December 6, 2022

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Juxtapoz Magazine – North by Southwest: Tania Marmolejo Andersson’s Global Folk Art

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New York-based artist Tania Marmolejo, style illustrator, business artist, creator and painter, is a innovative jack of all trades. Her Dominican and Scandinavian ancestry germinates a exclusive heritage that births a bold and arresting great artwork style. On the eve of her solo display at GR Gallery in NYC opening June 10, 2022, Juxtapoz sat down with Tania to examine how this kind of a lineage influences her function, how motion performs into the exercise, as very well as some current artists on her radar.

Evan Pricco: Do you try to remember the 1st piece of artwork that moved you?
Tania Marmolejo: I feel it ought to have been paintings by my maternal grandmother in Sweden. She passed away before I was born, but her art—paintings and drawings—were incredible and always captivated me. I would sit and research them for several hours in my grandfather’s residence and my possess. I now have her sketchbook, which is my most prized possession, and I still like searching as a result of it. Her drawings undoubtedly ended up the largest impact on my own drawing and portray as I grew up. Both my grandmothers were being artistic, but my maternal grandmother had the doodles and cartoonish design that have been a lot more my style. I have generally felt related to her by my artwork.

PERRA DESCARADA oil on canvas 65 x 67in 2022

You have the two Dominican and Scandinavian lineage, and I marvel what you have gleaned from each of their inventive influences, primarily since both of those are wealthy in folk art traditions. And, exactly where do you see your ancestry converging when you paint? 
I am surely affected by both lineages. Often they current themselves individually, wherever a painting is certainly more “Caribbean” in colour and topic, or “Scandinavian” in its moodiness and shade tale. The Dominican affect seeps as a result of me in vivid shades, primarily the blues and greens of the mountains and character all over the place I grew up. The amazing colour of the h2o- turquoise, and from time to time a darker skin tone in the character. The Scandinavian influence demonstrates in a darker palette in the backgrounds, also influenced by the Swedish children’s textbooks about trolls and fairies that I grew up examining, and the blonder figures that a lot of instances are immediately motivated by my mom. Often in a portray I will blend the influences, and weird color combinations and moods arise, which I really like since that’s generally me: A muddy, colorful blend of influences.

What do you believe is the hardest point for an artist to reveal about process? And in this article I am, inquiring you! I imagine what I mean is, what portion of the course of action of building a painting, at what stage, is it just instinct? 
I never head describing my process! I really don’t like composing artist statements while, simply because my intentions and themes improve as I function. Every single artist has their have course of action that establishes the final result of their operate, so it may well be the most essential component of building. I do not sketch my works in advance, for illustration, as my perform is fully expressionistic. I never ever know what the portray will really glance like in the close. I might have an concept, a particular strategy, but as I paint, the expressions on the faces may perhaps begin undertaking their individual interesting factor – and I consider not to drive it. So lots of situations, even if I search at a reference in the beginning, the expression, shade and mood of the painting will convert out absolutely otherwise than I experienced initially prepared. And I consider to get as significantly of the painting accomplished in one or two times as probable, even if I have to go slower afterwards to let the paint to dry ahead of making any facts, considering that I work with oils. So it is a really speedy, instinctive and purging preliminary system, and then it slows down a minimal and I truly have to keep in mind to be affected person for the reason that I normally want to commence a new one.

Which artists are you wanting at these times, and who is an impact?
I assume additional than artists today— nevertheless there are numerous I admire, I am extra influenced by art actions from the previous. Not in a direct sense, but a lot more for the feeling— from Renaissance and Baroque actions for their participate in on light-weight and extraordinary backgrounds, to the German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists for the pure expression in the do the job and experimentation with shade. I seem towards—backwards—to artwork background far more than existing art. I choose museums that present human expression through the ages, extra than present-day artwork museums. But I do admire a lot of artists these days that do not always instantly affect my do the job, primarily woman artists who are breaking limitations and producing a language all their personal. Cecily Brown, Mikalene Thomas, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman. Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, Claire Tabouret, Genieve Figgis, Jesse Mockrin, Lisa Yuskavage…the record goes on. So numerous badass women artists!

