“When it got down to painting it, I don’t know what got into me. I just experimented and I usually don’t do that especially with commissioned work but I did. I put all this purple and magenta everywhere and none of it made sense but it came together in my head. I felt like I was learning how to paint all over again.”
Janiece: Have you ever been involved in any art collaborations that you can us about? Do you think artists are often open to collaboration?
Mariella: I have never been involved in any collaborations, but it’s funny you ask that. I was actually talking to one of my favorite artists, A. Codd, about us collaborating in the near future. Our subjects are very similar but styles and mediums completely different. So I’m here like “I really want to do this but how would that even work out?” With that said, I think as artists, we are able to have this upmost respect & admiration for other artists where it would be an honor to work with another who holds the same passion. But as painters, there’s the whole figuring out how it would work out, right? Well, maybe that’s just my problem. But I definitely am open to collabs, I hope to do at least one this summer.
Janiece: Can you explain how you develop the concept behind your favorite piece? What is the process like?
Mariella: My favorite piece was actually a commission of Mos Def. Okay, so most of the time when I get commissions people usually like to get surprised, so they tell me who they want and I scout for pictures I believe they would like. So this girl, who actually had bought a painting from me previously, sends me this picture and goes “I want this, willing to pay it full tonight.” I’m just staring at this picture like “.. these details how am I going to.. crap.”
I already knew I was going to have a hard time with his mask, but I knew I could do his face perfectly so I would play it safe and paint it as I always would. When it got down to painting it, I don’t know what got into me. I just experimented and I usually don’t do this especially with commissioned work but I did. I put all this purple and magenta everywhere and none of it made sense but it came together in my head. I felt like I was learning how to paint all over again. I always tell everyone it’s trial and error, except this time (luckily) there was no error.
Janiece: Have you ever worked with a live model?
Mariella: No, I can’t imagine ever doing so either. It’s funny because I always tell everyone “I can’t draw, but I can paint!” and no one ever understands. Basically, I just can’t look at something live and get it down. I would have to have a picture, stare at it, figure out all the shadows then get to sketching prior to painting. I do work with some people though, but it’s just taking their picture as a reference for the painting.
Janiece: How do you keep artistic momentum? A lot of creative people tend to struggle with creative block when their personal life flares. Is this something that you experience yourself?
Mariella: It just happens. I think it’s because I wake up every morning and there are paintings everywhere. My room has smelled like oil paint so long I don’t even realize it anymore. It’s become a part of my daily life. Painting somehow became like breathing to me, it just natural and I’m afraid to see what happens once I stop.My personal life isn’t a ball of sunshine and I am actually so grateful for that fact. I guess for anyone else when their personal life flares, the last thing on their mind is to do something creative. It’s the total opposite for me. Whatever complicated thing that’s happening, whatever I’m feeling at that moment is projected into my canvas. That’s why there’s a lot of variety in my gallery. Once things get too calm, that’ll probably be the day I’ll no longer paint. Thankfully I’m pretty sure that won’t happen.
Janiece: What’s your dream project?
Mariella: Even before I could paint it was always my dream to work on a 7 by 8 canvas. I don’t know why I love the concept of painting on a big canvas opposed to a wall, but that’s the thing I don’t want to do a mural – just an obnoxiously large painting. It feels more realistic now than it did last year. I could feel it happening hopefully this year when I finally set myself in a permanent studio (instead of my studio now which is my bedroom). As for the content, I still have no idea but I plan to make it epic – iconic even.
Janiece: Are your pieces for sale and do you do custom commissions?
Mariella: Most of my pieces are for sale and you could check my gallery on my website (mariellaangela.com) and email me asking if that certain piece is available. But I definitely do custom commissions and even custom prints of my paintings! The best way is get a hold of me for those is through my email, email@example.com.