Mrs. B. wanted “Indians”


Mrs. B. was my fourth grade teacher at the Bryker Woods Elementary School in Austin, Texas. Since I was leaving the USA after three years there, to return to my home country, she came up with the idea of having Venezuelan days in the classroom as a farewell from my classmates. My dad was invited to play Venezuelan folks music with his “cuatro”, a four string guitar similar to the ukulele and we talked about our typical food (arepas, hallacas, etc.), traditions, how we spent christmas, and so on.

At the end of these events, my teacher asked me to paint a picture of Venezuela. So I did.
At that time, Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, was a very cosmopolitan
and modern city (before socialism took over) with beautiful big green parks, very tall buildings and lots of traffic. And that was the painting she got.

The thing is, Mrs. B. wanted “indians”!

 

There are many aborigines in my country, but very far away from the big cities. At that age, the only “indians” I had seen were on US American TV.

So, I made this very elaborate and beautiful painting of,
what for me, were indians:
pretty Hawaiian girls with palm skirts dancing hula-hula at a Luau while some Apaches with their feathers were galloping around on their horses.

Think of it as “Gilligan’s Island” meets “The Love Boat”.

That was my first comission! And Mrs. B. was so happy.

Take a look at how this collage started.

Two weeks of painting very quirky faces

 

I’m already two weeks into the „100 Day Project“ (#the100dayproject) from Elle Luna (@elleluna) in Instagram, painting for my 100 days of very quirky faces (#100daysofveryquirkyfaces), and I’m loving it!
The community is so supportive, and being part of such a creative movement thrills me. Please follow the project hashtag, not only mine, so you can see the amazing things people are doing worldwide in Instagram.

I’d been drawing my daily faces since August 2016 in pencil and a crayon, but having „dared to go full painting in acrylics” and take part in the project has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m enjoying every bit of it!

I say “dare” because with a one year old, you never know if you’ll be able to post or even do a drawing a day. A painting, even if in a small format like these (A5), is so much more work than my sometimes tiny drawings. The latter I would sometimes draw with Mathilda jumping on top of me; a painting, never ever so.

I have an art space in my flat where I can expand in time and complexity, to pour my heart over these, my daily paintings of very quirky faces.

*The image above shows my favorite paintings so far and then Instagram’s favorites. We partially agree  😉 and they are all available for purchase. If you’re interesed write to art@atamayka.com

Humor is so Venezuelan


One thing I didn’t recognize in me as being Venezuelan, even after more than 18 years of being away from my home country, is humor. I didn’t recognize it until shortly. After seeing all these years of artwork as well as the posts and texts in my website, I discovered humor is one of the binding forces in my life.

Humor is so Venezuelan. We laugh about ourselves, about life, bad luck… pretty much about everything.

“Al mal tiempo buena cara” (put a good face in bad times) is something you learn as a child and “Reír para no llorar” (laugh so you don’t cry) sounds a bit like “fake it ‘till you make it”. I guess it’s our way of being optimistic or bringing about happiness out of thin air. We just smile.

I tried and tried to add seriousness to my style, to the way I do things, I even wrote my statement in the third person like many artists do, but that just isn’t me. Besides, all of my drawings start with a guessing game, there’s a playfulness to every piece I make.

Authenticity is important for me. And I am so Venezuelan, I’ll just go on laughing at myself, my work and my world.

*If you’re interested in purchasing a piece from the 100 Urban Faces series, please contact me at art@atamayka.com

The many faces of an artist

Atamayka-Faces-ArtistAt night, my very vivid dreams fuel the projects I have in my mind. I remember working on a piece of clay, all night, to make a sculpture… in my dreams. I woke up and ran to make the lady of my dreams before I would forget her. Too bad I didn’t even make a picture of her, as she sold immediately. So you see, I really am working all day and night.

I could be doing this forever without selling a thing. But don’t get me wrong, I do want to sell all of my art pieces. But if I didn’t sell them, would this whole urge to make art be worth it? Yes! Sustainable? No! My basement can only hold so many pieces.

