STUDIO AT 237 NE FORD STREET, MCMINNVILLE, OREGON - BORRASECARMEN@GMAIL.COM

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© 2023 By Carmen Borrasé. Proudly created with Wix.com

 About Me

I was born in San José Costa Rica on July 25th 1959, and my parents were José Borrasé Sanou, a well to do business man, descendant of Spanish emigrants from Barcelona, and María Elena Povedano Loría, the daughter of a Costa Rican lady and another Spanish emigrant, Tomás Povedano de Arcos (Lucena Córdoba 1857- San José Costa Rica 1943), a talented painter and founder of the First Academia de Bellas Artes en Cuenca Ecuador in 1891, and invited by the then president of Costa Rica Don Rafael Iglesias, to open and direct Costa Rica’s first Academia de Bellas Artes in the late 1897, which later became the Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Costa Rica, school that Povedano loved and directed pretty much until his death.

 

Even though my grandfather Tomás was long gone, I grew up with my siblings younger sister Giselle and older brother José Alberto, in a home filled with our grandfather memories and art, assisting to painting shows and openings, sitting close to my mother during visits and conversations about art, and admiring the arts in general.

 

They tell me that I showed a natural ability for art making from an early age, and I loved to draw and color every paper and notebook page in site, reason for which I got in some trouble during my Elementary School years, for being too distracted drawing mermaids and centaurs and all kinds of imagination catching beings.

 

My mother encouraged my art making to a point, by providing me with all the paper, color pencils and markers that I could go through, but I never received a formal art education aside from what little “art classes” were available at the Elementary School, probably because my mother knew that this one is a tough choice as a survival career, and even more so when the artist stays true to his or her art.

 

After I finished High School, I entered the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1977, but not the Escuela de Artes Plásticas yet, instead, I tried to please my father by entering the Business School, with the idea of running the family business in a near future, Fotolit S.A., a factory of offset- printed cardboard boxes, commercial posters and such, feat that I tried for a year. During that year I was able to see clearly, and decided that what I really wanted to do was to be a painter, and luckily for me, my father understood my position.

 

I did pretty well at my classes those years at the Art School, and I was soon offered a position as the Art Teacher for the Humboldt High School Art Department in San José, where I was in charge for all the High School levels for a couple of years.

 

In the meantime other professors at the University started asking me to cover for them in their classes for different reasons, and this way I ended up becoming a professor at the University after I graduated in 1981, teaching classes in Anatomy for Artists, Painting, Photography, Wood Block Printing, Design, Drawing, and other techniques at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San José and in the Sede de Occidente, a branch of the University in the rural city of San Ramón, from 1981 until 1988.

 

I started showing some of my art in group shows during my last years as a student, and participated in various art exhibits after I graduated in 1981 and until 1985, several of them with a group of artists called “Nueva Pintura de Costa Rica”. It was during this time that my name started to appear in the press and in the Art Critics’ writings.

 

I continued to produce a body of work that soon after developed a more personal style, and several fine art collectors started following and acquiring my paintings in a regular basis.

 

It wasn’t until 1986 that I dared to have my 1st Solo Exhibition, titled Realidades, at the Galería de Arte José Figueres in the art Gallery at the Banco Popular in San José, a very successful event in every possible way. After that solo show, I was invited to be part of several group exhibitions, including a couple in Monaco.

 

I was at a very good point in my painting and exhibiting career in Costa Rica, when I met and married a North American painter and art professor, Ronald Mills, and moved to McMinnville, Oregon, in 1987.

 

While in Oregon I continued to paint and to show my work both in Oregon and in Costa Rica in several group and solo exhibitions through the years. It was around that time that one of the best art galleries in San José at the time, Galería Kandinsky, owned by Alma Fernández, daughter of the famous painter Rafa Fernández, asked me to have my work represented there. I had three very successful painting shows there from 1990 to 1994, with more and more public and collectors purchasing and becoming interested in my work.

 

In the meantime, my sons Ruben and Joel were born respectively in 1990 and 1995.

 

I lived for 21 years going back and forth from Oregon to Costa Rica, thanks in great part to Ron’s active and successful grant applications and awards for his art and research activities, spending sometimes up to a year in Costa Rica, which gave me a good chance to hold on to my Costa Rican roots and connections, and for the kids a way of having a real Costa Rican identity as well. We also spent a good while in Cuernavaca and Oaxaca in Mexico at different times, where I showed my art as well.

 

In the year 2000, I put together and showed a 10 piece body of work called De Los Paquetes Que Jalamos (About the Baggage That We Carry) first at Linfield College in McMinnville, and then at Galería Valanti, another very fine Latin American and Costa Rican Art Gallery in San José, owned by doña Marta Antillón, which by then had become my main gallery representation in Costa Rica. For this exhibition I was awarded the Premio Nacional Aquileo J. Echeverría en Dibujo y Pintura in 2001, a very coveted and important prize to be given by the Ministerio de Cultura of Costa Rica to a plastic artist.

 

For the next few years I continued producing art and showing in the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica.

 

In 2007, my marriage ended and I moved back to Costa Rica with my two sons. For many reasons, there were not too many chances for me to paint in a sustained manner during the next few years.

 

In 2012, I moved back to McMinnville Oregon with my sons to start a new life episode in this small USA town so dear to our hearts. Ruben and Joel came to Oregon with the desire to continue studies at Linfield College and other venues, and I had the plan to "re-start" my life as a painter.

 

In the Spring of 2013, while finally looking for a place to set up my painting studio somewhere in 3rd Street McMinnville, I ended up venturing instead as a restaurant owner along side Chef Ricardo Antúnez, and opened on July 2013, a restaurant-art space in Downtown McMinnville, Pura Vida Cocina & Arte, a quaint Latin American style food eatery, that offers wonderfully crafted food and drinks thanks to Ricardo’s creative style of cooking. In the same 313 NE 3rd Street place, I also operated a small art gallery and gift store, that showed my paintings and giclée prints, other Costa Rican artists’ work, and offered a unique collection of fair trade Costa Rican products. During the spring of 2014 I sold my interest in the restaurant business to Ricardo. My paintings are still shown and sold there.

 

During the next few years I tended to travel quite a bit back and forth between Oregon and San José Costa Rica, due to wanting to spend time with my aging parents.

 

Finally in 2017 I rented another studio space in downtown McMinnville, with the idea of concentrating on my artwork again, where I have been working from.