We caught up with budding painter Irene Noren in her airy studio in the Bronx. The Spanish native’s work has a rich sense of color and symbolism that echoes some of her longtime favorite artists: Magritte, Dali, Kahlo. Her best advice for fellow aspiring artists? “Keep painting,” she says. “I think it’s important to not focus on goals or expectations at first and think only about creating.”
What inspired you start painting?
When I first moved to New York with my boyfriend, the first thing I said was that I wanted to make him a painting. He has a lot of art on the walls and that definitely inspired me.
Tell us about the residency you recently completed.
I did a residency with Michael Werner gallery. From the moment I started painting I had no expectations, especially because I had heard from other artists that the journey of an artist can be slow. Being able to move from Spain, have a studio and the freedom to create, was an accomplishment that I didn’t imagine will happen so fast. I feel that I grew a lot as a person and became much more confident, not only in my art.
Can you share some of your artistic influences?
Even though I started painting only recently, I have always loved art. Any time I travel to a new place, I always go to the local museum. Surrealism is a movement that always inspired me and sparked my curiosity. Magritte, Dali and Frida Kahlo are some of the artists that made me love art. Also, growing up in Spain and traveling around Europe I have always been inspired by Renaissance art and architecture. Some of the contemporary artists that I look up are Sasha Gordon, Issy Wood and Florian Krewer.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
My biggest source of inspiration is nature. My spiritual journey has given me a deeper appreciation and understanding of nature and its beauty. When I paint nature, I believe in some way I’m giving back to it – helping others to appreciate its beauty.
What are some of themes that you explore in your work?
I express my personal and spiritual journey through beauty because that’s how I transformed my trauma, turning darkness into beauty and finding the time in nature to heal. I use a lot of symbolism; I love to hide meaning in my work that is not easy to understand without context but lets the viewer know that there is a sense of mystery. In my most recent work, The Flower of Life, you see three monks levitating on a platform, which you might soon realize are also three roses. The monks have no ears representing the wisdom that comes from listening to ourselves and not the noise around us.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about making art?
The best advice would be to keep painting. I think it is important to not focus too much on goals or expectations, and just focus on making work. By thinking about creating and not the business side, I’ve been able to appreciate everything that has happened to me on my journey.
What are you looking forward to this holiday?
I look forward to spending time with my loved ones and to close the year feeling that I’m not only a better person, but a more confident and happier one, with a career that makes me fulfilled.