Designer and visual artist Mariana Acevedo is one of 18 artists featured in Flow, an interdisciplinary online exhibition exploring ideas and creativity.
In this short interview she chats to Co-Curator Maria Robertson about making and teaching art, working intuitively and getting into the flow.
Maria: How do you get into creative flow?
Mariana: Many years practising yoga and meditation, using methods to help quiet my mind and stay present, has had an important influence in my work. I realised that my mind was becoming more and more passive during my art practice, while my body felt profoundly connected to any subject I was working with.
I developed an intuitive approach to making art, allowing my senses and the materials to guide me in the making process. Making art in a meditative state releases an unlimited flow of creative energy for me.
“When I work I search for that place inside myself where I can find stillness. Once there, I connect profoundly with everything around me. Physical forms then vanish, leaving space for colours and textures. I am one with all that is.”
Maria: How has lockdown impacted your creative activity?
Mariana: Lockdown impacted negatively in my work as an art teacher because I had to stop my classes, which are very active and guided so I couldn’t really make them online as many other teachers do.
In my creative activity as a practitioner, lockdown has been very positive, because I normally have a queue of ideas in my mind ready to be discovered and this period was a lovely time to be alone and dedicate completely to my practice. I am thoroughly enjoying it!
As a painter, I like to exhaust the medium to its limit, and use it freely without rules or boundaries. This process of `making´ with an extensive manipulation of the medium, such as scraping, dripping, adding and subtracting is uncertain, however by allowing spontaneity and chance, the medium communicates and guides me.
I am constantly playing and waiting for the unexpected, crossing the limits between figurative and abstract. It is in this communication and in the careful elaboration of details where my work concentrates. It is here where I find stillness and my creative process begins to expand.
The work for this exhibition started on the foam board that I normally use as a palette to mix the oils. I began to make random lines by subtracting the oil with the palette knife, I immediately thought it would be an interesting work to do in a very small scale and with defined limits, in this case just one drop of oil paint, a metal tip and absolutely no preconceived ideas of what to do.
I placed a drop of oil paint on a white paper and allowed the hand to move freely, making marks by dragging the oil with the metal tip. These marks became lines and a drawing was made by subtracting the oil and revealing the paper underneath.
“I felt a strong connection between hand and tool; the slow movement and repetition; the time lapse and drying of the oil.
I believe this is what Flow is about, a period of time when everything is aligned allowing our body to perform its best, and because of this, inspiration and creativity run smoothly.”
Maria: What is your background?
I have a BA in Design at Universidad Católica Chile, a BA in Fine Arts and MFA in Fine Arts at Oxford Brookes University.
I work mainly in Oil Painting, Photography and Collage and find inspiration in nature and its phenomena, especially the observation of things that often go unnoticed.
After completing an MFA in Fine Arts where I researched art education, I decided to create MA Studio, developing an innovative teaching methodology that uses mindfulness exercises to help students discover their creative potential.
Maria: How do you feel about being in this exhibition?
“I feel it’s important to be part of a group that thinks similarly. It was wonderful to discover other artists that work in the same way I do, and yet have so many different results. The possibility of exhibiting in Modern Art Oxford is a great opportunity and I am very grateful.”