Whether she is painting, drawing, or creating new handmade pieces for her shop, Panama artist Mayi Carles is making a name for herself. And today, we are peeking into Mayi’s studio for an interview and tour.
This girl not only has creativity oozing out of her bones, she has the brain to match (just read her answer to the first question for her impressive list of credentials). So, let’s get right to the Q and A…
-How long have you been pursuing work as an artist?
I was 2 years old in 1984, the year my parents framed my very first crayon doodle, which still hands in my mom and dad’s bedroom in its flashy gold frame. So you can say Ive been making art even since I could. Now, I have a few career diplomas under my belt to decorate my studio wall and other fancy stuff. I studied Art in Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy; received a dual Bachelor degree in Communication Studies and Art Theory and Practice, with a minor in Art History from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; and a Masters in Art in Visual and Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois. My exhibition curriculum includes individual shows and artists collectives in both Illinois and Panama. In 2009, I published my first book self titled, Mayi – a quirky autobiography. In January 2010, I was invited to join the Board of Director of the Bio Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and curated by Bruce Mau. In February, I quit my job to become a full time artist and one month later I opened an eco-friendly Etsy boutique. Today, my passion for creating and love for making is as present and prominent as it was at age 2, when I did that first doodle.
-How would you describe your work?
My work is not about aesthetic games, nor is it only about color or shape; it is about an obsessive search journey to reconcile the inner child I have within (free spirited, passionate, naÃ¯ve, super creative and curious beyond belief), with the adult I have become (expect in technique, dense knowledge about art, but full of biases, dogmas and emotional baggage). In this sense, my work is about the inner tensions and playful struggles we have within. The outcome is a beautifully orchestrated body of work that brings harmony and balance between my child and grown up dialectic.
-Where is your studio located?
I live and work in Panama (not as in Panama City, Florida, but as in Panama City, Republic of Panama) a very beautiful, sunny and tiny country in Central America. My studio, which is also my home sweet home, is located right next to my parents, in front of my grandmothers and diagonal to my aunt and uncles house. So, as you can probably imagine, my work is greatly influenced by the very loving and supportive family I have.
-How many hours per week do you spend at your studio?
Oh my when Im I not working my studio? You see, I have a very serious creating addiction. And yes I also admit, Im an irreparable workaholic too. I create all the time, including weekends. Im at my studio approximately 16 hours a day, a total of 112 hours a week give or take. But, I must also add, I completely love what I do. Making is not my work, this is my passion, and it makes me so so really happy.
-What advice do you have for other artists who may be just starting out, or are struggling to be seen?
To believe passionately in whatever there hearts truly desire. “By believing passionately in something that still doesnt exist we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” I have followed Kafka wise words for many years now and I have yet to be disappointed.
-In what ways do your promote yourself and your work online?
I purchased my domain name www.mayicarles.com when I was 16. I was sure thinking ahead, but it was a smart move that helped me position my name big time in the Internet and Google since way back. In my website I promote my gallery (my artwork and exhibition pieces), my boutique (a.k.a. my Etsy Shop) and my blog (which is currently undergoing a serious face lift, please stay tuned for its grand opening). I also promote my work through Flickr and Facebook.
Recently I have started running ads online in CraftCult, Scoutie Girl, and Imaginative Bloom, which have all brought me many lovely visitors and clients. Im also extremely honored to be participating in papernstitchs 2010 summer exhibition. And of course, is always wonderful to be featured, recognized and promoted by others for free. For instance I was recently featured in Splendora, a style and culture blog that I love, and this was an awesome surprise. Next month I will be doing a giveaway in MosterBites so please stop by.
-Do you have any shows or events coming up that we should know about?
A solo show in August at Arlene Lachman Gallery, Panama City, Panama
-Links to Make Note of:
Personal Website ““ http://www.mayicarles.com
Etsy Shop ““ http://www.etsy.com/shop/mayicarles
Flickr ““ http://www.flickr.com/photos/mayicarles/
Facebook ““ http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=602230248
Thanks so much Mayi Carles for allowing us to take a look inside your studio, and of course for the interview as well. It was a pleasure.