Being a sustainable artist means that you will also be a business woman, a marketer, a salesperson, a writer, an accountant, an archivist, etc. I’ve been making short funny videos lately, how about adding musician to the mix?

 

(The painting above is available at the gallery Kunstraum Hopfgarten from Peter Ainberger. If you are interested in other paintings you see on my Instagram feed or my website, please contact me at art@atamayka.com)

100 days of drawing very quirky serendipitous faces

Atamayka-100dayofdrawingquirkyfaces-100dayproject-03 I‘m taking part in the “100 Day Project”, an initiative started online, in Instagram by Elle Luna, four years ago. It’s supposed to be a short creative activity that people decide to do everyday for 100 days. To be held accountable, you are to publish every one of those daily “works” on Instagram and use the hashtag of the project and of your own personal project. It’s easy to achieve if the project at hand is something you love to do and it only takes from five to ten minutes of your time. For example, a very creative guy painted his left hand 100 days in a row.

I’ve been making a daily drawing of very quirky faces independently since August 2016, I start with random lines made with my eyes closed and let serendipity take over, until I find something, mostly “someone”.

After my daughter Mathilda was born I decided to draw a quirky face every day for a year, so my hands wouldn’t “rust” from inactivity. And they are really easy for me to do, just a pencil and one color. I do them when she’s busy playing or sleeping. The more elaborate drawings, in full color or on the Procreate App (digital), I make when someone’s taking care of her and I have at least an hour of undisturbed bliss.

Atamayka-100dayofdrawingquirkyfaces-100dayproject-01I have to admit that, what had always been a fun game to me, is not so fun anymore. Every day doing the same thing is boring. My hands are itching for action, that is “art in action”. I want to use collage, acrylic painting, watercolors, pencil, crayons, pastel, etc. to put back excitement in what has turned into an almost mechanical work.

I’m really looking forward to April the 4th, I can hardly wait for my #100daysofdrawingveryquirkyserendipitousfaces to take off! I will start each work with random materials, colors and shapes, maybe even a picture, and I’m eager to see who I find and how it will turn out.

I find this will be a fun way of celebrating one complete year of daily tales of serendipity!

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The weird artist – featuring Angry Sally

 

In times where most of what you see gives you the feeling of „been there, done that“ and taking into consideration the actual state of affairs on this planet: nowadays, finding humor in things is not such an easy task.

Humor, for me, comes out naturally. It’s part of my Venezuelan upbringing, we make jokes and laugh about absolutely everything. Even in the darkest of situations – like the actual political, economical and social disaster in my country – my people will laugh and joke about it, too.

My art pieces always have that quirky and playful component,
here in Austria you say “ein bisschen Humor muss sein”
(there has to be at least a bit of humor).

I think humor is vital for all of us!

The absolute start of a painting or drawing is, in my case, serendipitous and the development of it takes a life of its own. Staying true to your line, even when you are bombarded 24/7 with images that could influence an outcome or being tempted to do what is trending, is what I do. Trends are not my thing.

Daring to be playful, portraying the weird and quirky is what I do.080_100 Urban Faces_Angry Sally by Atamayka

Oh, by the way. Why do you think she’s so angry?
Maybe someone took her cab.

The 100 Urban Faces series of wall sculptures are available. For details, please contact me at art@atamayka.com

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One sentence stories:
„… and so finally, he took the fish.“

Atamayka Daily Drawings - He took the fish / Y por fin, tomó el pescado / und so, hat er sich für den Fisch entschiedenMy cousin will move from Turin-Italy to China at the beginning of 2017. It has gotten me thinking about the early stage in which you move to a new country.

My home country is Venezuela, but i‘ve had to adapt to the U.S.A., Spain and Austria. You have to not only understand a new language, but you also have to learn how to interpret a whole new set of body language signs.

Like when some cultures nod, in what we western people would understand a yes, to mean no.

