Charlene Eckels

Wilmington NC, USA

Mediums: Oil and Acrylic

Style: Contemporary Bolivian American artist

Favorite Quote: "Artists aren't really people. I'm actually 40 per cent papier mache.” - Morrissey

Favorite Book: "Le Petit Prince"- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Favorite Movie: "Vivre Sa Vie"- Jean-Luc Godard

I am directly influenced by my cultural heritage. am part bolivian(maternal) and part american(paternal). Both connect me specifically with my past and present, therefore I bring to my art a quality which is rooted in the culture of Bolivia and expanded by the experience of being American. Bringing together folklore and historical memory I try and illustrate the complexities of cultural identity, and acknowledge my personal experience of being a hybrid.

What fascinates me about indigenous culture is the mysteries of the past. I believe there is a lot more to history and our past that we will ever come close to understanding. Indigenous cultures lived in a way that was more harmonious with nature and closer to a humans true essence as living spiritual beings. My heritage influences my art because it is something that is in my veins. Even if I am not consciously thinking about it, certain elements such as color and markings are directly influenced by my heritage.

Please tell us about your first experience creating.

When I was four, I spent a lot of time alone drawing in my room. My mother is from Riberalta, Bolivia (known as the capital of the Amazon in Bolivia) so the decor in my room was rainforest themed. I remember copying the tropical birds I found on my wall.

What music do you like to have playing while creating art? 

Im a big 80's music fan.

What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?

Bolivia to me has always been poetically sad. I aim at promoting a Bolivian agenda that includes a social and cultural heritage through art. By demonstrating the themes and stories of the Bolivians I hope to create a dialogue and give some insight into this latin american culture. Being Bolivian/American I find it an important part of my history to showcase Bolivian culture. My contribution to the art world is being a Bolivian/American artist, which I am one of few.

Tell us about your creative process 

Usually I find something that intrigues me about Bolivia. Every mask comes with a story, some stories are uninterpretable, because they are thousands of years old. The mystery and vibrant atmosphere dictates my drawing and painting.

What things inspire you to create art?

The history and themes of my own heritage inspire me to research and create art based on what I hear and see.


-2008 Group Exhibition in La Paz, Bolivia SA
-2012 Group Art  Exhibition, New York, USA  Empire Hotel Rooftop
-2012 Group Exhibition, New York USA, Fashion week : Madre: Hope for Glamour : Art and Activism for  Woman's Human rights
-2013 Group Art show, Acme Studio Wilmington, NC
-2013 Burren College of Art, Ireland
-2013 Group Exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery UNCW

Have you sold any of your artworks?

Yes through group shows.

How do you promote your art on the internet?

Mainly through blogs and websites.

Tell us about influences

Raul Lara Torres was a Bolivian artist, obsessed with Van Gogh, whose themes and color palette inspire me.

Tell us something interesting in your life  

In 2008, I survived a plane crash in the Amazon.

What plans do you have for the future of your art?

I plan on moving back to Bolivia.

Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?

Motivation is extremely important.

Charlene Eckels

Wilmington NC, USA

Website: Charlene Eckels | Cargo Collective

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