In Conversation: Montse Mosquera / Elizabeth Challinor

Montse Mosquera is a Spanish graphic designer based in Liverpool who explores multiple disciplines, and has a passion for the exploration of her self-image throughout experiences, digital interactions and the different cultures that are present in her life. Her project, “Too Foreign”, explores the reverse culture shock many people experience when they move to a cultural environment that is different from their own, from a very personal perspective.

You can check out her ongoing IB21 project here –

Contact details:

@bchls (Instagram) / 

When did you first start your residency? How did you get involved with IB21?

In March of 2020 my university tutor told me my project could match a briefing of a contest launched by Independent Biennial in collaboration with the Open Eye Gallery. A few weeks after my submission I received an email by the Open Eye confirming that my work was selected for digital exhibition.

After a month I kept in touch with Patrick for the first time and I would say my residency didn’t start properly until the beginning of 2021 as the COVID-19 made it very difficult to plan anything.

What are you working towards during this residency/what are you looking to achieve with your experience here?

I’m working on a project quite similar to the work submitted to the Open Eye, where I put myself as the subject of my work and explore the experience of living abroad and the hard return home. As a person who sometimes enjoys getting out of their comfort zone I’m aiming to have a new experience where I can hopefully meet current and emerging artists in Merseyside.

What is your practise about generally & what processes/methods do you typically use? How has your work that you’re doing for your Open Eye residency/biennial evolved from this? Is there a big difference between this specific body of work & the work that you usually do?

Currently I’m in a moment where I’m still trying to find out what it is I want to explore and work on. However at the moment my practise uses more street photography. Its main purpose is to serve as a journal for myself of my time in Liverpool. It doesn’t differ too much from the project I’m working on in my residency. I enjoy having myself or my experiences as the subject of my work, I’m a very sentimental person and I always enjoy working in a project that fulfills both my personal and professional aspirations, where I get to discover and understand myself a little bit more. Apart from photography, which so far has been just a hobby, I’m a graphic designer and most of the work that I have done as a designer is very different from what I’m working on.

Did you have plans for your work (& to present it physically) before the festival was moved online? Has the change in platform, affected your outcomes in any way?

I started to have a proper plan after I got told the festival was going to be online. Although it’s also true that at the beginning I was very lost about the process of the festival as it was the first time I’ve heard of the Independent Biennial, but slowly my understanding grew and so did my work. It therefore hasn’t affected my outcome personally.

Have you been working as part of your residency prior to the launch, or have you only just started your working?

I started working just before the launch. I’m a person who needs to work on something straight away and become submerged over a short period of time. Working on something for a long period of time makes it difficult for me to remain focused on that particular project.

What’s it like (or been like so far) working with the Independents Biennial and Open Eye Gallery? Do you get much support from both of the organisations?

I got a lot of support from the Independents Biennial (Patrick) as he always tried to help me understand how the program worked, although the pandemic made it very difficult even for him to know what was going to happen next. Apart from the Biennial I’m working with Open Eye Gallery and they also made it easy for me to ask any questions and let me know what was happening next.