Mariana Soares - Brazil and Back Again

Matt McGlynn


1.) You were born in brazil, was it art that brought you to New York and when did you move here?

That's right, I was born in Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil. I lived in São Paulo and Berlin before I move here five years ago. I came to study painting at the National Academy School of Arts.

2.) Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to create art full time?

I wouldn’t consider that it was a pivotal moment that came up to me. Making art was always part of my life but in different platforms and mediums. I started to paint when I was 16. I wanted to develop and pursue my life by painting full time, but it’s not an easy path to take. The occasions and opportunities that I got builded up and its in constant progress. I’m a designer too and after three years working as an art director I got the courage to drop my job and pursue my passion in life. So I came to New York and that was when I started to paint on a constant basis.

3.) What would you categorize your style as? what genre?

Hmm, my paintings are very sensible, strong and gestural so it’s probably related to a figurative romantic expressionism, I think.

4.) Who are your biggest influences (artists)?

My biggest influences are Alice Neal which I share birthday with, Marina Abramovic, Elizabeth Peyton, Francisco Goya, Anais Nin, Egon Schiele, George Condo, De Kooning and of course Picasso.

5.) What do you pull inspiration from?

I get inspired by all different sorts and poetics. My work is sensitive and I look deep in emotions. Visually I start by glimpsing magazines advertising and art history. I’m intrigued by the characteristics and myths of the female image in culture and society. I’m driven by music to paint and use memory and imagination to develop the narrative for her on the canvas. 

6.) Tell us a little about how growing up in Brazil influenced you both artistically and creatively.

Brazil has a diversity of identity, it’s a cultural mix. I think that in somehow works as a great source of creative energy. 

I grow up in a conservative city in the south of Brazil. The city environment brought my attention to the noon conformists and contra cultures. As a teenager I started to study fine arts, and that opened up a world to me. There were many Brazilian artists that had an important impact in my life such as Lygia Clark, Mira Schendel, Tarsila and Beatriz Milhazes. 

7.) Many of your works are portraits of women. Should I assume they're you or do the women featured vary?

I wouldn’t deny that! I paint what I feel. Woman figures are the central focus of my work and I think you can’t really separate the work from who makes it. It has the sensibility and personal characteristic that are implicit to oneself. For me it’s the uniqueness qualities and perhaps transgression that makes art so fascinating. 

8.) Tell us about your process?

My paintings go through many stages. I have a very fast pace on applying the brushstroke but I take my time to find the painting itself while working on it. I leave for the painting to guide me. I like the struggle and performance on the canvas. I like to see how the figure appears in the painting. It’s all about being present at the moment and the painting keeps in constant transformation until it feels right. 

9.) Do you have a single favorite piece of yours? If so, which and why?
The very first large scale piece that I did for an exhibition at the National Academy Museum in 2015 was a breakthrough as a painter for me. I get sort of detached once the paint is done and my favorite painting  become the one that I'm currently working and it's challenging me at the moment.
10.) Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or fun projects you're working on that you'd like to get out there?
Yes! I can't give details yet but I'm very excited about a set design on a gallery that I'm doing for a film and also on the paintings I'm currently working for a group show in Tribeca. It should happen in October!

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