Artist highlight

Written By Devin Hardy



JUAN CARLOS COLLADA, This Mortal Coil, 2022

Mixed Media- Hand Painted Feathers, 36” x 36”

1) What inspires you?


I think the beauty of being an artist is that you have the capacity to find inspiration in many places. I find beauty and inspiration in nature, in people’s minds, books…it’s kind of endless. You could put me in an empty room with three inanimate objects and I can guarantee you I’m going to try to make something that pleases my eye or makes that room feel a little better. When I was a child, I often ignored my toys to build or make something out of found objects around my house or yard. In a way, I wish I still lived in a place where there were fewer choices. These days if you want some inspiration, you need only to turn on your iPad and google something. I have so many ideas at once that I sometimes don’t know where to start.


2) I know you told a story once about the symbolism of the butterfly- a sign of good luck for you and a reference to the one your mother sewed onto your jacket as a child. How did the medium and execution take shape from that concept?


Years ago, I was at High Point with my husband and came across an artist who made art out of metal and encased it in plexi cases. In the same show, I saw a taxidermist who had beetles, snakes & butterflies in shadow boxes. That was my Aha moment! I had a vision and went back to my studio and came up with the butterflies.


3) How do the butterfly forms – the undulations and waves of movement in your work come into being? Do they happen organically, kind of free forming themselves as you go along, or do you predetermine a shape to work from?


Both. To some degree it all comes together the moment I put the first butterfly on a panel. I may work straight from my imagination, or I may be working under the influence of a client and whatever requests they have made. For the most part it all happens organically.


4) Is there anything that you want your collectors to take from your work? Or do you just make it from the heart and allow whatever response comes to the viewer to be so?


Just joy. I hope the energy I put forward when creating them is felt through the art, I feel joy in making them and I hope the viewer feels that as well.


5)What practices or routines help inform your process?


Meditation and music.


6) Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?


Art is an actual business. Get educated and informed on this so you can proceed with what is required to sustain it. Tax filings, accounting, contracts etc. all need to be dealt with at some point or it will stifle one’s creativity.


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