Artist Spotlight: Taking in the world

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 12:29 AM
Artist Spotlight: Taking in the world by Nathan Brennan
Photo: Nathan Brennan

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

This Frida Kahlo quote rings true for Edinboro artist Victoria Manzano. Manzano — a junior psychology major and illustrator — uses her art as a way to express herself and her emotions.

She is no stranger to illustration. Having started drawing at a young age, she said, “I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon.” And while Manzano is majoring in psychology, art is still a major part of her life. She has even been considering adding an illustration minor in order to continue to make art.

Specifically, she likes to focus on the motion and reality of the human body: “[I draw] anything I can observe in a mirror or in real life, just so I can practice form.”

In classes, Manzano mainly draws still-life, which consists of drawing still objects in order to capture their form from a certain light source. However, in her personal artwork, she tends to draw cartoons.

As for what inspires her artistry, she named “anybody who does art.”

Manzano added: “Anyone who draws or has their art out there to show others is really inspiring to me…It’s part of themselves, you know?”

Seeing others make art not only helps with creativity, but inspires Manzano to pour her own feelings into works, making them uniquely her own. This was a common theme of Manzano’s: self-expression. 

Where other outlets fail, art has a certain way of allowing her to properly share emotions. Put simply, she said, “It gives me a voice.”

“Back at home, I couldn’t really be heard,” she continued. “My emotions are usually silenced.”

This was where art came in. She explained, “Honestly, because I was expected to be perfect, be silent, be all kinds of things I wasn’t...art was the only way that I could express my emotions, say what I want to say, and get to know who I am in a world that doesn’t welcome me.”

Indeed, the cycle of self-expression and inspiration even helps her out of a creative funk. She described two types of funks she gets into: the first is where she simply doesn’t know what to draw; the second is where she is tired, depressed or doesn’t have the proper motivation to do art. 

In both instances, she relies on her emotions and her favorite artists to bring her back. When she doesn’t know what to draw, she simply lets her hand guide her to “draw her emotions,” as she put it. When she is depressed, she looks again to other artists she likes, such as Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci, and finds her creativity once more. 

As for her future plans, Manzano has been considering a career in psychology while continuing to make art through freelance illustration.

In addition, an alternative route could have her take up art therapy. As defined by Psychology Today, “Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art.” 

Regardless of what career she ultimately chooses, Manzano has found a path of creativity in which she can follow for the rest of her life.

Nathan Brennan | ae.spectator@gmail.com

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