This Artist’s Dream of Acapulco is the Holiday You’ve Been Waiting for

Put on your sunglasses and lean back: Paloma Rincon’s latest project, Acapulco, sends out relaxing holiday vibes from the artist’s home country, Mexico. Having spent many of her childhood holiday seasons in the Pacific seaside hub, the Madrid-based photographer incorporated a host of personal references drawn from her fond memories, thus creating a colourful atmosphere of summer vacation.


From tropical plants and exotic animals to delicious fruit and colourful parasols – each image sparks warm thoughts of beach dreams and tasty sundown cocktails. Like Frozen Flowers and Sweet Style, Acapulco is another of Paloma’s trademark projects in which she proves her ability to put together various elements and play with light in order to create a strong, unified visual message.

We sat under the sunshade with Paloma to talk about Acapulco, how she works and what her advice for upcoming artist is.

THE PLUS: How was it, reminiscing in your childhood experiences for Acapulco?
Paloma Rincon:
It was a very fun project that made me remember many different experiences and images I had on my mind about my holidays as a child. Acapulco was the place I spent most of my Christmas vacations back in Mexico. It reminds me of some of the most special moments in my life. It was a lot of fun and this series is a tribute to those years.


TP: Is there anything specifically local or Acapulco in this project?
For this project I worked more on my idea and memories of Acapulco than the real place itself. It is full of references to the experiences I had while spending so many holidays there. On one hand I used tropical fruit, vegetation, flowers, and animals. On the other, swimming pools represent the endless hours I spent in the water and at the beach there. There’s also a boat and palm trees that link to the coast. The sea is shown in a more graphic style and the gradient drapes stand for the skies.

TP: Are there any special references to certain childhood memories in Acapulco?
Yes, there are many. They mainly come from the late 80’s graphics I remember being used in t-shirt design, logotypes, symbols and decorations. For example, the waterpark I used to visit had this super 80’s style decoration with hand painted dolphins on the walls. There was an amusement park called Papagayo that had a parrot as a symbol and its entrance was full of tropical plants. Also, when driving from Mexico City to Acapulco, you could see people selling papayas on the road. Cut in half, they looked so red and fresh. We once stopped to buy one and we found out that it had been painted to look tastier.


TP: How did the idea of golden animal sculptures arise?
I wanted the animals to be present but still be generic, representing the entirety of parrots, toucans and tropical birds. Having them as golden sculptures made it more abstract.

TP: Tell us about your working process: How do you put yourself in the right mood, what is the environment you go work in like?
My workflow was different for this project. I shot it in direct sunlight. As this is very difficult to control, I had to be more flexible with time. It was just few hours a day I could shoot, the rest of the time I worked on the sets and ideas. I had a starting point and two or three sets developed before starting to shoot, the rest was developed in between images. This and the fact I wasn’t working for a client gave me the opportunity to adjust ideas as I moved forward. I would like to point out that I didn’t work with a big team.


TP: Your style is very happy and energetic. It sends out holiday vibes. What do you think about darker art or scenarios?
I love hard light and this optimistic look and feel you are referring to. It could be because I like sun, tropic, seaside and holiday vibes in general. Nonetheless, I also like darker scenarios, on some occasions I even developed images that are not bright and colourful. I admire and enjoy art from many artists making things completely different to what I do, I think it’s very enriching.

TP: What do you prefer: sipping on a coconut or enjoying a tasty sundowner cocktail?
It depends on the time in the day! I would have the coconut in the morning and the cocktail anytime from lunch until I go to sleep.


TP: You are from Mexico but you are based in Madrid, Spain. How do these two Spanish-speaking countries differ from your point of view, especially related to the creative industry?
I lived all my professional life in Spain, so I know the industry here better. But judging from projects in the Mexican market I’ve been contacted for, I would say the clients in the Mexican industry probably are a little bit more classic and refrain from taking many risks regarding creative, more innovative proposals.

TP: Do you like decorating your home in a similar style as your art?
You can find some of the objects I use in my images as decoration, but overall my home has a more muted colour palette. It does feature colour and I have a few of my artworks around, but what I have selected to hang on my walls rather puts you in a calm mood.

TP: Tips you’d like to share with people who want to work on digital artwork?
My work is digital, captured with a medium format camera and digital back and then retouched, but my process is completely analogue. All elements you see exist in the physical world and were composed in real life. Digital or analogue, it has to have a quality both in content and execution. Work on the ideas and develop them, sketch to bring them closer to reality, and find the best way to turn them into an image.

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