We meet Laura Carbajo in her sunlit apartment in the quiet coastal neighbourhood of Sol de Mallorca. Her bold orange dress echoes the vibrant paintings which cover every inch of the wall. While some of the images are identifiable – a pair of swans, a yacht, a cityscape – others are a riot of colour open to interpretation. “I paint my emotions,” she tells us, “I paint what arises from my soul.” Like her acrylic paintings, there are many layers to Laura.
She starts at the beginning. Miramar, Argentina. Her mother taught handicrafts and cookery courses, nurturing the creativity of all those around her. We imagine Laura’s family home full of beads and buttons, pigments and pencils. “I painted my first picture at 5 years old,” she says, recalling its gold outline and cascading grapes.
Seeking a creative life
When she grew up she was determined to make her own money doing something she loved. She set up a business from scratch, designing and creating household decorations for Argentina and beyond. We ask her where her confidence came from. “It’s mine,” she says, with a smile, “It’s innate.” Although what would eventually bring her happiness was life as a painter rather than as a successful business woman, Laura considers that no experience is wasted. “A painting is creation; it’s many things we carry within us; but it’s also the outpouring of all our experience and soul.”
Painting has always been an important creative outlet for Laura. Her work transmits the sense of freedom she feels when she is faced with a blank canvas. She doesn’t plan what she paints. Her process is organic and open to change. She is often surprised by the outcome. “When I paint, I feel a deep connection with the universe. It’s like slipping into another dimension where time stops still.”
The inspiring island
She left Argentina over 10 years ago and travelled the world before settling in Mallorca. “For me, this island is magic,” she says, “I think it is for a lot of artists.” The peace, the landscape and above all, the sea, nourish her on a daily basis. “I couldn’t live in a place without sea,” she says. She feels fortunate to live so close to the secluded bay of Bella Dona. When strict lockdown eased at last, it was the place she chose for her hour of freedom.
The island’s landscape is a source of inspiration yet she rarely paints outside. “I would get too distracted,” she laughs. She prefers to sit on a rock and look out at the horizon, filling her creative well with the colours and sounds of the ocean. “One day I’ll have a studio with a seaview,” she says. “It’s not a dream, it’s a projection.”
A productive lockdown
What do you do when you have all the time in the world and you can’t leave the house? For Laura, lockdown was a period of total focus on her art. She points to several paintings she created during confinement. Each one is a unique expression of the emotion she felt in that moment. Her palette is varied and her subjects are diverse, yet they are all unmistakably the work of Laura Carbajo. And with five prestigious awards received in the last year alone, it is certainly a name worth remembering.
Photos by Sara Savage