Alice Quaresma is a Brazilian born artist and photographer who currently resides in New York City. She makes playful artworks, some of which were awarded the Foam Talent Prize in Amsterdam in 2014. Her artwork begins with a  photo print with no details, then adding colors, materials and shapes to create a final result. She is constantly experimenting with new ideas, never shying away from working hard or pursuing new paths. 

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

What is the conceptual content of your artwork?

Alice Quaresma: My artwork is about bringing sensorial qualities to photography, by emphasizing the idea that the photograph doesn’t end with a print. Print is just one part of the process. My work is about observing how unexpected reactions of the materials I add to the photograph (paint, pencil, marker, tape) bring an element of surprise and elevate the quality of abstraction, inviting the viewer to be part of the work, and stimulating their imagination. I want to make art that is approachable, and that creates levels of interactions. All the images I use on my work were taken by me. These images are taken with my first instinct from places I visit and live. I try to get images that lack details, so I can bring the imagination element to the surface. I am interested in the process of making, so I continue to look for new ways of using photography in my process.

 What word would you use to describe your work?

Alice Quaresma: Playful.

What piece of your artwork do you most identify with or defines you as an artist?

Alice Quaresma: Anything that is in my studio or that I am working on at the moment, and the pieces that are closest to my present time. I am not attached to my work, I love what I do, and I want to keep doing my works for many years, so I need to let them go in order to produce more ideas. At the moment, I’m creating outdoor murals, which have been a fantastic experience and discovery for me. Getting my viewer closer to my work is fascinating.

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

What would you like to achieve/ make people feel when they view your artwork?

Alice Quaresma: My goal is to continue to investigate the limits of the photographic medium and expand the photograph beyond the photo paper, in order to create installation and imagination stimulation, making the viewer feel part of the work.

What inspires/influences you in your artwork?

Alice Quaresma: I’m inspired by people’s stories and my own experience as an immigrant. My life experience as an immigrant is a big part of my work. I try to bring the instability and inconsistency of the immigrant status in a positive way, showing the freedom you gain once you don’t belong to one place, the way we rebuild our identity and are constantly rediscovering ourselves. I love improvisation and dealing with the unknown.

How do these inspirations translate into your work?

Alice Quaresma: I photograph every place I visit with first instinct, prioritizing my emotional reaction. This way my photos lack detail and gain ambiguity, creating fragmented stories that allow space for the color marks that I bring over the photographs, inviting the viewer to open their imagination gates.

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

You were photography professor for several years. What led you to teach art, other than just making it?

Alice Quaresma: My passion for communicating and sharing. I love to encourage people, and as a professor I had the chance to allow my students to bring their points of view and create space for ideas to be exchanged during class. It is so important to allow students to believe in their visions. There is one thing that I always emphasize to all my students: hard work. Dream as high as you want, believe in yourself, but always work hard, focus and be yourself.

 What is the career achievement that makes you most proud?

Alice Quaresma: When I was nominated as the winner of Foam Talent Prize in 2014. Foam is one of the biggest prizes for emerging photo-based artist in the world, given by the museum of photography in Amsterdam.

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

Do you believe art can be an inspiration in the retail industry and environments?

Alice Quaresma: Yes! Art allows any industry to think outside of the box. Art is done by people (artists) that don’t think in a linear way, which brings more chances for innovation and surprises. Good art questions don’t give answers, but make us think. Art can stimulate new ways of thinking, in any industry where you need to think about new strategies. Art is a great source of stimulation, and shows what is ahead of us. Artists are bold and great artists are fearless.

Being an artist, what is your personal outlook on life?

Alice Quaresma: My personal outlook on life is to think micro to make macro impacts: encourage people to be themselves. To allow yourself to figure out who you are and understand that we are always changing and transforming ourselves. To stay true to yourself, to make things that make you smile and happy, to find a job that sparks curiosity and passion, to innovate and never be afraid of growth. I truly believe that these are the only ways for you to be able to find energy and purpose to deal with everything else in life that we can’t control or decide. Don’t fall into any society demand, do what is right for you and everything else will fall into place.

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

Besides making artworks, what are your other passions?

Alice Quaresma: Inspiring younger generations, I will always dedicate my time to sharing my knowledge with people, and the way I see the world based on my life experience.

I also love sports, especially running. Running makes me aware of my physical limits and I love the challenge and commitment. It allows for meditation.

The ocean is also a huge part of my life. I grew up by the ocean and for me it is synonymous of hope, discoveries, nature, life and beauty. The waves’ cycle is so compelling to me, the repetition of the motion captivates me and makes me think of how we can recycle ourselves over time, the waves give and take as they move.

Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

As a well-known artist, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career as an artist?

Alice Quaresma: If you are young and you are just starting, you need time. So allow yourself time: live your life, do what you love, don’t be afraid, work hard, have a second job, extend help to people around you. You will benefit from any advice and work experience you get. Remember, working in a group is always better. Share ideas and produce lots of work, don’t let your ideas die on the concept, execute them. All you need is focus and persistency.


New York

New York, NY, USA