Juxtapoz Magazine – North by Southwest: Tania Marmolejo Andersson’s Global Folk Art


New York-primarily based artist Tania Marmolejo, style illustrator, commercial artist, creator and painter, is a imaginative jack of all trades. Her Dominican and Scandinavian ancestry germinates a unique heritage that births a bold and arresting fantastic art fashion. On the eve of her solo show at GR Gallery in NYC opening June 10, 2022, Juxtapoz sat down with Tania to go over how this sort of a lineage influences her get the job done, how motion performs into the exercise, as well as some present artists on her radar.

Evan Pricco: Do you recall the 1st piece of art that moved you?
Tania Marmolejo: I believe that it ought to have been paintings by my maternal grandmother in Sweden. She passed away before I was born, but her art—paintings and drawings—were remarkable and generally captivated me. I would sit and study them for hrs in my grandfather’s home and my individual. I now have her sketchbook, which is my most prized possession, and I nonetheless really like wanting by it. Her drawings certainly had been the major affect on my own drawing and portray as I grew up. The two my grandmothers have been artistic, but my maternal grandmother experienced the doodles and cartoonish type that were extra my flavor. I have normally felt connected to her via my artwork.

PERRA DESCARADA oil on canvas 65 x 67in 2022

You have the two Dominican and Scandinavian lineage, and I marvel what you have gleaned from each and every of their inventive influences, specifically due to the fact both equally are abundant in folk artwork traditions. And, exactly where do you see your ancestry converging when you paint? 
I am undoubtedly influenced by the two lineages. In some cases they present themselves independently, where by a portray is definitely extra “Caribbean” in colour and concept, or “Scandinavian” in its moodiness and color tale. The Dominican impact seeps as a result of me in shiny colors, specifically the blues and greens of the mountains and character about where I grew up. The unbelievable colour of the h2o- turquoise, and occasionally a darker skin tone in the character. The Scandinavian influence displays in a darker palette in the backgrounds, also affected by the Swedish children’s publications about trolls and fairies that I grew up studying, and the blonder people that quite a few moments are straight influenced by my mom. From time to time in a portray I will combine the influences, and unusual coloration mixtures and moods come up, which I seriously like because which is mainly me: A muddy, colorful combine of influences.

What do you imagine is the hardest matter for an artist to demonstrate about system? And right here I am, asking you! I believe what I necessarily mean is, what portion of the procedure of making a painting, at what phase, is it just instinct? 
I do not brain explaining my course of action! I do not like crafting artist statements while, because my intentions and themes improve as I do the job. Every artist has their own system that establishes the consequence of their do the job, so it may perhaps be the most important component of developing. I do not sketch my is effective in advance, for instance, as my perform is entirely expressionistic. I hardly ever know what the portray will basically search like in the finish. I may well have an notion, a particular approach, but as I paint, the expressions on the faces could commence doing their very own exciting point – and I try out not to pressure it. So many moments, even if I search at a reference in the starting, the expression, color and temper of the portray will convert out wholly in different ways than I had to begin with planned. And I attempt to get as significantly of the painting done in one or two days as probable, even if I have to go slower afterwards to allow the paint to dry prior to earning any specifics, since I function with oils. So it is a quite quick, instinctive and purging initial approach, and then it slows down a very little and I genuinely have to remember to be client since I constantly want to start off a new 1.

Which artists are you on the lookout at these days, and who is an affect?
I think a lot more than artists today— nevertheless there are lots of I admire, I am much more motivated by artwork movements from the previous. Not in a direct feeling, but additional for the feeling— from Renaissance and Baroque actions for their enjoy on light-weight and spectacular backgrounds, to the German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists for the pure expression in the work and experimentation with coloration. I look towards—backwards—to art historical past much more than existing artwork. I prefer museums that clearly show human expression by means of the ages, more than modern day art museums. But I do admire many artists today that do not necessarily straight impact my function, particularly female artists who are breaking limitations and developing a language all their have. Cecily Brown, Mikalene Thomas, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman. Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, Claire Tabouret, Genieve Figgis, Jesse Mockrin, Lisa Yuskavage…the checklist goes on. So several badass girls artists!

