GALLERY ARTIST INTERVIEW: MARIA VEGA

How old are you?
32

What is the primary medium you work in?
At the moment, I pretty much exclusively work with gouache and watercolors although I am dabbling in digital art a little bit now.

What is your favorite medium to work in?
Because I mostly work with gouache and watercolors, I’ve become the most familiar and comfortable with them. I almost feel an obligation to say that they’re my favorite because of the frequency with which I work with them, but my favorite medium that I’ve worked with has got to be oils. Nothing beats how buttery and creamy it feels to paint with them and the ease of its blendability. If it wasn’t such a high maintenance medium, I’d probably be working mostly with them.

What is your favorite subject matter?
Landscapes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy painting a variety of things, but there’s just something about a landscape or a setting that’s really able to capture a story and can elicit a wide range of emotional responses.

What art tools do you use, and do you have any tools or brands that you recommend?
I use gouache and watercolors interchangeably so long as I have tube of white gouache to mix in. My go to gouache brands are Turner Design Gouache, Winsor and Newton, and ShinHan for watercolors. For painting surfaces, I almost always use Canson illustration board or Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper. I’ve found most of my brushes in the clearance section of any art supply store. I’m not picky about them so long as they’re the size that I like. One thing that has really helped me recently has been my Sta-Wet palette. It’s kind of a pain to set up, but it allows me to work with my paints without having them dry out quickly and minimizes paint waste.

What sources would you recommend for artists that are interested in pursuing your art medium?
I’ve learned the most from watching other artists’ processes. Some of my favorite gouache painters who can be found on Youtube and/or Instagram are Nathan Fowkes (forever I stan), Tommy Kim Gouache, James Gurney, Critterosity, Tiffany Mang, and Jared Loves to Draw. “Painting in Opaque Watercolor” by Rudy De Reyna and “How to Paint Landscapes Quickly and Beautifully” by Nathan Fowkes are my absolute favorite reference books. If the time allows, I think taking even a basic introductory drawing course is incredibly beneficial as it will teach you how to observe.

How and when did you start creating artwork?
Like most artists, I remember always being “drawn” to paint as a kid. I’d paint and draw on the walls all the time, which I’m sure my parents appreciated. I was always involved in the performing and visual arts to some extent during my school years, but I didn’t actually begin to create art as an adult until my last quarter of college where I took an intro to drawing course and fell back in love with the process. It wasn’t until about three or two years ago that I decided that I wanted to seriously learn and become a better artist so I enrolled in a few introductory art classes at Pasadena City College to get a grasp of the basics. I’ve been doing my best to create on a regular basis since then.

If you could give any advice to your past-artist-self, what would it be?
Just keep going. Create as often as possible. Get all of the bad art out. You’ll learn from each piece even if your ego hurts from the result. Remember to have fun with the process no matter how frustrating it is. Enjoying the painful process is the part that matters. Don’t equate mistakes or abandoned pieces with failure– shift your mentality to think of it as a learning opportunity instead and move on. Create more than you consume. Oh, and please, please take notes after you complete a painting! Write about what worked and what didn’t and why, it’ll help with your growth immensely. Remember, big to small. Don’t get caught up in details. When in doubt, squint.

If you could create anything in the world, what would you create?
Some sort of art music video visual thing and an animal sanctuary.

What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
Hopefully to have the audience have an emotional response to my work and to have my work endure.

Are you ready for the Halloween season? Is it your favorite holiday? 
I’m ready for the treats and the weather shift, but I am not prepared for how quickly it’s arriving. It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays so long as I’m not surrounded by anything too scary. I enjoy a more cute leaning Halloween with safe scares and creative costumes.

What do you love most about The Haunted Mansion? 
I just love that there’s varying levels of scariness. There’s some pretty dark elements mixed in with more silly ones. There are definitely areas of the ride that still make me a little uneasy. Overall it has an undeniable elegance to it that I love.

Who is your favorite Grim Grinning Ghost/room at the Mansion? 
No fair! It’s so hard to pick! I’d have to say that my favorite character is probably Little Leota and my favorite areas are the hallway with the candelabra, the ballroom scene, and the “forest” with the crows right before entering the graveyard. I actually really don’t like to see Bones. Someone feed him and comfort him!

The 2003 Haunted Mansion film with Eddie Murphy, yay or nay? 
It’s fine.

Which is better and why: the traditional Haunted Mansion, or Haunted Mansion Holiday? 
I honestly love both, but I’d have to go with the original Haunted Mansion if I had to choose. Haunted Mansion Holiday can at times feel like it’s too crowded with decor.

Would you like to share any stories/experiences/special memories that revolve around The Haunted Mansion? 
For whatever reason, exiting through the ramp escalator with my parents and looking forward to seeing Little Leota has always been a very vivid, happy memory. Oh, and I hated the graveyard scene as a kid and would close my eyes through it because the jumping ghosts would terrify me.

Would you take a hitchhiking ghost home? 
No, thank you. I’ll remain a visitor.

Have you participated in the Artist Lodge Gallery before?
I have not. I’m excited to have this be my first time participating!

YOU CAN FIND MORE FROM MARIA HERE:
Webshop
Instagram

*Please note that all artwork is reposted with permission from the artists. Please do not use, alter, or repost the artwork without direct permission from the artists. Each artist may have a different Creative Commons license on their work/images and you will need to contact them directly in order to obtain permission for your uses.

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