Gallery Talk with Andoni Beristain

Tell us more about your background and what inspired you to become an artist and photographer.

It seems that I was destined to do something artistic with my life as, from an early age on, I was interested in art, especially drawing. But I was also interested in music and singing and I played the clarinet for many years. I studied graphic design in Barcelona and taught myself photography when I was still a teenager.

Although, at first glance, your work seems to center on color and composition, the underlying ideas for creating them are not light-hearted topics and often symbolize deep personal pain. Can you share more about the topics that are currently influencing your work?

Although my work is colorful, bold, and optimistic, I’m inspired by serious topics and personal experiences to tell visual stories through my photography. It began with my personal struggle with weight and obesity, and the tremendous social pressure I experienced. Later on, after being diagnosed with cancer, I dealt with stigmas surrounding disease. But my most important project is dedicated to my mom who passed away last year. Being an only child, her passing affected me deeply and the Pieza Madre series is all about unconditional love, loss, and death, and paying homage to my beloved mother.

Is it important to you that spectators feel this personal connection with the underlying story when seeing you work?

Yes, it is. But I also encourage them to perceive and understand each image on their own terms. Viewers can adapt them to their own ideas, experiences, and circumstances.

Next to your personal artwork, you also work on assignments for large consumer brands. What is the common thread between your personal and commercial work?

The common thread is that both represent my personal style and my way of seeing and processing the world.

How would you describe your work?

Colorful, optimistic, graphic, and intense.

How did the pandemic influence your work?

Not very much as I grew up under tough circumstances and often had to overcome challenging situations. During the pandemic, I was dealing with the aftermath of my illness. Although this was a very difficult period, I can’t say it influenced my work very much.