Interview with Camila Carlow, artist and founder of Eye Heart Spleen, by Daniel Bone, Editorial Assistant for EMJ.
The novel creative graphics for our eJournal front pages have stemmed from a desire to make our covers more imaginative and interesting. You will have noticed that the cover of European Medical Journal Urology is a far cry from the monument-themed covers of the 2014 eJournals; the producer of this new artwork is Ms Camila Carlow, founder of the ‘Eye Heart Spleen’ project. The artwork consists of models of human organs made from flowers and fruits, and every article-only eJournal this year will include a cover displaying a different organ. Miss Zoë Webster, Head of Publishing at EMJ, described the art as “a happy marriage between education and the aesthetically pleasing… a mixture of sculpture and photography”, hinting at future collaborations with similar artists.
Camila Carlow is the inspiration behind ‘Eye Heart Spleen’, which provides a beautiful new perspective to how we see our bodies and the vital organs that keep us alive. “What I realised from a lot of the feedback I got was how enchanted people were by seeing organs in a different light and not in an anatomical textbook or at the doctor’s when it was a scary experience; just celebrating them in a lighter experience for them.”
Her interest in this form of image making began when she first made a heart shape from twigs, gathered from plants growing between cracks in streets. “On noticing them I took an interest in them, just that there was a whole other world thriving without anybody really giving it a second thought, and so then when I made the heart shape I had the idea to do an actual anatomical heart shape,” said Camila. After developing a prototype, Camila established a connection between urban foliage and human organs, and felt that she could make more people interested in the mechanisms of the body and increase awareness of organs. The experiment worked, with many viewers citing their fascination for this alternative view of organs.
An image maker since her early days in art, during which she worked with paint and animation, Camila found she was more than capable of producing high quality works of sculpture and photography as she progressed through ‘Eye Heart Spleen’. Living in Bristol has had a profound effect on her art, the close proximity of the countryside later allowing her to easily cross the border between nature and urbanity. “I did grow up in Latin America as well, surrounded by lots of nature; Guatemala City, which is where I’m from, is kind of nestled in a valley of volcanoes. So I think nature has always informed my art,” Camila added.
Camila has already had her taste of the artistic limelight; the award-winning 2007 exhibit ‘Danse Macabre’, co-produced by Camila while a student at Goldsmiths, University of London, was screened at a variety of festivals, including Glastonbury. Camila said that she greatly enjoys projects such as this because they involve elements that are out of her control. “For that particular piece I was doing collages and papier-mâché, and I realised that was a lot more gratifying than an illustration where I was completely responsible for everything that was in the image. So I think it was the same experience with ‘Eye Heart Spleen’, I was working with matter that was out of my hands to an extent,” she said.
Receiving a boost when artworks from ‘Eye Heart Spleen’ were adopted permanently by Southmead Hospital in Bristol, Camila cited her mother, a doctor, as a strong influence in her career path. Her understanding of human biology blossomed throughout, her enthusiasm flowing into these creations while developing a “healthy understanding and respect for the body”. When asked if she would utilise this plant biology theme in future projects, Camila hinted at a potential change in tack, although she remains open to continuing along this path. “I got so much more out of this project than I ever expected, so in a way it makes sense to carry on in the same line,” she said.
‘Eye Heart Spleen’ comprises art made from a combination of flowers and fruits. Camila, whose flower of choice is the peony, expressed a desire to one day make art from flowers alone. Having turned heads with a project so close to her heart, we can only encourage her to continue to exercise her considerable talents and wish her the best of luck with all her artistic goals and future endeavours.
If you enjoy and would like to buy this art, please click on the link https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EyeHeartSpleen. We are offering a discount to EMJ readers, please use discount code ‘EMJ10’ at checkout. For more information please visit: www.eyeheartspleen.com; canimate.wordpress.com; https://facebook.com/EyeHeartSpleen