What advice would you give to women who feel knocked down?
I’m not sure whether this is advice or not but whenever someone is feeling down, I tell them that they are not alone. We [women] are there to support one another through times of need, encourage and lift each other up… Women have the ability to come together and create a force that can move mountains. We are always there for each other.
Tell me about the woman that inspires you the most.
Leslie Lozano, I met her about a year ago in Austin, TX. The first time we met was a brief interaction but instantly I looked up to her. She’s vibrant, creative, independent, powerful and selfless. I admire her ability to bring women together and help them realize their potential.
What is something you think people need to recognize about women?
Our ability to connect with each other. This may not be the best example but if you walk into a bathroom and if someone needs toilet paper, it almost turns into a mission to get toilet paper to her; Especially if you walk into a bathroom at a bar/club, it’s almost like everyone in there has been friends for life and everyone just talks to everyone.
What is a social movement that you are passionate about?
Feminism. I try and use some of my female portraits to educate people on what it actually is. I’ve focused on nude women as well trying to understand why and how women are over-sexualized. It is an issue I’ve tried to understand ever since I was little when my mom would tell me to change from shorts to pants because “men were coming to the house” or when I’d get sent home from school because my knees were exposed.
Additionally, not necessarily a social movement but I am passionate about showing people the beauty and uniqueness of my culture. I am originally from Mexico and I’ve tried to incorporate it somehow in my work whether it be in the final piece or in the process by playing Latin music (which inspires a lot of my work), or by incorporating techniques and styles. It’s easy to believe what the media shows but there is much more to my native country than what is shown. Due to recent political events, I think it’s good to try and shed some light on the beauty that comes from Mexico and its people through art.
Advice on how to live your life while lifting up other women?
Support and encourage each other. We often live in such a competitive mindset, trying to “make it” and be better than the other person but we’re all in the same boat. A compliment from another woman goes a long way so I try and do what I can for other women, even if it’s just sending them a message praising their work.
Who are your favorite female activists/artists?
Joanne Leah is one of my top favorite artists. She creates artwork that explores social media censorship. Her photographs and perspective on the human body always inspire me.
Zaria Forman is an artist that documents climate change through her stunning pastel drawings. She presents these incredible hyperrealistic drawings of icebergs reminding us of the treasures we are destroying.
What do you love most about yourself?
I would consider myself to be very observant. I love watching how people move, how they interact with one another, how they hold their pencil, etc. I love stopping and enjoying little moments like how the light shines through the trees or the way that buildings reflect off each other creating this infinite environment of windows and brick walls. I use these little moments to inspire my artwork. If I don’t have my sketchbook with me I’ll photograph it and make sure to look at it again later that day.
How did you get to where you are today? (What inspired you and what steps did you take to get there?
It wasn’t until around June that I really took my work seriously. I started submitting my portfolio to galleries, art shows, and competitions. Finally, I got a last-minute invitation to exhibit in London. Despite it being one of the most stressful trips I’ve taken, I discovered what I was capable of as an artist. I didn’t want to sit at home and wait for things to happen, I was anxious to get my projects started so I began the first one: The Heart Project. The Heart Project has been the introduction into who Marianna is in the art world. I had to self-teach a lot of the process from learning how to make molds and understanding silicone, to designing and hand building the product packaging. Many of the failures from the Heart Project actually transformed into new concepts for future projects.
What items do you carry with you at all times?
My sketchbook and my rings.
What mottos/mantras do you carry with you? How do they help you?
I recently watched the documentary about Jim Carrey (Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond) and he said: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so might as well take a chance on what you love”. I try and think about this whenever someone makes a negative comment on me being an artist or when a project seems to yield more failures than success.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“You are your own worst critic”, as an artist is easy to discourage yourself. I struggle many times with my own work thinking it’s not as good as other artists’ or no one is going to like my artwork. When I compare my work to other artists I try and make things that are like theirs, thereby creating work that I am not proud of. I have to remind myself to stay true to my passion/perspective and understand that even though I won’t please everyone, I know I’ll connect with someone.
If you could receive a superlative, what would it be?
This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer (for me), but I’d like to be known for the ability to identify a feeling/emotion and transmit it using various forms of art.