Metro Spotlight – Denis Serrano

I discovered Denis’s work whilst judging this years’ Brighton Photo Fringe SOLO competition and was struck by the beautiful compositions punctuated with challenging subjects including mental health; misogyny and domestic violence – through a rich palette of documentary; surrealism and staged settings I was taken by the complex nature of her practice.

We have had several Zoom meetings along with her mentor and artist Monica Alcazar- Duarte and I got the chance to ask her a few questions about her projects and to learn more about what it is to be a working artist in her native Mexico.

Can you please tell us a bit about your practice and style of photography
I usually look for stories in the streets first, when I find a scene which I feel personally attached to, I think about the context, about the social impact behind those first pictures I take while I’m walking.
I’m interested in documentary photography but I like to feel free on running from different levels of image subjectivity by creating scenes, experimenting with print pictures, and other types of expressions such as drawing, painting and alternative embroidery techniques.
I have a special interest to explore mental health as a topic.

Can you tell us a bit about the Mexican arts community and your experiences.
I think there is a strong community of artists who work with photography. There are many intereseasting projects talking about mexican social context, for example, it’s easy to find the topic of violence from different perspectives, since those who are working on amazing street pictures showing the surrealistic, and raw mexican atmospheres, until who is in touch with their own bodys to talk about the healing since they feel surrounded of violence in all its forms.
In my experience I’ve found wonderful spaces to share knowledge, where emergents and mentors learn together. There is also a huge interest to collaborate and support each other.

Which medium (exhibition print; publication; online) best suits your work? Maybe some or all of them!
I certainly could say all of them! I mean, I’m excited to explore any way to show my work, I think not all mediums fit in a project, because they talk from different languages, they are different experiences. And that’s why I’m also interested in seeing how a project is received from two different mediums at the same time, for example, how a video of the project on a website is helping spectators to understand better or expand their vision when they are about to visit the print exhibition.

In the current climate what challenges do you perceive as a working artist?
I think the art in general, is really attached to the body, the presence. So that makes it really challenging for almost all art activities. But we also are surrounded by technology, and we need to use it with creativity, so this is a chance to get closer, more than ever, to collaborate no matter how far we are, to think in domestic practices and learn new ways to talk to others. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about the same feelings with artists from the other side of the world, I mean that’s amazing, it’s world wide empathy!. And I know it’s difficult, but it’s also exciting.

Do you have any new projects planned that you can tell us about?
Yes, right now I’m into drawing and experimental embroidery to talk about misogyny violence. And I’m doing research about the relation between pictures, lighting and mental health.

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