SIDE LOOKS AND GLANCES oil on canvas 50 x 44in 2022

Let’s discuss about doodling. You paint, and nonetheless you have two books about drawing and just plain doodling. How does that perform in your day-to-day follow? 
I utilized to draw a great deal much more than I do nowadays, when I worked as print a designer for numerous yrs. I missed my own drawing time so much that I would doodle any probability I received, on write-up-it notes and any paper I could get my hands on. That is exactly where the Doodle books arrive from, compilations from those people periods. But right now, given that I draw immediately on the canvas when I paint— that has taken over—and though I also like to attract ink on paper and have exhibited them various times—I undoubtedly do it less than painting. But the initial approach of my paintings is a drawing (quite unfastened, nonetheless still a drawing), I suppose that counts!

How did functioning in a extra commercial art location greatly enhance what you do with your gallery function? I assume I can see a scale and bold use of colors that have to have arrive from industrial function. 
Really, what I uncovered far more from functioning in a professional location is the self-control it requires to regularly produce. I’m constantly thinking of the subsequent “design” for my paintings, and I do the job very diligently, regularly. I have to really travel and eliminate myself from my studio to take it easy and think of a little something else. But the scale of my works is in fact a immediate consequence of possessing been limited to scaled-down sized artworks for my layouts. It felt excellent to blow almost everything up in measurement at the time I bought home and could do the job on my individual artwork. It is also a immediate consequence of becoming advised my function was too female and that I really should alter it— and in protest I blew up the measurements of the functions so you couldn’t escape the femaleness. But which is a different story!

The experimental coloration combos are also a consequence of performing with textile styles. I test to have a astonishing element of shade somewhere in the portray, an accent that can convey to a story or liven items up.

What was your concentration for the new exhibit at GR Gallery? What came in and out of the studio for you? 
I am nevertheless performing on paintings for the solo show at GR Gallery, and the need for summertime to arrive appears to be subliminally doing work its way into my paintings. I experienced assumed of painting the drama that follows me during my existence (because it can be really amusing and I had been in a light- hearted mood), so there is some of that drama in the faces and shade strategies. The title is Telenovela Life in honor of these overly remarkable Latin cleaning soap operas that ended up in the qualifications at my friends’ properties growing up in the Dominican Republic. But looking at the artwork now I know there are a large amount of beaches and summertime in there too… I have to want it pretty lousy.

Are you the character in the function? 
The characters usually have a whole lot of me in them mainly because they are primarily based on emotions I have or have experienced, encounters that have marked me, but they aren’t intended to be self-portraits. I generate the alter-moi from an emotion and then established her cost-free in the earth to be herself and whomever she desires to be for the viewer. I was commenting on this with my husband, who mentioned that it was so incredible that they all experienced some thing that made them look like me, but not necessarily to each individual other. We arrived to the conclusion that they have the same mother- but different fathers. So there you go!

THE GLARING TRUTHS oil on canvas 52 x 60 2022

What is actually one particular factor you have completed in excess of the previous yr, both acquired or practiced, that has altered the way you function on your art?
I feel the biggest issue that happened previous yr was Covid, and that transformed a good deal in my art. From mainly executing nothing at all but paint mainly because of the isolation, I remained very concentrated on the adjust in the artwork planet that has suddenly introduced quite a few exhibitions and notice. I have so significantly perform to do that it has modified my course of action and manufactured me have confidence in initial instincts much more, letting an expression to type devoid of attempting to change it—basically, to allow the operate movement in a faster way, instinctively. In the previous I could get the job done on a piece for months, and I really don’t have that luxurious of time any more (while I think it’s a superior affect).

We have been contemplating a lot about motion not long ago, due to the fact obviously the world was on standstill and we assumed about movement in the summary. Now the world is opening and at war and we are contemplating about motion in the summary when again. How does motion in good shape in your function? 
That is a incredibly intriguing observation. Movement is usually a section of my work, I like to specific the experience of the passing of time via a shifting storm in the history, swirling clouds, ocean waves, leaves blowing, hair blowing in the wind… everything all-around the character is usually in motion and nevertheless she stands however, observing you or obtaining her instant. My work also evolves as I paint and experiment with it, so you will not effortlessly see a “style” during a individual exhibit because I allow for the portray to change as I function. So, often an exhibition can have a number of themes likely, and a sensation of motion mainly because it normally takes you to distinctive places.I am pretty distraught about the war in Ukraine, for instance, and I can feel the characters’ faces becoming a lot more somber, even even though the history isn’t a war. I am not in that war, I can only be afflicted emotionally by what I see, and my inner self just cannot ignore it. The paintings normally evolve with my feelings and what transpires all around me, and that is a constant creative pressure and muse.

Tania Marmolejo’s solo show at GR Gallery in NYC opens June 10, 2022. 



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