Vicky Uslé

Vicky Uslé

At her painting studio and home in Saro, Cantabria.

On the green and lush sultry hills of Saro, just inland from the Cantábrico Sea on the northern coast of Spain, lies Vicky Uslé’s creative sanctuary. Isolated from the hustle of the city, she immerses herself in this peaceful environment to fashion vast artwork canvases conveying her very personal sensibilities. She usually spends half the year at her second home in New York, which allows her the freedom to apply a different geographical and cultural perspective to her work.

With her partner Rubén, whom she has known since childhood, the couple have welcomed a child into the world. Now 4 years old, Saja radiates energy with her sweet smile as she wanders around the idyllic Saro homestead, seemingly enchanted by the atmosphere of the graceful stone house and Vicky’s studio.

It was late when we arrived, and only the moonlight could guide us up the narrow path to the couple's delightful Cantabrian home.  As we entered, we were literally blown away by the magic of the place. The crackling sound of burning wood in fireplaces, and the smell of lavender on our linen sheets as we drifted off to sleep, filled us with excitement at the prospect of what the next morning would bring. 

Before 8am, little Saja leaves to school, the lifting fog starts to reveal the contours of the outdoor garden, and we are awestruck by its beauty . Vicky rises in an tetchy mood, but that doesn’t stop us from chatting for at least two hours between cups of tea, and catching up from our last meeting three years ago in New York. Her art shows have grown in stature since then, and she is just putting the finishing touches to the last batch of pieces before moving with her family to Brooklyn and her new studio. This last collection is comprised of large, abstract canvases sporting precise shapes and bright-colored, sweeping rainbow strokes. Most of her art is untitled - she doesn’t find it necessary to name these compositions. On some canvasses, the dreamy, colorful shapes appear to float on empty white spaces; on others, they obscure the background completely.

The way Vicky talks about her upbringing is truly inspiring. Both her parents are artists, and she spent her childhood shuttling between paint studios in Cantabria and New York. Over the years, her parents established a long-term base here in Saro, having been able to build an impressive steel structure to house both their studios. Vicky was eventually given the original house for living and working, and the whole family act as caretakers of this magical place, which is surrounded by animals, carefully-selected tree species, and a vegetable garden. The family dynamic, it seems, is solely determined by their work schedules, and the hours they all dedicate to creating their art. I admire their philosophy and the outlook for their future. Vicky has now set up base camp in New York.  She is such a hard worker, and devoted artist that she deserves the best of luck.

Additional photography by Jose Saenz de Heredia