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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Etsy Excavations

Still digging up some artists for you over at Etsy...I hope you're all enjoying this series. I know I am!
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Today, we're talking to Rosa Murillo, an artist who grew up in Mexico, but currently lives in North Carolina. Her enchanting collages can't help but capture your eye and imagination. She's got a new downloadable print in her Etsy shop, just in time for Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations.

Tell us about yourself - how did you become an artist? What's your background in art?

When I was in architecture school I found that the part of the projects I enjoyed the most were the ones that needed illustrations, model making and design, that's when I discovered that there was an art bug I wanted to explore but life took me in another direction for a few years, until I decided to explore painting as a new experiment and fell in love with it.

Lazarus Heart is one of my favorites. What is the story behind that assemblage? What does it say to you?

This piece came together one day after I was reading the Lazarus story in the bible. I started to imagine how it could feel to be dead and then alive again. The things you might have seen! The drawing is made in a thick plastic sheet that I colored with pencils and ink. There's a collage attached to the back of the plastic and also to the front, so it shows some transparency and layers. It talks to me about past, present, future, the layers in your life.

I love how you incorporate found objects and paper ephemera into your artwork. What is your creative process like? Do you let the ephemera guide the painting, or do you look for particular objects to try and finish out a piece you are working on?

Sometimes when I am working on the studio, if I get lucky, the pieces start to come together on their own effortlessly, finding the place they want to inhabit in the painting. Sometimes a cigar box helps me contain these types of collages, otherwise they would spread bigger and bigger.

I usually start with the general idea and palette I want to work in and I will start to go through all the drawers and find pieces that might go together on that palette or theme. Then I will try to find a place to assemble them like a piece of wood, a box, a canvas. It depends what feels right. The way I work is very intuitive and if the piece doesn't feel right I have to keep trying different things until it does. I usually end writing something and drawing little people who will live there.

Tell us about Found Art Tuesday - how did it start, where has it taken you?

The Found Art Tuesday project started as a commitment on my part to keep motivated by making something creative every week and sharing it with someone who wasn't expecting to find art like this sitting on a park bench somewhere, and to hopefully make an impact on them. Maybe inspiring them to make something creative as well, or just to make them smile. I've started projects like this before but didn't stick with them too long because I struggled to find the time. Documenting the pieces in my website helped me stick to it, I felt this way there was a bigger commitment because this time, people were watching!

I like to end the interview with a list of favorites:

Who is your favorite artist?

My 6 yr. old daughter. she amazes me with her creativity! I also like to see the art made by architects. They have such an interesting perspective.

What is your favorite thing to listen to while you paint?

Sting and U2, back to back, over and over.

What is your favorite object you've ever used in a painting or assemblage?

An old document from Mexico from 1887. It is a title for a property, handwritten in brown ink, with notary seals and official signatures. It's amazing!

What is your favorite book and/or author?

You mean, besides everything Harry Potter? Well, one book that will always have a special place in my heart is "The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende. This book taught me that anything you dream can be possible.

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Thanks, Rosa! That was fun - I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all my question! It's interesting - I just finished re-reading "The Neverending Story" recently, and started reading it to my boys - it's a classic tale, isn't it?