A Multifaceted Artist: Tania Marmolejo’s Unique Style
New York-based artist Tania Marmolejo is a true creative powerhouse. With a diverse background as a fashion illustrator, commercial artist, author, and painter, her artistic journey has been shaped by her Dominican and Scandinavian heritage. As we eagerly anticipate her upcoming solo show at GR Gallery in NYC, opening on June 10, 2022, we had the opportunity to sit down with Tania and delve into the influences behind her captivating and bold fine art style.
The Early Inspirations: Grandmother’s Artistic Legacy
When asked about the first piece of art that deeply moved her, Tania recalls the remarkable paintings by her maternal grandmother in Sweden. Although her grandmother passed away before Tania’s birth, the enchanting quality of her art left a lasting impression on her. Spending hours studying those captivating paintings and drawings in her grandfather’s house, Tania developed a deep appreciation for her grandmother’s artistic talent. Today, Tania considers her grandmother’s sketchbook as her most treasured possession, which continues to inspire her own drawing and painting. Through this connection, Tania feels a profound artistic bond with her grandmother, bridging the gap between generations.
Ancestral Influences: Merging Dominican and Scandinavian Traditions
Tania’s rich heritage, blending her Dominican and Scandinavian roots, plays a significant role in shaping her artistic style. Both lineages exert their influence in distinct ways, sometimes manifesting separately in her artworks while at other times converging harmoniously. The vibrant colors of the Caribbean, particularly the mesmerizing blues and greens found in the mountains and nature surrounding Tania’s childhood home, distinctly reflect her Dominican ancestry. On the other hand, the moody and darker palette of her paintings bears the mark of her Scandinavian influences, deriving inspiration from Swedish children’s books that depicted trolls and fairies. Tania effortlessly merges these influences, resulting in intriguing and unexpected color combinations that mirror her own diverse background. Through her work, she becomes a living testament to the vibrant fusion of cultures.
The Enigmatic Process: Painting from the Heart
Artistic processes often contain an elusive element that defies explanation. When asked about the most challenging aspect of explaining her creative process, Tania reveals her eagerness to share. While she shies away from writing artist statements, as her intentions and themes evolve throughout the creative journey, she is more than willing to shed light on her process of making a painting. Tania’s work is entirely expressionistic, devoid of preliminary sketches. As she paints, the expressions on the faces of her characters take on a life of their own, sometimes deviating from her initial plans. She embraces this spontaneity, allowing her art to breathe and flourish. Tania’s process is characterized by swift and instinctive strokes, pouring her emotions onto the canvas within one or two days, capturing a purging of creativity. It is in these swift moments that the true essence of her art emerges.
Drawing Inspiration from History: A Glimpse into the Past
While many contemporary artists serve as sources of inspiration for Tania, she finds herself drawn more to historical art movements. They evoke a certain feeling within her, spanning from the Renaissance and Baroque eras with their mastery of light and dramatic backgrounds to the German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists, who fearlessly embraced pure expression and vibrant experimentation with color. Tania often looks back to art history, relishing the opportunity to explore the intricate tapestry of human expression across the centuries. She finds solace in museums that showcase the artistic legacy left by generations of creatives, propelling her own artistic journey by their formidable influence. However, Tania also acknowledges the power and impact of contemporary female artists who push boundaries, creating a language uniquely their own. She cites renowned figures such as Cecily Brown, Mikalene Thomas, Dana Schutz, and Cindy Sherman among her influences, celebrating their fearlessness and creativity.
Doodling as a Creative Escape
Doodling has always held a special place in Tania’s creative process. With two books dedicated to drawing and doodling, she acknowledges the pivotal role that this form of art played in her earlier years. During her time as a print designer, when her own drawing time was limited, Tania found solace in doodling on post-it notes and any available piece of paper. Her books emerged from these moments of artistic release. Although her focus has shifted towards direct drawing on the canvas during her painting process, the initial sketches she creates retain the spirit of doodling, capturing the essence of spontaneity and freedom.
Commercial Art: Lessons in Discipline and Boldness
Tania’s experience in the commercial art setting has had a profound impact on her artistic journey. Working in this environment taught her the art of discipline, encouraging her to consistently create and push boundaries. The constant demand for new designs fueled her determination to explore new territories within her own artistic practice. Tania finds solace in bringing her own unique vision to life on a larger scale, after being confined to smaller-sized artworks for commercial purposes. The bold use of colors and the grandeur of her pieces serve as testaments to the liberation she experienced when she broke free from the constraints imposed by others. The influence of her commercial art background can be seen and felt in the scale and vibrancy of her gallery works.
A Peek into Telenovela Life: Tania Marmolejo’s Solo Show