Our intimate moments, deep within our heads, translate into mimics. These gestures are conditioned by cultural and social learning. And they are also read according to our cultural and social backgrounds.

For example, how many interpretations of the face above would we find?

  • Tiredness of living
  • Sadness (maybe because my cousin is leaving Europe 😉  )
  • Dissapointment
  • Trying to listen to what someone is saying in the background
  • Making a decision

I wonder what this face would suggest in Asia or Africa…
Are our cultures so different that we might interpret something totally different?

In my case, I was looking at this when I was drawing him…
Atamayka-Paxos-Greece

 

So, this is my one sentence story:
„and so, he took the fish“

 

 

Atamayka Daily Drawings - He took the fish / Y por fin, tomó el pescado / und so, hat er sich für den Fisch entschieden

 

+ (Note: For inquiries, please contact me at art@atamayka.com) +

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Stories behind the paintings:
Human nature and new year’s resolutions

2017 New Year’s Resolution: to fly high like a bird. Let’s start with the beak! Let me get the bird part right first.Is there anything left of our new year‘s resolutions now that January is over?
I finished this acrylic painting as well as the one below in January 2017, a few days ago; in a time where most of us look at the year we left behind and also look forward to new projects.

The “Let me get the bird part right” painting above, is a bit of me laughing at myself, at this human tendency to tackle things that are not so important instead of directing our efforts to the actual task at hand. Have you found yourself doing so?
I surely have. I started making daily drawings in Instagram in August 2016, but I didn’t touch the app until after I made a mini course about it, read interviews, spoke to some people about it, read a manual… ***laugh*** That’s me, afraid of social media. But you see, I didn’t even touch Instagram that whole year until I had done everything else.

In my country you say: You have to take the bull by the horns. I try to remember that when I want to tackle what’s essential.

New Year’s Resolution: to stop this fight inside my head. Hand me the boxing gloves, please! Punch it out!With “Punch it out” I ask myself:
“To inform myself and find understanding or to react in blind fear?”
This is something we’re seeing so often nowadays in the world, fighting violence with violence and hate with hate. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only LIGHT can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only LOVE can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

+ (Note: All paintings are available. For details, please contact me at art@atamayka.com) +

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Stories behind the 100 Urban Faces:
Ernst, the girls and Co.

I usually arrange the 100 Urban Faces I have exhibited to build up a story. Angry Ernst and the judging woman, big-eyed Alfred and this passionate woman are almost always together.

Atamayka-100UF-Ernst-Girl
You don‘t really know what this woman is thinking when she looks at Ernst, but by the look in her eyes she might be making fun of him.

Atamayka-100UF-Alfred-Passion
And when Alfred stares at this passionate woman, I guess that his mind is racing. I wonder, is this his wife, his neighbor? It makes me laugh.
But then, each person will see their own story. The passion I sense may be a frustration cry to something Alfred said in the head of another spectator. If you see his torso – directed away from her, maybe Alfred is considering running away…

more about the 100 Urban Faces series

 

+ (Note: The 100 Urban Faces series of wall sculptures are available. For details, please contact me at art@atamayka.com) +

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Stories behind the 100 Urban Faces:
I‘m outta Love

It‘s an incredible feeling to be like an alchemist. The wonders that can come out of your working hands with the use of something so simple as clay – technically just earth – and water. For me it’s not only the appearance of faces, but more about the emotions portrayed. Emotions we all recognize and have felt.

This piece I started by drawing random lines made with my eyes closed which I then transferred to clay. And although not all faces look like someone I know, this one reminded me of someone.
As I finished her I thought it looked so much like Anastacia, the singer of „I‘m outta Love“, remember her? The way she moves her lips and looks a bit angry, just like in her video.

Serendipity was again the origin of this face and of all the faces I‘ve made in clay for the 100 Urban Faces series. More information here.

+ (Note: The 100 Urban Faces series of wall sculptures are available. For details, please contact me at art@atamayka.com) +

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