They say, art is not for everyone? but those who possess the talent are exceptionally gifted. They create masterpieces out of the ordinary and leave an audience speechless. Our artist in conversation today is the talented Ricardo Maya from Nicaragua. He is a brilliant artist who has so much to offer.
How long have you been painting?
The beginning of this journey was when I was still a child. I remember my class notebooks were always filled with drawings. For me, these drawings were a door to the imagination which was always open. When I was about 5 or 6, I used to make little figures out of mud bricks, it was exciting to discover little faces or masks. It was a wonderful time and never did I think I would be a professional one day.
Who are your greatest influencers?
My influencers have been a part of my journey at different stages. As I was born in Cuba, the generation of Cuban painters from 1940 - 1950 inspired me in an important way. I did many social and political art in the 90's in Cuba, which made me venture into conceptual art. Cubist painters; Braque, Picasso and Juan Gris and the surrealists; Dechirico, Magritte and Salvador Dali were examples to follow as a student. I have also acquired the styles of Latin American art, the Mexican school with its Muralists, Frida and Don Rufino Tamayo.
Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are you self-taught?
I have a degree in Art Education, specializing in Fine Arts. It was an important step for me. I believe that education is very important fundamentally. Art is complex and many times your shortcomings become the strengths. So I would not discourage anyone starting out in the world of art. For me, Art is like praying, each one has something different to say to God about himself, some do it better and others, but in the end, God listens to all our prayers.
Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate this particular style?
I am a wanderer between neo cubism and neo surrealism, sometimes a mix of both. I suppose these styles are in me because of their formal manner and expressive power. I assume they suit my personality or my personality suits these styles.
What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?
Graphic designing is a passion which has gone hand in hand with painting and music. But above all, I love Jazz music. Music in general has a way of improving our sentiments. And Jazz music in particular has a way of producing an incredible mood and has a full range of complexity.
Could you walk us through your process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?
I honestly don't like to make sketches unless they are overly complex or character-laden works. Although the process changes with age, I basically work in layers. I prepare the backgrounds with at least 5 layers using everything I can think of and then paint. I think an image is always born from a vision that can be given to you by a song, a movie, a photograph or a particular design and that leverage for experimentation must be allowed, for me the work has to have a percentage of surprise because otherwise I lose interest and it becomes difficult to finish it.
Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate into your style and what to leave as pure fun?
Painting is a constant search, there is always something that amazes you. I learn something new every day. Technology has helped a lot in this area and also we can learn from many people. I love learning about new processes and I try as much to incorporate them into my work. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much, but it is always interesting to learn what is out there.
Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over into being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do to make that leap?
I honestly do not think about my position in this field. I enjoy what I do and I want to have livelier illusion that I had since I was a child, the intact curiosity and the desire as well. The artistic work matures on its own, it goes hand in hand with the artistic skills which take time to be refined. For me, what is important is for things to progress.
How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are those goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so, why?
When you are young, you want everyone to know you, but over the years' priorities change. These last two years of the pandemic have been very hard and I have highly valued what I do. Because I love what I do. My priority is to paint, this is not an easy profession, but it gives me incredible pleasure and I am grateful to God and to live for that. I don't set goals; I just want the painting that I am working on, to turn out better than previous one.
How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it's a useful platform for artists?
The experience with Aartzy is very positive and I think it is a very useful platform for artists. I know it can be improved and hopefully in the future, I hope I can have a space for physical exhibitions.
Ricardo Maya's art collection can be viewed and purchased through https://www.aartzy.com/artist/ricardo-maya
Manesha Peiris (2021)