A Pivotal Pursuit


Abode2 sits down with Natalia Mancilla, the Peruvian figurative artist based in Miami about her new inspiring pursuit

Tell us about your training, background and what attracted you to the art world.

My journey into the world of art has been a deeply personal and rewarding one. I've always been drawn to the idea of becoming an artist, but it wasn't until five years ago that I decided to take the plunge and pursue formal academic training.

To kickstart my artistic journey, I enrolled in a well-known atelier school in Miami. This decision marked a pivotal moment in my life as it provided me with the structured guidance and mentorship I needed to refine my skills. The atelier environment fostered a strong sense of discipline and commitment to craftsmanship, which are essential qualities for any artist looking to grow and excel.

Over the years, I have devoted myself to honing my craft. I've attended weekend classes and participated in several workshops, always eager to learn and expand my artistic horizons. These experiences have allowed me to experiment with different techniques and styles, helping me develop my unique creative voice.

Who has been the most constant source of inspiration for your artwork?

The most constant and enduring source of inspiration for my artwork undoubtedly stems from my personal experiences and the depths of my emotions. My creative journey is a deeply introspective one, and I've found that my most authentic and compelling work emerges when I tap into my inner world.

Furthermore, I've always been profoundly influenced by the timeless beauty and craftsmanship of classic realism. Among the artists who have left an indelible mark on my creative vision, John Singer Sargent stands out as one of my all-time favourites. Sargent's mastery of form, his ability to capture the essence of his subjects, and the exquisite details in his work have been a guiding light for my artistic journey.

How long do you tend to spend on each piece?

The time I invest in each piece of artwork is a reflection of the creative process itself, and it can vary depending on several factors. In an ideal situation, when I have the luxury of working on a piece consistently every day, I generally allocate about one month for an oil painting and approximately two weeks for a charcoal or pencil drawing.

However, it's important to note that art, for me, is an organic and evolving process. The actual duration may vary significantly based on a variety of factors, including the complexity and size of the artwork. Larger and more intricate pieces naturally require more time to complete, as they demand a higher level of attention to detail and refinement.

Additionally, my creative process isn't always a daily endeavour. There are times when I immerse myself completely in a project, working diligently day after day. On other occasions, I may step back, allowing ideas to evolve in my mind before I put them onto the canvas or paper.

What’s your preferred medium to work with and why?

Choosing a favourite medium among the ones I work with is challenging; each has its unique charm and presents distinct hurdles. However, if I were to pick one, I'd say oils hold a special place in my heart.

Oil paints offer a captivating blend of challenge and forgiveness that continually draws me in. What I love most about oils is their versatility; they allow me to explore a wide range of techniques and styles.

Do you prefer working in monochrome or colour?

I find the choice between working in monochrome or colour to be an artistic dilemma, and truth be told, I appreciate the unique qualities of both approaches. Each offers its distinct advantages and challenges, and I've come to appreciate them for different reasons.

When working in monochrome, there's a certain elegance and simplicity that I'm naturally drawn to. The absence of colour allows me to focus on the core elements of the form, texture, and shading. It's a process that demands precision and a keen eye for contrast and tonal values. Monochrome pieces often convey a timeless and classic quality, emphasizing the essence of the subject matter without the distraction of colour.

On the other hand, working with colour opens up a world of creativity and expression that I deeply enjoy. It allows me to infuse my art with emotion, atmosphere, and depth. It allows me to evoke specific moods that may be challenging to express in monochrome.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I could impart wisdom to my younger self, it would be this: 'Continue practising your craft every day and never lose momentum.' Life has a way of presenting challenges and distractions, and while it's okay to pause when necessary, it's crucial not to let those pauses become prolonged periods of inactivity.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned on my artistic journey is the importance of consistent practice. Every stroke of the brush, every sketch, and every moment spent honing your skills contributes to your growth as an artist. It's not just about talent; it's about dedication and perseverance.

Your talent is a precious gift, one that brings value not only to your life but also to those around you. Art has the power to inspire, evoke emotions, and connect with people on a profound level. Don't neglect this gift; nurture it, cherish it, and let it flourish.

Tell us something about your studio or where you love to work.

My cherished home studio, once my daughter's room, has deep sentimental value. It's now my creative sanctuary, a place where memories blend with new artistic endeavours. In this space, I have two dear companions: one easel representing my commitment to becoming a serious artist, and another, a heartfelt gift from my daughter and son-in-law, symbolizing their unwavering support for my art career. My studio isn't just a room; it's where my creativity flourishes, a place where love, dedication, and passion come together to fuel my art.

Where have you exhibited your art?

I've had the privilege of showcasing my artwork in several notable locations. Over the past two years, I've exhibited my work in my home country of Peru on a few occasions, connecting with the local art community and sharing my creative vision with a diverse audience.

This year, I also had the opportunity to take my art beyond borders and exhibit in the vibrant art scene of Berlin. It was a remarkable experience to bring my work to an international audience, allowing me to explore new perspectives and connect with art enthusiasts from around the world.

Each exhibition has been a significant milestone in my artistic journey, and I look forward to continuing to share my passion for art with audiences both at home and abroad."

What is your proudest achievement or project to date?

My proudest achievement as an artist is the significant improvement in my technique over the past five years. This journey of growth and self-discovery reflects my commitment to artistic and personal development. It's not just about refining my technical skills; it's about dedicating myself to a lifelong journey of offering my best as an artist and a human being.

This progress has empowered me to better express my creativity and connect with audiences more deeply, enabling me to explore new styles and tackle ambitious projects. However, my artistic journey continues, and I approach each day with the same enthusiasm, knowing there's always room for growth.


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