Renate Morales is a force in the Canadian and global art world. Her work spans mediums, countries, and classification. Morales was born in Mexico City and arrived in Canada many years ago when her family immigrated to the Laurentides. She now shares her time – both living and working – between Montreal and Mexico City.
By Aaron Cunningham
Montreal is a melting pot of cultures that constantly inspire me,” Morales shares what it’s like to live as an artist here. “It has very cool movements, like what the guys from Moonshine are doing. Plus, some of my best friends live here, and they are all talented artists that nurture my creativity as well.”
Anyone new to Morales’ work will quickly become aware that she is prolific in many different creative mediums. She began her career as a painter, showing her work at age 18 in Mexico City, Montreal, and Toronto. She then decided “fashion would be a wiser outlet” for her vision. Driven by a love of music and a realization she would never herself become a musician, she used fashion as a “modus-vivendi and also an eventual door to collaborate on more things with interesting musicians.”
It has almost become a right of passage for Montreal’s emerging indie and synthpop artists to be costumed by Morales. She has designed outfits and costumes for Grimes, Allie X, Yelle, and Arcade Fire. She has also worked with directors Denis Villeneuve, Pedro Pires, Anton Corbijn, Vincent Morisset, and Spike Jonze.
More recently, she has moved towards sculpture, embracing her love of ceramic and combining it with other materials. “Everything is starting to melt together. They all have become tools instead of an obstruction. I started adding metal, glass, and textile to my ceramic compositions; I personally find it all so interesting. I’ve been learning so much from other experienced artisans who have supported me through my practice, and learning from their medium has also influenced my drawing and painting work,” Morales remarked how the various mediums she works with shape the way in which she creates.