Artist Andrea Terceros Finds the Positive During a Pandemic

Tokyo-based painter and architect Andrea Terceros on art, creativity and her upcoming collaboration with UltraSuperNew Gallery

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“Sometimes you need these pandemics to rethink society and how things work.” Andrea Terceros’ words stayed with me long after I had ended our Zoom meeting. Instead of looking into the future with an anxious heart, she took this as a window of opportunity for artistic exploration, growth and new connections that will last beyond the pandemic.

When Terceros arrived in Japan two years ago, it was thanks to a series of happy coincidences. She didn’t know much about the country and didn’t speak a word of Japanese. “It was overwhelming, but in a positive way,” she says. Before making the move, Terceros had spent a few years in Europe where she studied and worked as an architect. It’s her work in architecture that brought her to Tokyo. Outside the office, she is an active painter.

Inspirations from Bolivia

Art was her first passion. In her family home in Bolivia was a painting featuring strong shapes and vibrant colors that she would walk by countless times. Terceros still associates those characteristics with South America and often incorporates them into her own work. Her other inspirations include impressionist Paul Cezanne and, as she became more familiar with Japanese art, ukiyo-e artist Ando Hiroshige.

When asked about the subject of her paintings, Terceros says she prefers to focus on everyday scenes. “It’s like a photo diary, a reflection of the things I see.” When inspired by Bolivia, Terceros’ works include animals and women. After moving to Japan, however, her paintings changed to reflect her new environment and lifestyle. “Japan is a calming country,” she says, and she began to plan with different moods and colors, shifting away from very vibrant shades in favor of soothing hues. Terceros is fascinated by wabi-sabi and the special attention that Japanese artists give impermanence.

That creativity is spontaneous is a misconception

Terceros considered painting professionally for the first time in high school, when one of her teachers suggested she submit a piece for the biennale. To her surprise, she won. From then on and through several international moves, painting was a constant in her life. While she chose to follow the path of architecture for her day job, there was no reason she couldn’t invest herself in both pursuits.

“Even though they’re different, art and architecture, they’re quite similar in their basics,” she says. “You want to inspire and you want to tell a story. Through space or art.” Despite being involved with two hands-on creative endeavors, Terceros says that she is never tired. “While you’re doing one you find inspiration for the other. That creativity is spontaneous is a misconception.”

An Opportunity for Collaboration

Terceros, like many artists around the globe, was supposed to have an exhibition in May, but the coronavirus pandemic and Japan’s state of emergency made it impossible. Following UltraSuperNew’s inspiring initiative in May, throughout the entire month of June Terceros will make the Harajuku gallery her studio. In addition to showing her latest paintings, she wants to show the creative process, unfiltered. Terceros is fascinated by the concept of opposites. “Sunrise and sunset, warm and cool. I want to show how it evolves into an exhibition.”

Joining her in June are DJs who, like Terceros, split their time between music and their professions of choice. “Close to my house there’s this café that’s a hair salon, a book store and a gallery,” she says. This idea of being able to pursue and label yourself as both an architect and a painter, for example, is what makes Tokyo so diverse. Nothing limits itself to one thing, and people aren’t too different.

While continuing to work full-time, during the exhibition Terceros plans to paint in the morning and the evenings, updating her progress via the gallery’s Instagram Stories. “That’s the thing about quarantine,” she says. “You can manage your time and do the things you love. I’m using my time exactly how I want. It’s freeing, in a way.”


Follow Andrea Terceros along with hundreds of art lovers throughout the month of June on UltraSuperNew Gallery’s Instagram.

Click here to learn more about the artist.

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