Flor Balestra: the illustrator who gives magic to life
by María Cabeza
“Life is a feast to which I have been invited to participate and I am very grateful” – Flor Balestra
Are you an illustrator cartoonist, painter, how do you define yourself? – I like ILLUSTRATOR or DRAFTSMAN although I do graphic humor, I paint, I make animations, comics, murals, I have published books with my stories and drawings and I also design objects.
Wow! – In any case, I would be a visual artist, but I don’t like the definition too much, so I feel very comfortable defining myself as a cartoonist and producer.
What is creativity? – It is probably the need to propose something different from the reality that surrounds us. It is a game, an exercise, a way of feeling that life can be different.
How did you start? – My parents sent me to workshops as a child because I spent the day drawing and didn’t play with anything else; less with dolls! I also read a lot; my family house was upholstered with libraries up to the ceiling. That helped me to have ideas and continues to accompany me today: reading, books.
What is life? – It is knowing how to exist doing what you like, being supportive to your neighbor and the environment and being happy, not with what you necessarily have, but with what you feel you have. Life is a feast to which I have been invited to participate and I am very grateful.
What makes you happy? – To be in silence. Think. The memories and gratefulness I feel when I recall the people who trusted in me at the beginning of my career.
At this point in my life, I love the simple, austerely comfortable life, going down to table 17 of the cafeteria on the sidewalk below my house – where I have been going for 20 years – and reading, drawing and watching life go by, still and attentive. What else? The healthy bonds, the nice chat with friends with my glass of good wine. The cute kisses, social conscience, citizen empowerment. Love, my loved ones, my lovers and being so in love. The rain, the cloudy days, the cold days in the sun. Autumn and Spring. Summer nights. Laughter.
I love the day to day, which are built with love and dedication; You have to take care of the past and project the future in small steps: it is my way of going through life.
You’re rather cheerful, right? – Absolutely. Positive, tenacious, persistent.
How do you see the world today? – The world fell apart with this pandemic added to everything that is coming in the near future with climate change, global warming, the destruction of biodiversity, the pollution of the oceans, the extinction of species, so I think of it as a platform, a springboard from which to re-signify everything and rebuild ourselves individually and collectively.
You are a writer too. And your drawings tell stories. What is the recurring message? – If there is one… I do not think of them as a message but rather they are stories, little stories, different ways of seeing reality. I like taking distance and working on the strangeness that this new look, this distance can produce.
Is there something spiritual as it is said or is it everything lost? – Yes, certainly- The magic, the love, the energy, the enthusiasm. And when everything is lost, it is the best time to start something new; when something ends, there is certainty a possibility of a fresh start.
María V Cabeza is an Argentinian writer- translator- publicist. She loves Writing and enjoys the Sea, the Arts, Animals and Freedom.