddenly it's just us, spending time with ourselves and enjoying being with ourselves. 


What routines have kept you grounded? 


I think the first change my roommate and I made was to stop watching the news. We decided to spend a few minutes everyday to stay informed but not allow the amount of information to affect us all the time. Doing some exercise and learning how to eat better has been another routine that has helped us to feel healthier. The best moment of the day is the hour of sunshine we have at midday. We put on wave sounds or music, close our eyes and relax under the sun, while feeling like we're outside for a short time. 


What changes do you hope are in store for the post-quarantine world? 


A slowing down of the pace of life. 


What has been inspiring you lately? 


I would say all the films, documentaries, books and music I have had access to thanks to internet. 

This interview is part of a series of conversations with artists discussing their experiences during quarantine. 

Victoria Campa grew up in Madrid, Spain, and has traveled around the world with her camera. She mostly lenses women in quiet moments within their environments, and she is interested in exploring the passage of time, strength in vulnerability, and inner lives through stories. She writes a bi-weekly newsletter about art, film, and writing called things to look at. You can explore her work at 

Mar Villela is a digital collage artist based in Barcelona. @and_roses is the name of her artistic project, where she allows herself to be completely free with composition, and where photography and poetry meet.