Vanessa Quirós: ‘In art and in life, you must have faith’

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“In art and in life, you must have faith” in order to succeed. This phrase best describes the career of Vanessa Quirós, an artist from Liberia whose works can be seen at the Four Seasons and other local hotels.

Quirós, 28, specializes in sgraffito, a printmaking technique on fibran, a material similar to plywood. She was born in Liberia, and has lived in the community of Islita, in the canton of Nandayure, since she was 5. There she developed a natural talent for creating works of art.

Vanessa also is a graduate of the National University, where she studied sustainable tourism and business development.



The Voice of Guanacaste recently spoke with Quirós about her life and work. Excerpts follow:

How long have you been painting, and why did you choose sgraffito as a specialty?

I started when I was in school.I never formally studied art, but it comes to me naturally. I learned the technique of sgraffito from a teacher, Loida Prétiz. It consists of molding, sanding and engraving on a material called fibran, which is similar to wood. The idea is that each line separates the colors, and that gives it a 3D effect. One day I had the idea to do a close-up of a butterfly wing. My teacher said it looked like an abstract, so from then on I specialized in close-ups.

What are some of the honors  your work has achieved?

One of my paintings was in the Culture Ministry’s “Hagamos Yunta” competition in 2015. I did a close-up of an oxcart that represented the tradition of ox herding. That painting was selected among the finalists and was exhibited in the Museum of Cultural Patrimony’s gallery. I’ve also sold many paintings that are hung in some of the rooms at hotels like the Four Seasons and Punta Islita.

Can you make a living from art, or do you have to supplement  it with other work?

You can’t get by on art alone, you have to supplement that  with something else. For now, my husband and I are opening a restaurant called Boquería Don Ramiro here in Islita, where we want to promote art, tradition and life. I painted the restaurant, and there is a gallery inside where I exhibit my work. I don’t agree with the saying that a prophet is without honor in his or her own land. That’s a lie – if you’re good elsewhere, you’re good here. What you need to do is believe. In art and life, you must have faith.

What artist’s dream have you yet to fulfill?

I dream about studying fine arts at the University of Costa Rica. In the meantime, I take advantage of all the opportunities to travel, paint and learn, such as in Paris, where the best museums in the world are found. I would love to become an example of a renowned national artist. I feel like those drawings are a little piece of me, and my art will continue to grow along with me.