April 1, 2023

Alicia Araya – Interview with the artist




Brief artists statement
I am a Fine Arts major from Georgia State University. I love to draw, paint, and work with different mediums, and to try new things and techniques. I have sold some of my pieces at art shows and by commission. With my husband, we are trying to establish an bricks-and-mortar Art Gallery cum-general store near our home in Marshall, called Marshall Arts.

How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?
I’ve always been drawn to the arts (pardon the pun). My first love was music–I play the violin and piano–but I lacked the self-discipline to keep up with the many hours of practice required, so I eventually turned to my second avocation, plastic arts. I’m glad I did, because it has proved to be a wonderful venue for self-expression, which I find is an ever present force constantly trying to get out.

How has your education helped your career?
Formal education has given me the basic tools to channel my creativity in a purposeful way; I have learned the necessary techniques that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned, because some things MUST be learned in a formal setting, regardless of how gifted one may be.

Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
Yes, Ever since I decided to start making a living through art, it is now pretty much a full-time job for me. I do routinely engage in other activities too, but they mostly revolve around my career as an artist, such as marketing, social media, etc. I also like to garden and cook, and from time to time I help my husband with his projects as well (he is a writer). I don’t have a routine per se, but I try to paint every day, even if just a little bit. The reason I don’t have a routine is that I am not good with time management, plus I work best without time constraints, which mean I can work on a project for hours and hours without realizing it, and other times inspiration evades me completely.

Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?
The Flemish masters: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Eyck, also Braque, Modigliani, Soutine, Klee. I am loving the technique of “indirect painting,” through the use of an original underpainting and then glazing techniques, with each layer resolving a particular problem or two, to end up with a finished work that will hopefully be “just right.” Not heavy. Not overly painted. No excessive strokes.

What are the other influences on your work?
I am influenced by poetry (Blake comes to mind), and music. I am greatly influenced by moods and whatever “creates” them; be it the weather, a happy–or sad–event, the position of the planets, etc.

What was the last exhibition you visited?
A local exhibition by vernacular artists in North Carolina.

What is your favourite art gallery?
The one I’m trying to launch (Marshall Arts)! Seriously, my favorite gallery is the one that has allowed me to exhibit my work: Defoor Arts Centre in Decatur, GA. In fact, I’ll have a few pieces in their next exhibit in November.

What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?
It’s a jungle out there! Sadly, you gotta “know somebody” to make it. No matter how good you are. if you don’t have the right connections, or if you’re constrained by financial concerns, it is very difficult–if not impossible–to make it. Sadly, talent–or the lack thereof–is not a sure passport to “fame & fortune.” Art being the subjective matter that it is, is often ruled by the vagaries of the latest fad, or by the latest Celebrity endorsement.

Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Yeah. Go into Nursing! Seriously, I think my biggest hurdle has been my lack of self-confidence and having the attitude of “it’s just a hobby” with respect to my art early on. I think one needs to consider this as any other career, one that requires discipline, dedication, organization, and perseverance. Talent is essential too, but that is God-given; the other qualities need to be nurtured. Talent alone won’t do.

Do you have a quotation that you keep coming back to and that keeps you going? Have you a motto that gets you through?
It changes with the mood. Lately I’ve been quoting Blake, but that’s just because I’ve been feeling discouraged in my quest to succeed in an environment that has turned pretty hostile, given the current economy.

Which historical artist do you think is over-rated? Why?
Salvador Dali. Because he was a poser. He was all about making money, so he perpetuated the image of an eccentric because that was what the public wanted. His art reflected that notion.

Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?
I’ve never thought about it. Hell, I can hardly make it on my own, much less having to pay someone else to help me along! Perhaps if I ever become “rich & famous” I’ll hire somebody to stretch canvases, frame my artwork, or mix colors for me.

Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?
Definitely! I use Facebook, Twitter, and I also blog. The sad thing is that NOBODY visits my blog, so I find myself preaching in the desert most of the time! Which is sad, because I usually have interesting insights to share. Oh well…

Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?
Me. me! Look at me! OK. Save that, then artist Shea HembreyJill Kettles‘ blog. Younity blog. American Artist magazine. DevianART website.

Finish this limerick: There once was an artist from…

There once was an artist from Marshall
who wanted opinions impartial
so onto her blog
she started to log
the many times comments were partial

1 Comment on Alicia Araya – Interview with the artist

  1. my daughter wants to focus solely on art for her major when she moves on to college. i was pleased to find this through an empire avenue connection and will be sure to get her to sit down and read this for great insight. thanks for sharing!

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