Thursday, December 12, 2019

Art From the Heart: An Interview with Artist Diana Manitu

Art From the Heart: An Interview with Artist Diana Manitu
with Gina McKnight

From USA, meet artist Diana Manitu! The proprietor of Art From the Heart, Diana offers eclectic art. Whether it’s creating through henna paste, charcoal, and/or chalk pastels, Diana is a “person who wants to sprinkle little parts of her soul throughout the world around her and hopefully positively impact those whom her art reaches.”

Welcome, Diana!

GM: When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
DM: I never really "realized" I wanted to be an artist. I was more-so influenced in wanting to do art of some sort by art history and architecture in our everyday lives. Art has a way of simplifying things, and so when I would see that some complicated subject or very involved matter could be easily drawn out or explained via a singular image, it was essential for me to be able to impact others in the same manner. Art gives me that option. I was also largely influenced by my Pawpaw, Boyd Hiser, and his work as a realist and folk artist.

GM: Do you remember the first piece of art you created?
DM: My work is greatly influenced by Eastern cultures (particularly Eastern Indian). Henna and the designs associated with that practice is what first "drew" me in toward that specific style of art. The first quality piece of art I made was for a friend that wanted a psychedelic piece with lots of recurring designs and patterns. When I started on it, I thought, this is gonna be crap. Why would he ask a novice artist like me? However, as the image began to develop as I worked on it, I started to believe in myself a little more. Apparently, it was a success, because he still has it hanging in his home. That is one (of many) important things that art has taught me, that there will never be a time you are ready for people to see what you create, there is no comfort zone that you reach before you are able to present your work - and that's a good thing, it ensures you to learn acceptance of and with yourself, and that applies to so many other areas of your life!

GM: What mediums do you like to use?
DM: My preferred mediums are pencil, henna paste, charcoal, and/or chalk pastels. I use paints as well, but feel most comfortable and adept at those particular mediums. When I want to push boundaries with myself, or I feel like I need to decompress and get out of my own skin, I will use mediums that make me a little uncomfortable and doubt myself. It is a way of accepting the way I feel about things, purging them, and maybe the art I am creating in the process will actually turn out decent! Haha!

GM: What are you currently working on?
DM: I am currently working on Christmas presents! Haha! Starving artist is a real thing, and so everyone is getting some sort of small art piece instead of a bought gift. I am the oldest of 8 kids, and each one of us has a very unique personality. I plan on doing a collection of silhouettes - one from each person, and at all different angles - and then adding a mane of the different things that embody their personality. I love working with silhouettes because of the generality it gives an image, but then adding extremely personal notes, to create a piece that could be androgynous, but you know it isn't, because only those particular traits are associated with only THAT person. Aside from that, I am working on base line sketch ideas for an Alice in Wonderland tarot deck I want to eventually develop fully and have printed.

GM: Describe your studio and where you like to work...
DM: My workspace is more of a drafting table in the corner of a room than it is an actual studio. Even then, I won't always complete a piece at my art desk. My studio is anywhere I feel like being. When I sketch, it's normally on the floor or ground; when painting, I sit outside; when working on a piece to sell or that is a present, I complete it at my desk. My corner is a creative little space. It has my art desk and supplies, a red leather swivel chair (that doesn't go well with the desk at all, but I love it because it is unique), and vintage style anti-war propaganda (which I collect). I have a special piece my Pawpaw did in his younger years adorning the other wall next to my desk (as he was an artist and a big inspiration of mine), as well as a stereo system and incense burners to help me relax, jam out, and get in the flow.

GM: What drives your inspiration and motivation to be creative?
DM: Everything inspires me! My happiness, the world's goings-ons, trauma, time, peace, everything inspires and motivates me. The biggest motivation for me to create is the understanding it helps me achieve within myself. I feel healed when I am working on a piece and that gets addictive.

GM: Do you have advice for novice artists?
DM: The only advice I would give novice artists are certain things I wish I could have someone say to me, haha! They are to never stop working on a doodle or sketch or art piece because you feel like it could be better and you start doubting yourself. It goes back to that comfort zone point said earlier - there will never be a time you get "good enough" to feel completely content with putting your work out there. But it is imperative that you do continue to work on it and you do not stop because what YOU have to offer the world is unique to the person that you are and you have every bit as much right to put your work out there as anyone with a degree in art or anything of that sort. Creativity isn't measured by any social construct - creativity just IS.

GM: Do you have a favorite piece of art of your own creation?
DM: I do not have a favorite piece of my own. I have a difficult time genuinely loving the work I do personally, and so that makes it difficult to pinpoint which piece I like the most. Additionally, I feel like my art is always changing, my ability is always growing, and therefore it makes older pieces of my work seem less special to me. (Art is a way to process my dislike for a lot of different aspects of myself.)

GM: Who is your muse or favorite artist?
DM: I do not have a specific muse. If I had to choose my favorite artist, it would be Salvador Dali. His perception of the world is palpable through every single one of his works, his is unashamed and forward-thinking, and his execution is clean, precise, detailed, and unbiased to any particular color scheme, theme, or subject matter. You can see him oozing from the paint in his art works, and those are traits that I really vibe well with.

GM: Are you available for illustration or work for hire collaborations?
DM: YES! I am available for illustrations and work for hire collabs!

GM: List 10 things that your fans may not know about you...
1. I have 7 younger siblings!
2. I have a Halflinger horse named Avalon.
3. I have a fascination with mushrooms and snails.
4. I do not throw away receipts from doing activities with the people I love.
5. Purple is my favorite color.
6. I first got interested in henna tattoos through belly dancing.
7. Autumn is my favorite season, because of the contrast between the gray trees, dying grass, and very colorful leaves.
8. I am terrified of caterpillars.
9. I love to write slam poetry.
10. I am a cheese connoisseur, and LOVE to cook.

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