Location: United States
Claudia Hernandez Brito is a Cuban American collage artist based in Philadelphia. This past year, her brother helped her realize that she lacks a “mind’s eye”, due to her inability to create art from her imagination and visualize general ideas. Collage media has given her the ability to create unique compositions by manipulating her physical environment and working with images she can touch and feel. This inspired her artist name “AFANTI”, to symbolize Claudia’s willingness to be artistic despite living within the spectrum of aphantasia. She draws her inspiration from the strong network of women in her life, especially women of color. Her collages represent and incorporate their beauty and strength through a blend of contemporary, natural, and urban motifs.
Claudia’s process begins by scouting fashion magazines and anything that she can get her hands on, looking for images that move her, whether it be by color or the beauty of the subject. She takes several hours to cut each individual face, hand, landscape, car, human, animal, and separate them into themes. Claudia then sits down in front of a green cutting mat, opens a blank sheet of 8x11 canvas paper, and begins sorting through thousands of images. At this point, Claudia does not know what the finished product is yet, but she enters a trance and gradually overlaps each cut-out, testing their contrast and compatibilities, until an organic composition is made. To enhance the complexity of her collages, Claudia experiments with gilding, facial symmetry, and texture combinations.
Since Claudia believed she lacked an imaginative talent, she never pursued an artistic discipline in high school or college, and instead majored in chemistry. Her mind works through the conceptualization (not visualization) of things, making chemistry a practical way for her to exercise her artistic abilities on a benchtop instead of a canvas. Last September, she began watching Pinterest videos that inspired her to cut magazines and create surreal compositions. With the support of her family and friends, Claudia learned to tap her most creative side at night while maintaining her career as a chemist.
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