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FROM ART HISTORY, TO ART IN ACTION CAMILA NAVAS IS ACTING ON HER CREATIVE INSTINCT

So where are you from? What brought you into the art curation and product space you're in?

I was born and raised in San Francisco. And I was exposed to museums at a very young age. I grew up frequenting museums in Europe and the US. I moved to Los Angeles for college and started broadening my horizons with internships in film, museum curation and production. When I transferred to school in New York to finish my bachelor’s degree, I was very drawn to the gallery lifestyle. I spent most of my last years in college at museums. I was exposed to painting and sculpting by some really great professors here in NYC. So, after graduating, the tide took me that way. I fell in love with the undercover design community that is interconnected worldwide. And I started nlumec to become a part of the conversation and to bring light to people during a really dark time. One thing led to another, and I realized that people really loved my taste in art and design as well as interior decor.


How does your heritage play a part in your design aesthetic?

I pull inspiration from Venezuela and Spain and artists like Carlos Cruz-Diez (whose work focuses on the kinetic energy of color) and Alejandro Otero (who was a pioneering painter of geometric abstraction, a sculptor and also a writer). But I am also drawn to the great masters like Goya, Velazquez, Dalí, Gaudí and Miró.


What is nlumec? For the people that are late to the party…

nlumec is a line of objects for contemplation my partner and I have designed together. We have created 3D geometric candles

that serve as an anti-form gesture and attack on minimalist aesthetics. This past year was dark. Through my candles, I found a way to give light back.


Why the name nlumec?

The name “nlumec” is sort of a play on the word “lumens,” which is in reference to how light is measured. The name starts with the first letter of my last name and ends with the first letter of my partner’s last name. But the “n” at the beginning is silent.


Where do you want to go with this product adventure?

I would truly love to go anywhere that this takes me. I am trying to be open to anything that comes my way. A dream of mine would be to have nlumec available for view and purchase in MOMA design stores along with other museum favorites of mine. I would like to supply high-end restaurants, luxury resorts and clubs. But I also really want to make our candles available to anyone who is looking to elevate their space. My adventure doesn’t end here; my goal is to continue creating different art objects using traditional methods and technology to bring what might seem impossible to life.


As an artist, interior designer and businesswoman how do you balance it all and prioritize all of them? Is there one that gets more of your focus?

I always start with my internal creative process and everything emanates from there. My days are full, but when an idea comes, I stop everything to concentrate on it. There ends up being a natural balance to my days that I can’t explain. It just works for me. I am the kind of person that needs variety and the freedom to do what brings me joy.


Any dreams for Nlumec you can let us in on?

I am very excited to announce that we are collaborating with Wooj Design (@wooj.design) this coming fall on a new candle. They have a very cool team. We both run our businesses out of Brooklyn and have been admiring each other's work from afar. Recently, we got together to collaborate! Our companies fall under similar niches as we both utilize 3D-printing technology.


What artists have been your biggest inspiration? How did you get introduced to the painting world?

Female artists like Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehritu, Carrie Mae Weems and Marina Abramovic have always been favorites of mine. I look up to talented women like them every day. Janine Antoni and Rachel Whiteread are two sculptors whose work also blows me away every time I read about it.


Out of all of your pieces you have published, what would you say is your favorite painting?

The first painting I ever sold was also the first large-scale work I ever made in college. I was in deep, studying all of the classical masters as well as modern contemporary creators.


Could you give some tips to young artists who are also trying to start their own business?

Keep experimenting and creating. The more energy and love you put into a piece the more it shows. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and trust your vision.


Do you feel like you are working hard or could you be going harder?

What I do doesn’t feel like work. So enjoying what I do and doing more of it just comes naturally. If I feel that I need a break, I usually log off for a bit and get out in nature.


What does the phrase foolish ambition mean to you?

It means going after your heart’s desires! It means community. Being young, driven and free.



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