I am an artist, wife and mother. Wine after 5 pm, Scotch before bed. I love cuddling with my Golden Retriever, and believe leopard print is a neutral!
As a child I remember receiving beautifully illustrated cards from my uncle Joe, who is an established artist in France. I anticipated those cards with every special holiday. I was awestruck each time and handled them like precious jewels. That experience sparked something in me that I did not yet know was going to fuel my fire to create.
My dream was to go to art school, but being the oldest of three daughters of an immigrant family, I knew I needed a more commercial career. After receiving my diploma in graphic design, I began building a successful career, following the rules and trying to control everything around me. It was my mentor and longtime friend Brad Hughes, who I miss dearly, that nudged me to live a little and awoke the rebel in me. I’ve always been creatively impulsive, it comes with the territory of curiosity and passion.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE?
I love the thrill of exploring and experimenting with a variety of methods of applying acrylic colour on different surfaces, taking big risks and looking for new combinations that I haven’t yet explored.
I begin with random brush strokes, then work unpredictably and intuitively, responding to the rhythm of the music and the direction the painting suggests to me. This is my favourite part of the process. It’s free and full of potential and not yet weighted down by the decision-making that enters into it later on.
In this stage, there is nothing to lose and I love the imperfect state of the work. What excites me is “to see what if…..” I begin building the composition and setting the tone for the piece. Sometimes the painting already knows what it wants and it is my duty as an artist to listen, surrender, watch and most of all trust. I allow the work to be what it wants to be and simply get out of the way.
My process is very humbling; I experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s very physical and time just passes by. It demands a lot of me both emotionally and physically.
I have explored many painting styles, but abstracts, that are intuitive, joyful and spontaneous, with the absence of subject matter -that keeps me up at night. Non-representational abstract art became a creatively freeing direction that evolved into my voice as an artist. My work has a strong base in colour and composition. My pieces are raw and fluid. Big canvases, brushes, palette knives, and my own hands dictate how paint colours are applied. I am very experimental and get bored easily, therefore I use mediums that allow me to let go and let the beauty happen freely.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT COLLECTION
I am currently working on two different collections. The first is around how music effects the way I create. Currently listening to Too Many Zooz. My daughter is a talented saxophonist, as a family, we love all kinds of music. The working title for this collection is “Music Made Me Do It” even within this collection I have different techniques. I have explosive marks on vintage sheet music (while listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons). Then I have random organic shapes that speak to each other all encapsulated under a brilliant resin finish.
The second collection is centered around humanity and I guess a response to the current global climate. Ubuntu – “I Am Because We Are” is often translated as “humanity towards others” and the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” We are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye, there is a oneness to humanity, that we become ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us. Large shapes come together to connect and create something bigger than all it’s parts. It’s reminder of our strength and power that is inside each of us.
DESCRIBE YOUR PAINTING STYLE
My work is raw, visceral, and immediate. It’s personal. Some of the paintings are voluptuous and lush while others are dark and penetrating. There’s a radical freedom in obscurity. I’m free to paint for myself rather than constantly looking over my shoulder comparing my work with others…or continually second guessing my paintings because of fear that the audience (clients, galleries, museums, curators, critics…even myself) won’t approve of it.
Abstraction is an interior landscape that depicts the artist’s imagination.
IS YOUR WORK SUBJECTIVE OR DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE TO CONVEY?
Definitely subjective. Looking at abstract art is an adventure you start by being willing to look. It demands your attention and encourages you to think, not only about what you are seeing, but what you are feeling. You are not just presented with something, you are asked to become a part of the process.
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIVING IN A CULTURALLY DIVERSE CITY/ART SCENE?
Hmmm…that’s a hard question. Winnipeg is so small, everyone knows everyone. It’s a great place to create and be inspired. I have my eyes set on a global audience and believe this is the place to start.
WE’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS!
I have several collaborations with like-minded business people who appreciate art. Small pop-ups and solo exhibits are in the works. If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
I want to spend the rest of my life collaborating with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor command nor understand.
Born in Faro Portugal, Manuela (Manny) Martins-Karman is a contemporary visual artist in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.Manny’s paintings are layered bursts of energy that record experience. She blends nature in the here and now with memories of past experiences. Shape, form, and line fall into a sea of emotion. Her daily life as an artist is a never-ending process of learning, seeing and experimenting. Manny’s works primarily in acrylic, and loves to switch it up with watercolour, mixed media, and drawing.