She is a peculiar artist. And she’s peculiar herself. We’re of course talking about Mariana, a Miserável or Mariana, the Miserable One. The BEHANCE PT team decided to interview one of the most young and prominent artists in the graphic design area in Portugal nowadays… And we can say, in the very least, that it was a fun ride.
First of all… Why Mariana, a Miserável (Mariana, the Miserable One)?
Although it happened randomly, the name just fit like a glove. I have an annoying karma but I accept it as a good friend, and I celebrate that friendship with drawings. Being miserable it’s in the same day getting both stuck in an elevator, and, sometime later, being pushed to a wall by a man with the following approach: “girl, gimme 60 cents so I won’t mug you.”
I see… So, what’s the biggest difference between Mariana Ramos dos Santos (your actual name) and Mariana, a Miserável?
Being Mariana, a Miserável is being able to be someone else; it’s being able to have fun and have the comforting sensation that I am passing on the work and the responsibilities to another hands. It also originates a made up biography more poetic than the real one; although the end always possesses a hint of truth, in which I can say stuff like “I sold my heart at a souvenir shop to pay the water bills” or “I believe god is a divorced old man with a hearing disorder”.
I read somewhere that you wanted to be a florist, but apparently things didn’t quite go as expected. Are you satisfied with the path you eventually followed?
When I moved to Oporto, in the beginning of 2010, I even let a curriculum at a florist but they never called, because I didn’t have enough experience and probably needed a recommendation as well, so, I was sad. However, I feel very happy about what happened to me in the meanwhile, although it wasn’t planned at all.
Your style is defined as “not-knowing-how-to-draw” in your blog. How would you define that style, and consequently, your style?
Not knowing how to draw is exactly what the name implies, it’s looking at something and making it look completely distorted when drawing it on paper, just like if my eyes were shaky or I was drawing with my wrong hand. It’s a huge predisposition for disaster, lack of talent for everything and a lack of care with the materials. It’s inevitable, but I end up by taking advantage of all that.
In your portfolio, full of colors and unique shapes, is there any particular work towards which you have a special affection?
If you ask me that question in some time, probably I will say a different work from the one which I would say is my favourite today. I normally am much fonder of my most recent work.
Creatively speaking, do you have any preference regarding things/themes you like to represent?
I already said, and I will say again, that soap operas on TVI (portuguese TV channel) are a tremendous source of inspiration.
I believe we are all shaped by what is important to us. What is the one thing you consider the most important influence on your artistic vision?
Nothing special, really; life, small daily stuff, people, conversations, what I hear or read around there, what I feel, the thousands of images I see every day, music, and movies. Like I heard a while ago, we need to become sponges. I try to absorb a little bit of everything.
Every successful artist has a moment where they realize that their dream is starting to get wings. When did you realize your work was acquiring visibility?
My dream comes true from the moment I am doing what I love; the next step is to be able to live from that. The visibility (which is not so much yet), came when I realized my mother and my friends were not the only ones reading my blog.
I know your exhibitions are very personal and always have a matching theme. How did you feel when you exhibited for the first time? And nowadays?
My first exhibition was very complicated because I didn’t want to see the reaction of people to my drawings. I spent the whole time at a corner pretending I was only there for the pastries. Nowadays it’s almost the same.
There was a day when you were only a student at ESAD (Caldas da Rainha). What advice would you give to the small big artists in Portugal that have a voice to be heard?
Don’t wait for invitations. Look at what has been made lately, have good ideas (write them down), draw a lot, begin your own projects, fall in love for what you do.
Projects for the future?
Keep doing whatever makes me happy, and if I am lucky, one day, to be a florist. I accept proposals…
Thank you very much Mariana! The team from BEHANCE PT thanks you for the spared time. Good luck and keep up the good work!
Thank you BEHANCE PT and see you soon