Angelica Guerrero – Producing Numbers

3 minute read
Angelica Guerrero – “4M” – This piece is made from 4 million pixels


Who are you, what do you do, why do you do it?

I am a Mexican artist and graphic designer. I have been painting since my childhood, but professionally I have been doing it since my Masters in Arts a few years back. Currently I live in Leeds and work in Leeds Art Gallery as a volunteer; likewise, I do art and graphic design commissions. Why do I do It? In my opinion, art and design is the only job that feels not like work at all (unless I have a strict deadline), I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

Please describe your submitted piece, the process, aims etc.

The number of Syrians who have fled abroad since the outbreak ofcivil war in their country has risen to more than 4 million, the largest number from any crisis in almost 25 years, the United Nations” (ALJAZEERA, 2015).

How can 4 million people be represented visually? For this project, I wanted to represent each Syrian refugee, because every single life has equal relevance, and as a whole, they live a complex situation where human wellbeing must be guaranteed.

As a graphic designer, I tend to think in visuals, shapes and colours, even pixels. Always making sure that the dimensions and resolution of the image have the desired quality for a print. Adobe Photoshop is a tool to change the dimensions or the exact amount of pixels from an image. In this case, I adapted a picture of the visual spectrum in order to have exactly 4,000,000 pixels, measuring the image to 2000 by 2000 pixels, at 125 dots per inch in a print of 16 by 16 inches. Each pixel has a different hue or value representing the individuality of each refugee, and as a whole, we can see an image full of colour, representing the hope for a better life.

The aim of this project is to make a piece of visual art with an accompanying text, that explored and explain the individual’s relationship with numbers in social and cultural issues. I searched for different issues, and the social crisis in Syria called my attention. I have been living in different countries and I know that moving is difficult, even if is for pleasure. So I cannot imagine how terrible it should be to move from your home because of a war, leaving everything you know and love behind. I was thinking in the number 4 million all along the creative process, and pixels were the way to achieve such a big number in a small piece.

What’s your personal relationship with numbers?

I believe that I am a bit obsessive sometimes counting nonsense. For example, I am a marathoner and when I am running circuits in a park, sometimes I count my steps during each circuit and compare the numbers of steps I did. It sounds like nonsense, but it helps me to be concentrated and not thinking of how tired I am, or how many more kilometers I still have to run.

How do numbers and creativity interact?

As I mentioned above, I can be obsessive with counting, as a result of this, some of my artwork has repetitive patterns, like geometric compositions, or repetitive elements in collages or paintings, and of course, during the process, I keep track of the numbers.

What can numbers teach us about existing, how can they help us to become more conscious?

Numbers can help to increase the awareness of any cultural or social issue, it is harder to develop any sensibility if you don’t know how big problem is. Numbers provide important insights into how dangerous or risky a situation can be. For example, in this piece, I wanted to individually represent the Syrian people by highlighting that around 4 million of them, have been displaced trying to save their lives.

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