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Paulina F. Guzman reminds us of our shared humanity

One of the great things about art is it’s ability to bring seemingly different people together under a common thought, feeling, or experience. This interconnectedness is what Paulina Guzman strives to convey in her art. I had the pleasure of meeting Paulina during Fall River’s Open Studios back in May where she presented several pieces of her work, including her project “I am Losing Consciousness”. Every aspect of this work was so moving, thoughtfully crafted, and intentional. I was an immediate fan.

Paulina’s thoughtfulness, intentionality, and love for humanity does not stop at her artwork. This artistic vision shines through in her words and actions as well. In this spotlight interview, Paulina shares her routine, current projects, inspirations and goals for the future. The common thread for Paulina is the importance of recognizing our shared humanity and interconnectedness. Read on to learn more in Paulina’s own words.

What’s your profession?

I am a journalist and textile artist.

Describe a typical work day for you.

My daily focus recently revolved around organizing an exhibition of Latino art at the New Bedford Public Library and collective textile work with a group of immigrants settled on Acushnet Ave. These projects involve people who have made enormous efforts to come to the United States for a better life, leaving persecution and oppression behind. Most of my energy is dedicated to ensuring the success of both projects, putting my art aside for the moment.

The motivation behind these activities is to create a sense of community and belonging for this group of individuals settling in the community. Despite the challenges, I feel fulfilled in making connections and providing a platform for those who want to share their stories of survival. Appreciating the opportunities that come with every endeavor keeps me motivated and reminds me of the importance of artistic expression and community interaction.

What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?

Striking a balance between my artistic passions and the need to maintain financial stability has been a constant challenge. However, my eagerness to learn and thirst for knowledge keeps me motivated and focused. Despite the difficulties of navigating a foreign country, I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way with each step I take.

Do you have a morning routine?

As a contemplative person, my mornings usually involve a slow start, like a cold car engine on a winter morning, gradually shifting its parts to get moving. I begin with a cup of coffee, listening to the news on my husband’s (who is also a journalist) computer, immersing ourselves in the unfolding of a new day.

After this, I review my daily tasks in my planner, ensuring I remember meetings and commitments. Simultaneously, creative thoughts pass through my mind, contemplating how to express various ideas with suitable materials and abstract them to make them universally recognizable. This crucial breakfast moment connects with my family and obligations, marking the start of the race for the rest of the day.

What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?

I organize my day and my week by prioritizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. This helps me meet deadlines and dedicate time to creative experimentation without feeling overwhelmed.

What do you listen to during the day?

It depends on the mood I wake up with. I sometimes opt for jazz or classical music, creating a serene and productive environment. On the most energetic days, I immerse myself in Chilean music, especially from my generation, like the Los Prisioneros or an Argentine rock group. Furthermore, I am fond of French music and enjoy the timeless melodies of Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour, which remind me of my childhood. I attended secondary school in a French school.

How do you benefit from using a coworking space?

When seeking an environment conducive to concentrated work and personal focus. This setting allows me to escape the distractions of home, providing a dedicated space free from familial interruptions, such as inquiries about daily routines or meal plans.

What’s in your digital toolbox?

My essential tools are:

Google Workspace: for collaboration, file sharing, and communication.

Grammarly: for polished English writing.

Art and Design:

YouTube: for hosting videos and adding music.

Canva: for graphic design and visuals.

Music and Focus:

Spotify: for playlist creation and focus.

Headphones: for an immersive work environment.

Social Media:

Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter: for networking, inspiration, and connection with a broader audience.

What inspires you?

My inspiration stems from the idea of interconnectedness, which highlights the crucial role each individual plays in shaping our shared reality. As a textile artist, I utilize sheep’s wool to create handmade felt, where each strand of hair symbolizes the deep connections in our world. I aim to convey personal narratives and universal human stories, celebrating the profound interdependence between all living things. Through wool’s tactile and versatile nature, my art provides a refuge from life’s challenges while raising awareness of the complexities of our shared human experience.

What are some of your goals for the future?

My goal for the future is to attain economic stability that will allow me to work and use art to bring communities together and express the shared essence of diverse societies. I wish to engage in projects and create works that demonstrate the interconnectedness of humanity, highlighting how individual actions impact others within our communities and beyond. My artistic pursuits aim to promote unity, encouraging dialogue and understanding between different communities. Ultimately, I hope to contribute to a collective consciousness that recognizes and celebrates the profound interdependence of human beings on a global scale.