Mara Galvao's paintings express her passion for Brazil; the country where she was born and raised. Her art reveals the raw, rustic, and natural elements of her home country, while also capturing Brazil’s rich, colorful, and spontaneous culture. Mara’s creative process is intuitive and free of meaning. She explores the beauty of color and texture, shaping the surface of her paintings by pouring, pasting, scraping, and remodeling. The movements of her brush and the application of materials come to her spontaneously as she lets the work speak to her, only stopping when the piece tells her.
Can you tell us about your process?
A passion for the arts and cultural influences, together with an adventurous spirit and a lot of curiosity, have dictated the intrinsic trajectory of my artistic side.
Can you tell us about your work?
As an abstract expressionist, my art is above all free and experimental. Simple yet complicated, calm and energetic, solid and fluid. The rule is to have no rules but to let every feeling, movement, and desire act freely on canvas, paper, or wood.
My exploratory journey incorporates marks, brush strokes, spatulas, and whatever tools I might find interesting. In addition to traditional mediums like acrylic paints, oils, oil sticks, pencils, charcoal, ink, watercolors, and pastels, I also use Brazilian coffee powder, wood pulp, and marble powder to achieve my unique textures. I am constantly exploring new mediums and available resources.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a professional artist?
I have always been involved in creative environments since my childhood. In my family, we have singers, composers, artisans, and painters… As a child, I thought I would be a singer when I grew up, but my passion for colors, textures, and fashion led me to other paths.
When you are looking for inspiration, what resources do you turn to?
Almost everything related to art inspires me, especially watching films about the life of great master painters or new contemporary artists. Visiting museums and galleries, in person or online, and watching new artists brings me inspiration. Watching video tutorials inspires me. The creativity of other artists fascinates me and makes me run to the studio and start a new series, explore new techniques, or go back to a piece that I was stuck with. Visiting and buying new stuff (even without needing it) inspires and excites me. I can spend hours in an art store browsing the multitude of things, deciding on a paint color or a new product.
Walk us through a typical day in your studio. What is your routine?
I have to confess, I'm not a morning person. I usually arrive at the studio around 11 am after eating breakfast (I'm not myself if I don't have a little Brazilian coffee) and checking in with my family both here and back in Brazil. I always like to say good morning to my three children and two granddaughters along with practically my entire family. I also check in on my business and what's happening in the world.
Once I’m in the studio, though, I don’t stop. Depending on what I'm working on, finishing a series or starting a new one, working on a commissioned artwork or preparing for an exhibition, I stay until evening or late into the night, or until I feel like I have been able to express what I have been trying to.
Finding the right rhythm to be productive in the studio can be a challenge, what advice do you have for staying productive and focused?
If you have one, please tell me…Just kidding.
I have worked through the years to find my flow, and I believe every artist has their own creative process. I found out that my strategy works really well for me. It's an organized mess, with not much discipline around the start or end time, or even days of the week. I just let my creativity flow without interrupting it, and so far I have been very happy with the results.
What advice do you have for combating creative block?
What works for me is to dive into my sources of inspiration. I also love to travel and when I come back I'm full of ideas and projects.
As an artist, how do you measure success? Can you recall a specific event in your career that made you feel successful?
For me, success is subjective and transitory like almost everything in life. I remember an art exhibition at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Ca. The show was a success and the next day I received two invitations to exhibit my art in New York City and at a Biennial in Italy. I felt that my art was being appreciated and welcomed by the public. That had a very important impact both for me personally and for my career
How do you see the art market changing? Where you do see yourself in this transition?
Everything changes all the time. Transition is something that is part of our lives and we have to adapt. Let's keep moving forward and see where we go. In Brazil, there is a saying, "Let the boat sail, and let's see where it will anchor.”
What advice do you have for artists who are beginning to build their careers?
Find a mentor in someone you admire and get advice and guidance from great professionals. We all have different goals, we do and want different things. Don't try to figure out everything by yourself; people love sharing their journey. And by reaching out you can save your time and energy to work on and create your art.
Do you consider yourself, and all artists, to be entrepreneurs? Why or why not?
I do consider myself and ‘serious’ artists to be entrepreneurs. We as artists have started a business, most likely faced financial insecurities in the beginning and ventured into the unknown, all because we want to turn our passion into a business.
Failure is an inevitable part of success in any field. Do you have advice for overcoming setbacks?
Don't give up, don't give up, and don't give up. This way of thinking is already a success in itself. Not everyone manages to resist and gives up without knowing they are already achieving their goal through their trials and errors.
What sparked your interest in partnering with TurningArt?
There are many companies out there that really respect and help artists to succeed. And TurningArt is one of them. From the beginning, when we first started communicating I have felt respected and appreciated for my art and hard work. Their program is innovative and, therefore, promising.
What does having your artwork in the workplace and other commercial or public spaces mean to you?
It means the world to me. I don't know how to explain it exactly. It is a mixed feeling of giving, acceptance, and gratitude.