Artist Interview: Maria Aragon

Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
My name is Maria Aragon and, for the most part, I am a self taught artist. I have always been creative – drawing and writing – from a reasonably young age.

What medium(s) do you work in & why?
I did not start doing formal landscapes though until my early 20’s: watercolors and then alkyd paint. In my 30’s I began working in oil paint. The materials I use in my drawings, which tend to be preliminary studies for oil paintings, range from regular graphite, ebony pencil, and colored pencils on up to pastel pencils and this year silverpoint.

What is your creative process like?
Usually I play with an idea first in graphite or either blue or red pencil, starting with rudimentary stick figures to nail down poses and then working up to more intensely finished drawings. Then I do some kind of underdrawing on gessoed canvas, usually followed by a tonal wash of paint. Then I start building up the layers of pigment.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
My biggest challenge is my lack of formal training in an educational setting. I’ve done it all the hard way – some reading, a lot of looking at artworks where I work part time at the National Gallery of Art, particularly the Renaissance artists and such artists as Redon. Then I just DO IT. Trial and error. Practice. Practice. PRACTICE.

Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece.

"Man Is In the Forest" by Maria Aragon

“Man Is In the Forest” by Maria Aragon

MAN IS IN THE FOREST: feat. Artemis (in her Native American guise), Dionysus and Cernunnos.
3 deities hanging out in the forest, minding their own business. You can thank Disney’s Bambi for the little jolt of inspiration on this somewhat whimsical piece. First, Artemis in her Native American guise: several years ago in the course of research for a novel, it occurred to me that Artemis would fit right in among the wild things in the Americas, and so you see her alternative appearance here. Next are Dionysus and Cernunnos (his first appearance in any of my works) are reacting to the sound ‘man’ or in this case men stomping about the forest on the hunt. Neither god looks happy and pity the wretched hunter who takes a pot shot at the first set of horns or antlers they see in these woods. You get the idea.

What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
The lovely and useful thing about Artomatic is quite simply the exposure it affords an artist. My work is a little exotic in terms of subject matter and presentation. I do not get offers to show my work in gallery settings because it is NOT modern or socially conscious/political. It has a Pagan-Renaissance sensibility and also invokes Eastern spiritual paths/philosophies via visual cues borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism. These sort of venues give one a chance to find an audience.

Certainly, they give my paintings a welcome vacation from the attic.

What is your website (or other method of contact):

You can see more of Maria’s work on display at Artomatic 2015 on the third floor, space 4-034.