Maru Aponte, Artist – Vancouver

Maru working in Rincon, PR

Maru Aponte is a Puerto Rican artist working in Vancouver, where she bridges diverse landscapes to evoke a profound sense of place. Intense colour emerges as a pivotal element in her watercolour paintings. This saturation reflects the intrinsic qualities of the medium as well as the vibrant palette of Puerto Rico. Aponte recently graduated with an MFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. In 2023, she had a solo exhibition at Souvenir 154 in San Juan and was granted the Griffin x ECU Fellowship Studio Award at Griffin Arts Projects in North Vancouver. In the summer of 2024, she will present a solo exhibition at Galería Agustina Ferreyra in Mexico City and will be attending Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her solo exhibition Salt Stains is on display at Pale Fire in Vancouver until May 4.

  1. Tommy Bahama chairs

I start all my watercolor paintings outdoors while seated on a Tommy Bahama chair amidst the landscape. For me the beach chair plays a big influence on what I paint, how I paint, and where I paint. I am obsessed with its functionality and design. I love that it even has a cooler and becomes a backpack. In Puerto Rico everyone owns their own chair, and everyone carries it with them in their car as portable furniture. The Tommy Bahama chair, with its ubiquitous presence, is part of a contemporary still life representing the multifaceted dimensions of Puerto Rican identity.

  1. No light, just pure colours

Maru Aponte, Silver Sun, 2024, watercolour on paper

After sunset, I get at least forty-five minutes to just look at the sky and paint colour. Always in a rush, every second is a boost of adrenaline. I have become hyper-aware of this time of the day, to the point of timing each event. I am amazed by how, when there is no sun, the sky becomes an infinite palette.

  1. Beach tennis

Drawing on a beach tennis ball made by Andres López Rivas

I grew up outside, playing many sports, but I was only recently introduced to beach tennis. It’s a combo of volleyball with tennis, but at the beach. It’s the new trendy sport in Puerto Rico, and I am hooked on it. I am fascinated that every piece of equipment in the game has to be a saturated colour to keep you focused. In a way, colour in movement is a significant part of the sport. Follow the ball, fall for the ball.

  1. Confetti season

Ever since I moved to Vancouver, spring has become my favorite season. Growing up in Puerto Rico, the flowers bloom all year long. Now I appreciate every flower that blooms because the phenomenon is so brief. I used to only look up when I walk, but nowadays, when the streets are pink, I love looking down. I call it confetti season because it reminds me of…

  1. Infinity pools

Maru Aponte, Infinity Pool, 2023, watercolor on canvas

I understand watercolour as being similar to the architectural features of an infinity pool. An infinity pool has no apparent borders, making you think that there is no separation between the water and surrounding landscape features. Its water appears to flow endlessly. I see this phenomenon as like my watercolour paintings. It is a medium that is never finished, at least in my eyes. In my painting practice I have been in endless and ongoing contact with water, as an activator of the medium, as a motif, and in my daily routines both in Vancouver and Puerto Rico. Painting water with water is my little inside joke.