Artist Voices: Q&A with Liliana Folta
Liliana Folta is a visual artist who lives and works in Fort Point, Boston. She was selected by Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) to create temporary public art for an outdoor space adjacent to the Made in Fort Point store, one of three temporary art projects funded this year by Fund for the Arts at NEFA. Her piece, Flower Blanket, the Farewell to Summer, was installed on October 2 and ran through November 17.
SC: What an interesting space for Flower Blanket – did the location inspire or influence you at all?
LILIANA: I am interested in unusual places in the city for interventions that can be activated with art. I prefer unexpected places like this large raised flower bed, where there is not too much foot traffic, but there is a lot of traffic from cars, and people can see the installation during day and night.
SC: Were there any other inspirations or influences for this piece?
LILIANA: This piece was a site-specific creation for the Made in Fort Point store. My inspiration for Flower Blanket is a nostalgic representation of the end of the summer season, my favorite time of the year. It evokes memories of bright robust gardens and sunny days in the park, where you can bring a blanket and food to spend a beautiful day. Boston has wonderful places to picnic.
SC: I love the vibrant colors - what are the materials you used and why did you choose them?
LILIANA: The materials I used are plastic bags, plastic tablecloths, straws, wire, poultry hex fence and LED lights. All the plastic bags and wire were recycled. Since this installation was inspired by summer, my first thought was to make colorful flowers that would also be visually attractive for the space. In order to have a colorful impact, I cut pieces of brightly colored plastic tablecloth and mixed them with the bags. I chose these materials because they are weather resistant.
SC: Speaking of the weather and its location outside - how did you ensure that Flower Blanket could withstand the elements?
LILIANA: The piece was secured on the fence with plastic cable ties. Flowers were attached with wire to a strong poultry hex fence; this material is not solid, which gave flexibility to the whole piece to withstand the strong wind in that specific area.
SC: Have you done any other projects like this?
LILIANA: Yes, similar with flowers made of recycled paper, but for indoor installations.
SC: Is there a message that you want people to take away from this piece?
LILIANA: Yes, besides being nostalgic about the end of summer season, this installation also serves to raise social awareness about recycling plastic waste and keeping it off the streets; especially now because the city is growing at such a fast pace and more people are coming to live or work in Fort Point. Sometimes I see plastic material adorning our street, like cups, bags and bottles.
SC: Mentioning Fort Point, how long have you had your studio here? What’s your favorite thing about this part of the city?
LILIANA: I have had my studio in Fort Point since 2009, where I live and work with my family. When I discovered Fort Point I was fascinated with the architecture and history; one of my favorite things is the idea of living in an industrial building and to be part of the oldest artist community in Boston.
SC: In what ways do you think temporary public art can enrich a community?
LILIANA: From my point of view, temporary public art can enrich the community in different ways; it can benefit the audience interacting with the installation, enhancing health and wellbeing, create awareness of an important social/political or environmental issue or beautify unexpected spaces for a short period of time. Art is education - and when artists are given this opportunity, it is a great benefit for all.
SC: How has receiving this grant affected you?
LILIANA: I am grateful for this opportunity and for the support I have received from Fund for the Arts at NEFA and Fort Point Artists Community. Receiving this grant gave me the chance to engage and connect with a new audience. Being able to expand my practice, use new medium and create freely with financial support, is an effective way of ensuring artistic ideas will live on, many of which are lost or never shared with the public because of a lack of funding. I have received positive feedback from the general public and the whole experience has been very rewarding.
Liliana’s Flower Blanket was located outside the Made in Fort Point store, on the backside of 315 A Street, along the Haul Road.