SIDE LOOKS AND GLANCES oil on canvas 50 x 44in 2022

Let us communicate about doodling. You paint, and still you have two textbooks about drawing and just plain doodling. How does that enjoy in your day by day practice? 
I made use of to attract substantially additional than I do now, when I labored as print a designer for a number of yrs. I skipped my very own drawing time so substantially that I would doodle any chance I got, on submit-it notes and any paper I could get my hands on. That is wherever the Doodle guides come from, compilations from individuals situations. But these days, since I attract straight on the canvas when I paint— that has taken over—and although I also like to attract ink on paper and have exhibited them various times—I absolutely do it significantly less than portray. But the preliminary procedure of my paintings is a drawing (pretty free, but however a drawing), I suppose that counts!

How did functioning in a far more commercial art environment enhance what you do with your gallery work? I believe I can see a scale and bold use of shades that will have to have arrive from professional do the job. 
Actually, what I realized additional from working in a professional placing is the self-discipline it requires to continually produce. I’m generally pondering of the up coming “design” for my paintings, and I do the job extremely diligently, constantly. I have to truly travel and take out myself from my studio to rest and consider of a little something else. But the scale of my is effective is in fact a immediate consequence of possessing been restricted to scaled-down sized artworks for my layouts. It felt terrific to blow anything up in sizing as soon as I bought property and could operate on my possess art. It is also a direct consequence of staying advised my function was far too female and that I really should change it— and in protest I blew up the dimensions of the operates so you couldn’t escape the femaleness. But which is a different tale!

The experimental coloration combos are also a consequence of doing work with textile styles. I check out to have a astonishing ingredient of coloration somewhere in the portray, an accent that can notify a tale or liven issues up.

What was your concentration for the new exhibit at GR Gallery? What arrived in and out of the studio for you? 
I am however working on paintings for the solo show at GR Gallery, and the desire for summertime to get there appears to be subliminally functioning its way into my paintings. I experienced thought of portray the drama that follows me in the course of my lifestyle (due to the fact it can be really amusing and I had been in a gentle- hearted temper), so there is some of that drama in the faces and coloration schemes. The title is Telenovela Lifestyle in honor of these extremely extraordinary Latin cleaning soap operas that were in the qualifications at my friends’ homes growing up in the Dominican Republic. But hunting at the art now I realize there are a whole lot of beach locations and summertime in there too… I need to want it pretty terrible.

Are you the character in the get the job done? 
The people always have a lot of me in them mainly because they are centered on emotions I have or have had, experiences that have marked me, but they aren’t intended to be self-portraits. I produce the change-moi from an emotion and then set her cost-free in the environment to be herself and whomever she wishes to be for the viewer. I was commenting on this with my husband, who stated that it was so amazing that they all experienced a thing that produced them glance like me, but not automatically to each individual other. We came to the conclusion that they have the exact same mother- but distinct fathers. So there you go!

THE GLARING TRUTHS oil on canvas 52 x 60 2022

What is 1 matter you have finished about the very last calendar year, possibly purchased or practiced, that has adjusted the way you function on your art?
I feel the greatest point that occurred final calendar year was Covid, and that transformed a lot in my artwork. From generally doing almost nothing but paint since of the isolation, I remained incredibly centered on the modify in the art world that has suddenly brought numerous exhibitions and attention. I have so substantially operate to do that it has transformed my approach and designed me have confidence in initial instincts more, permitting an expression to form without hoping to change it—basically, to enable the get the job done stream in a quicker way, instinctively. In the earlier I could get the job done on a piece for months, and I do not have that luxury of time any more (however I think it is a superior influence).

We have been thinking a large amount about motion not too long ago, due to the fact certainly the earth was on standstill and we considered about movement in the abstract. Now the globe is opening and at war and we are considering about motion in the summary after once more. How does movement in good shape in your work? 
That is a pretty exciting observation. Motion is always a element of my do the job, I like to express the experience of the passing of time via a transferring storm in the qualifications, swirling clouds, ocean waves, leaves blowing, hair blowing in the wind… everything about the character is normally in movement and but she stands even now, viewing you or having her moment. My get the job done also evolves as I paint and experiment with it, so you will not effortlessly see a “style” all through a unique clearly show for the reason that I allow for the portray to transform as I perform. So, occasionally an exhibition can have several themes heading, and a experience of movement simply because it requires you to unique destinations.I am really distraught in excess of the war in Ukraine, for instance, and I can experience the characters’ faces starting to be a lot more somber, even nevertheless the history is not a war. I am not in that war, I can only be afflicted emotionally by what I see, and my interior self cannot ignore it. The paintings always evolve with my feelings and what occurs all over me, and that is a frequent resourceful drive and muse.

Tania Marmolejo’s solo display at GR Gallery in NYC opens June 10, 2022. 





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