Cóco Fernández is a Spanish artist whose work touches into the worlds of painting, drawing, ceramics, artistic direction, and more. Her pieces all have a delicate yet purposeful balance between simplicity and fluidity that caught my eye a couple of years ago and have continued to capture my attention every time I come across them.
Despite working across various mediums, her work speaks a common language, as though made to live in the world together. Cóco, claiming to have been a perfectionist prior to developing her current style, seems to have held onto a piece of her old behaviors in the best way. The precision, or cohesiveness, of her style takes us into her world, giving us a glimpse of how form and color paint her view.
Can you introduce yourself a little?
Cóco: My name is Cristina Fernández, and Cóco Fernández is the creative project that I started 5 years ago.
The project allows me to grow in all the facets of art that I like: drawing, painting, ceramics, artistic direction, photography, etc.
I love feeling free and able to do what interests me at any given moment.
You work in many different mediums— painting, artistic direction, design, ceramics— and you’ve said that you feel comfortable in all of these forms but that painting was the start of it all. How does painting make you feel, and how did you start to incorporate these other forms of art into your work?
Cóco: Yes! Painting was the start, and everything else began really naturally from there. I was trying out different things and just wanted to find something that could bring out the creativity I had inside of myself. Later on, I thought it would be great to be able to see my drawings on vases or other mixed media things.
With ceramics, there’s a balance between functionality and form. Do you think about this, or does one matter more to you than the other?
Coco: My pieces are not really functional. I make them as decorative pieces. One reason they’re not as functional is because they’re not glazed. I have always thought that the brightness of the enamel causes them to lose the essence that I’m trying to portray. It is true though that I also think a lot about making functional pieces, like tableware. I would love to do that.
Your pieces have a very recognizable style, of simplicity and naturalness. How did this style develop?
Coco: I think that it’s a bit of an expression of my personality. I like a simple life, simple things, and I think that that is what I try to reflect in everything that I make.
In addition to their form, your pieces use color very effectively. You use simple colors but in a way that results in a strong contrast between foreground and background. Can you elaborate a little on color? What do different colors mean to you, and how do you decide what color to use?
Cóco: To tell you the truth, I’ve always had an obsession with the combination of blue, green, and terracotta. I don’t know how to explain it, but it spreads into my day-today: how I dress, what colors I choose when I buy something. It’s something that I don’t know how to explain, but these three colors mark my life in general.
You’ve said that you rely more on intuition, on in the moment feelings. However, in the past, you focused much more on perfection. What caused this change of mindset, or in some ways, this liberation?
Cóco: I think that it has to do with the education I received. Drawing and painting were very realistic. That’s what I had learned, so I was never content with the results of my work because I could never get them to be perfect enough. This made me feel bad.
When I decided to let myself flow and make what appealed to me at that moment is when I began to enjoy art and the positive feelings that it brings. It truly was a big liberation.
You create worlds in your photos. The piece becomes a part of a scene, and the photographic documentation becomes a work in itself. What is the motivation behind creating these scenes and this form of documentation?
Cóco: Since the start, I’ve enjoyed thinking about what would be around my pieces, how they can help decorate a concrete environment. I never think about the pieces on their own; I’m always imagining an environment, a place, or scene.
Many times in your photos, there is a relationship, or maybe a parallel, between the human form and the form of your piece. What are you aiming to express in these photos?
Cóco: I love the human body, both feminine and masculine. It’s something that really inspires me to create my pieces. I suppose that I enjoy expressing the beauty of the body and how it blends or interplays with my pieces.
We’ve been in quarantine for a few months now. Has it had an effect on your creative process?
Cóco: Yes, totally! I am very pleased with this pause that life has given us. I needed it, both personally and professionally, because I have worked full-time as a designer for many years and Cóco Fernández is my hobby. For me, it has been great to have time to create without pressure. I have to find ways to take photos and create works with what I have at home.
I hope that this time has served as a way to think about many things we’re not doing well as humanity. For me, it has been very eye opening.
You’re selling some of your pieces right now. Is there anything you want to share about them?
Cóco: I hope to be able to continue sharing and making what I really love. I think that when you’re comfortable and doing what you like, people take notice, which is phenomenal!