Artist Interviews 2021
By Laura Siebold
Marta Solaz is a painter and actress from Barcelona who is inspired by light, the quest for consciousness and the inner workings of the mind. Marta mixes different styles and materials in her paintings that pay homage to the women in her family. She describes her current style as “figurative art mixed with abstract backgrounds”. In her interview, the artist reveals the importance of manifestation and the female element in her work, her fascination with the movie In The Mood For Love (2000), and the message and healing aspects of her art. Her new series We Are Walking Trees is a reminder to acknowledge the positive aspects of darkness and difficult times and to become aware of the chances of human growth from those places. For Marta, it is the point of view and the ability to become an agent of an artwork by deciphering its message that matters.
Marta is based in Los Angeles, California.
We are curious about your background. You have worked as an actor for many years; what made you explore your creative outlet as a painter?
Well, I began my studies at the University of Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain, but I was so focused to be an actress that I combined the University with the Performance Arts studies. And I started to work as an actress so fast at a young age. But my inspiration with the painting process made me feel a huge void inside, as if I was not attending this major inner call. And then, after many years of sporadic attempts to develop my art, I started to completely let out that voice that needed to be released. It was when I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago that I got my studio and started painting again.
My acting career is still ongoing, so I'm not gonna quit one thing for another because this is what I am, the two arts enrich each other and are perfectly compatible on my daily basis so far.
Which is the most important source of inspiration for you? How would you characterize your style?
My inspiration lies in many places of reality itself, and the need to interpret it. How light works on the figures and makes shades inspires me to try to be like nature doing its creations. Just an impulse to try, like playing. Also, Human figure inspires me, especially women.
I play with concepts related to the seeking of consciousness. So, subjects such as self-knowledge, finding the purpose, work of ancestors through the family tree, the flower of Life, the color vibration of the chakras, and the observation of nature as vital learning, are my main inner motor.
Sometimes I picture it more obviously, sometimes more subtly. But it is the state of mind that moves me the most when it comes to creating.
Then I show figurative images, inspired by vintage or personal photography, on abstract backgrounds. I use both oil and acrylic in my paintings, adding pastel and thread on canvas. I started to include thread as a way to mix the art of my grandmother – she was engaged in embroidering – and the profession of my mother who was a dressmaker. It's like a part of them is also within me when I paint.
I believe that my style is still in process. Maybe in the way of trying to figure it out, it is where it appears. But at this point, my style is figurative art mixed with abstract backgrounds. But I also want to incorporate certain aspects of pop art and street art in the future.
In which ways are you “manifesting with your hands” while painting?
The word ‘manifest’ hides a wonderful concept, in which 'mani' (hands) fest (festivity= celebration). Then we could say that if we want to manifest things in our life, we need to use our hands or take action, which is the same, by doing things that amuse us. In my case, I have observed how my main hobby has become a profession just by enjoying manifesting pictorial creations.
You paint with both acrylic and oil paint. Does the paint you choose make a difference for the depiction of your subjects?
It depends on what I'm planning to do. If I just want to experiment on the canvas, I use acrylic; then I can recreate with different colors, and because they dry fast, I can try different options as many times as I want. With oils, I can go deeper into realism if that is what I want; and I really love the vivid colors. But I normally use acrylics as the primary medium.
Your In The Mood For Love series is based on a movie; your paintings represent frames, rendered static. What inspired you about the movie, so you decided to depict its female character?
I loved every picture so much watching the movie that I said I would paint every single frame. And I just started doing it, just for myself. The movie is a piece of art itself, so I just wanted to reflect it. In addition, the stillness of the characters in their personal lives, unable to dare to make the decisions they desire, was the perfect counterpoint to my other series of women in action.
Your Woman Fractals Of Action series focuses on female physical movement, as well as the female strong mental focus before a physical action. How important is the element of the female for
your work and what would you like the viewer to take away from these images?
This is a question I asked myself, too, after realizing that I always choose women for my pictorial compositions. Maybe because I am a woman and I experience life through this point of view, and it is a way to put myself there as part of me in every woman I paint. This is why it is called the Fractals series, because the paintings are fractals of myself. I have painted concepts that have to do with daring to fly, preparing your mind and body, dropping into the void, and eliminating expectation, thinking outside the box, etc. They were elements that were emerging as I created them and helped me personally, as if I were completing myself internally with each of them.
Comments from people like: "Oh, I take this painting because it makes me feel that I must trust myself more", or "I need to go beyond my limitations", or "This one will be a gift to my daughter as a metaphor,
she is already going to finish college and I want her to fly free in her new stage”…, etc. made me realize that what had begun as a healing process for me, could also be for others. And honestly, I find that very satisfying.
As if the circle of giving and receiving was completed. So, that's definitely what I'd like people to take away from these images. A reminder of a motivating aspect.
We would like to learn about the next series you’re working on. What was the inspiration and the main idea behind it?
The series I'm currently working on is titled "We Are Walking Trees." The concept that I want to convey is that we should take trees as an example, especially in the energetic and psychological aspect. We tend to live our lives in search of light, and that is right, but we forget that all light casts shadows, and those are definitely harder for us to face. The tree reminds us that we must nourish ourselves from our roots that have been deep in the darkness of the earth. And only then do we have enough stability to grow high with our branches, to absorb the light through the leaves and create beautiful fruits. Then, when the time comes, we must release those fruits that will feed our soil and roots back and it will give us new seeds with which to continue evolving. To accomplish this inspiration, I depict, as a start, images of human beings holding a tree like umbrellas and being connected to each other through the roots. Who knows where this is gonna lead me? But how fun!
Do you have an artistic icon or role model? What inspires you about this character and what have you learned from that person?
Well, I don't have any specific reference that has marked me. I can name several artists who have been inspiring me along my way. For example, Magritte's surrealism; I was always fascinated by the combination of elements, I had no choice but to stop to observe and decipher the mystery that his images hid. My interest lies very much in that aspect of the point of view. I like to see images in which to decipher a message, it doesn't matter if it's the right one. But it makes me a participant in that creation, as if a part of me had also created that work. As it hits me – Banksy. That is why I must confess that my weakness is street art, natural museums in the streets or in nature where the art of nature is mixed with the work of the human being.
Pop Art is another style that I'm drawn to, as well as collage montages. It was an obsession for me to get lost in antique shops and collect magazines, from which I made earrings, purses, necklaces.
Art for advertising has also always caught my attention, the portrayal of society through tastes and fashions. Alfons Mucha has always delighted my senses.
What can we learn about you simply by studying your paintings?
That I am a person who loves life, colors, beauty, and creativity.
What would you like to achieve as a painter?
I would like to maintain the innocence and freshness with which all this began. May it continue to be a lesson for ‘my actress’ in which I can be the owner of my life, the creator of my designs. And of course, I want my art to reach people and complete them the way it does me.