Most of us find ways to channel pain and heartbreak, some people turn to throwing themselves in to work, some talk about it with a proffessional and some turn to art. This is what Mexican artist Marcela Solana did and it turned out she was pretty good at it. This month we sat down with the creative genius to see where it all began.
Let's go back right to the beginning. Where did the art inspiration in your
life come from?
To be honest, I never thought I’d be doing this for a living. Whenever anyone asked if I was an artist, I’d always answer with a resounding - NO. All I could picture with the word ‘artist’ were old ladies panting boring landscapes in oil painting. I was a Designer; that’s what I majored in anyway. I did love anything graphic, colours, shapes and textures… So, I now get why I have such a specific style in my art.
However, in 2014, after creating a drawing of a very detailed and meticulous Rhino, it caused huge commotion within my people and it ended up being the one that led the way to my career as an artist, hence, the use of a Rhino as my logo. After that day, people started contacting me and asking for my painting prices, which is when I decided to take the risk and started painting. Even I was in awe of the hidden talent that had suddenly came from me, I had no idea I had it in me and little by little, I started getting more and more inspired, creating artworks that would eventually sell as soon as I showed them.
What for you was the moment for you where you thought that Art was definitely something you'd like to do for a career?
Being an artist, or a freelancer for that matter, is never easy so, when I started painting I decided that I would pursue art, only if I aimed to the higher markets; I wanted to reach the international art world. The only problem was, that I knew nothing of it. So, I decided to take several art courses in London’s Central Saint Martins and it gave me more confidence to get in deeper and move forward with it.
I was balancing being a designer and being an artist when I hit a major bump in my life. In 2015, I went through a very tough and dark episode in my life, health wise, which forced me to stop everything for a couple of years, and couldn’t show my work for a long while. I was going through such dark times that whatever I painted was purposely, extremely colourful, and when in April 2018 I could finally show my work in my hometown at my first solo exhibition, I realized there was something bigger behind my work. I found people would stop and stare at my paintings, and then their faces would lit up. This was the moment I decided to pursue art further, inspire people and spread colour as much as a could through my art.
How did you develop your own personal style?
To this day I don’t know how it happened, I have been asked this question many, many times, and the only thing I can say is, it’s a godsend. Many are impressed when they see my paintings up close and in person, many ask me if I did it with rulers or using the computer, but it is all good pulse, my steady hand, the passion and mainly, the patience. Not only has my style been marked by the details and meticulousness in the paintings, but the use of such vibrant colours and specific combinations.
How easy do you find creating a new piece of work? Is it something you
can do on the spot or do you search for inspiration?
I cannot do it on the spot, it’s not how I work. I like to have a theme, a topic, or
certain inspiration that leads to a certain idea that I can then portray on canvas.
My style is so different from anything I’ve seen, that it is not easy to create freely as many other artists, plus, there is no way I can finish a painting in one day; it takes a lot of work. I like to have a starting point. I search for inspiration everywhere, and it depends on where I am at a certain moment in time, that I then decide what topic to pursue, whether it be nature, a certain time o popular topic in life, or a personal matter which was the case with my last two collections ‘Release’ and ‘The Aftermath’; I based them both on my personal and most difficult journey in my life.
You're very open in talking about the 'Pain and Darkness' you've
experienced. How much of this do you think has come out in your artwork?
The truth is I just opened up about it, and I guess the timing was perfect too since 2020 was a weird and very difficult year globally. I had never talked about it before nor did I ever create art relating to it, but it was time to use this experience not only as a means to heal personally, but to possibly and, hopefully, inspire other who might feel related to the feelings I talk about, to know that they are not alone and that these battles will only show your true strength that lies within.
It was definitely a very difficult collection to create, to let it all out and more so, sharing it and opening up about it, but I don’t regret a second of it; it was completely worth it. When we, as humans, go through rough patches that make
us doubt ourselves, when we are alone and hopeless, these are the kinds of things that eventually give you hope; to know that there is someone out there who understands.
Where do you find most of your inspiration comes from?
Honestly, it comes from everywhere. It can be any living thing or ecosystem that suddenly inspires me, it can be the colours I might one day see at a sunset and then take me to create something with them, situations that are currently happening globally… For instance, my collection ‘Musicland’ was created given my love for music and dancing, and since I am an 80’s baby, I wanted to bring back cassettes, Walkman's, and that specific era in music.
I did my collection ‘Welcome to the 50’s’, which I created in 2018, reminiscent of the iconic soda shops in USA back in the day; I always wanted to go back to that time and see what it was like. 2020 was the first time I decided to take my personal experience as inspiration. The result was very different to what I usually do, but honestly, given the dark times, I believe the artworks came out beautifully.
The art world has many greats known for their painting styles and iconic
paintings. How do you think one becomes an 'icon' in the art world?
This is a great question. I believe it has to do with uniqueness, history and creating a name within the art world; and maybe also having a deeper sense of
purpose within your career.
Although I genuinely believe it was easier back in the day, mainly because the competition wasn’t as fierce as it is today. It is truly impressive to see the amount of artists that exist nowadays; artists that show their works at the many, many art fairs around the world so, ultimately it is harder to be “seen” in the midst of this huge ocean of great talent.
What would you say to anyone reading this that wants to pursue a career
as an artist?
If you truly want it, do it. Jump in and don’t be afraid. Eventually, there will be many setbacks, of course not everyone will love your work (it is completely normal), it is not easy by any means navigating the art world; it involves a lot of
hard work, networking, investments and a great support system.
There are a lot of sharks ready to tear you down when you thrive (I have a personal anecdote regarding this), there is a lot of competition, but the reward is always great. Once you see people’s reactions, when you connect with the right people, it is a beautiful melting pot of friendships, togetherness, talent and love.
How do you see the future of the art world looking
I keep thinking about this, and given the global pandemic that came over the world, and specifically the art world, I think it’s going to take time to going back to the huge and populated art fairs. Museums and galleries will not have the same flow of visitors as they used to for a while either.
I think the art world, as much as it will still be alive and beaming, it will be inclining more towards virtual matters. Which is not cool at all, especially not for my work which is meant to be seen in person. Most artworks are meant to be experienced in person; the texture, the colours, the true size, the feelings… will never compare to seeing them virtually.
What is your ultimate mission with your artwork?
As I mentioned, when I discovered my artistic abilities and after going through such periods of pain and darkness, I made it my mission to inspire and spread colour. What breaks my heart the most is seeing a world filled with pain, hatred
and evil; my hope is that at least for a moment, you forget about the difficulties
and tribulations of daily life, that at least for a moment I make you smile and give you a sense of peace and love.
Thank you for your time Marcela