Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS
This week’s guest is Mahlia Amatina, who is an abstract artist. At the time we recorded the interview Mahlia was based in Barcelona on an Artist Residency with artists from all around the world, but she’s usually based in Berkshire. The residency allowed her time to dedicate to her work and connect with other artists.
What you will learn in this episode
• How Mahlia became an artist
• How Mahlia creates an abstract painting
• How Mahlia’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome inspired a series of paintings
• How volunteering in Nepal inspired Around the World in 80 Washing Lines
• How Mahlia likes making art accessible
• Mahlia’s latest art project
• Books that Mahlia likes
• How to connect with Mahlia
How Mahlia became an artist
Mahlia has always been creative but is a self-taught artist. She has always done photography, painting and ceramics and made her own clothes, but originally thought of it more as a hobby Art wasn’t Mahlia’s first career, she has a degree in Psychology and Business and then she worked in market research. After being made redundant, she decided she really wanted to be creative and do the things she wanted, before job hunting again. An abstract painting weekend changed everything and she loved it and became more serious about her art.
How Mahlia creates an abstract painting
Mahlia’s abstract paintings are always derived from reality. She might start with photographs or landscapes and pick out the main shapes or lines. She will sometime crop in on an area of a photograph or trace over areas.
How Mahlia’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome inspired a series of paintings
When Mahlia was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome just over two years ago she didn’t know much about it and decided to explore. She reached out to other people with Aspergers via a survey and asked questions about their experiences. She also asked them to use mark making to represent how they feel about an Asperger’s trait. She used the top traits and combined people’s marks into abstract paintings. She also used their phrases and words in the exhibits. Not only did she create a set of paintings she also now has a social network of friends with Asperger’s.
How volunteering in Nepal inspired an art project
Mahlia did 3 months of volunteer work in Nepal. When she heard about the Nepal earthquakes she felt she wanted to do something to help. She created a painting of a washing line in Nepal as part of a fundraiser. This originally inspired the idea to created more paintings of washing lines around the world. This eventually developed into creating and collating a collection of washing line photos around the world. It was about noticing something beautiful in something ordinary and telling a story. The project was called Around the World in 80 Washing Lines.
How Mahlia likes making art accessible
Mahlia printed the “Around the World in 80 Days” washing line photos onto clothes and exhibited some of them in launderettes. She has also exhibited one of her Asperger’s paintings in a hospital.
Mahlia’s latest art project
Mahlia is currently working on a new project exploring Aspergers Syndrome. This time she is taking a more inward point of view and wants to interpret her own thoughts and feelings in her work.
Books that Mahlia likes
Mahlia like the F**K it Life series of books by John Parkin which you can find at www.eff-it-helps.com/fuck-it-books/