The Heroine’s Journey of Aixa Oliveras

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love that I get to explore what it means to be human. And that I get the chance to explore that through paint and charcoal. I love that moment when everything else falls away, and it’s just you and your painting. That moment of “flow”. There’s nothing else like it.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is being with the people I love. Loving them, and them loving me, without holding back. Without fear.
Also, reading a good book before going to sleep, with my cat next to me, is a close second, lol.

What is my greatest fear? To have harm fall on the people I love. And to not have the opportunity to do all the things I want to do, a life unlived.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I can be very shy. It’s part of my introverted nature, and I think it’s caused some people to see me as either aloof or snobbish, lol. But it’s something that I’ve accepted as I’ve grown older. It’s a weakness, but it’s also my strength. To me, it’s part of what makes me a good painter.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Oh gosh, there’s so many amazing artists out there! It’s hard to narrow it down. But one person that comes to mind straightaway is Pamela Wilson. To me, she is a magician with a paintbrush. Her work is insane in such an awesome way. Also, artists such as Daniel Sprick, my art mentors Luis Borrero and Amber Lia-Kloppel, Steven Assael, Tanja Gant, Sharon Pomales Tousey, Diana Corvelle, among many others.

What is my greatest extravagance? For me, an extravagance would be taking a day off! Especially now, there is a lot going on! A day off where I could just be completely lazy, veg out on the couch binge-watching shows on Netflix with something like sushi or Ben & Jerry’s chocolate-raspberry swirl ice cream. Yeah, total extravagance, lol.

On what occasion would I lie? I would lie to save another person’s life. For me, honesty is really important. But if a lie is the difference between life and death, then yeah, I would lie in a heartbeat.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? How time-consuming it can be. I’ve gotten a bit faster, but I am a slow painter. And I tend to obsess about details in a painting. I have to sometimes tell myself, “stop it! It’s fine as it is!”

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I’m the happiest in my work when I reach the “flow” state. It’s a state that you reach when your hand, your mind, and all the theory you learned are in sync, and everything is effortless. It’s almost like a state of meditation. It’s sometimes hard to reach that state while working, but when you do, it’s no longer “work”, it’s joy.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I wouldn’t change anything about myself. I have an autoimmune disease, called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, that pretty much wreaks havoc on your body. There was a point where I would be having night sweats and chills all on the same night. Not to mention the heart palpitations, weight gain, and chronic fatigue. But in its own way, having this disease has taught me to take charge of my health, and to not be so accepting of things, to question. So, even though its caused me hardship, I wouldn’t change it.

What is my greatest achievement in work? So far, my greatest achievement has been getting my work shown in a gallery in the US. I had shown in a few galleries in Puerto Rico, but having my work exhibited in a gallery in the States for the first time, that was a major thrill. And to go to the opening was so amazing. I couldn’t believe that I was actually there, lol.

Where would I most like to live? Where I’m planning to move now: California. I’m going there to study for my MFA in Painting, at Laguna College of Art and Design. I visited Laguna Beach last year for the campus tour and loved it. And weirdly enough, California sometimes reminds me of Puerto Rico. A close second is Prague, which I’ve always thought to be a beautiful city.

What is my most treasured possession? My aunt’s letter, which she gave to me days before she died of stomach cancer. She tells me some very important things in that letter. If my house was burning down, I would first save my cat, and then go after that letter. It’s that important to me.

What is my most marked characteristic? My sense of humor. I can be pretty shy, but once I get to know you and feel comfortable around you, I can be a total goofball, lol.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Old San Juan has so many beautiful spots! It’s a place with history going back 500 years. But for me, one of the most inspirational spots lies at a point in Paseo de la Princesa. There’s a small beach with a pier next to it, surrounded by trees, with the fort in the distance. You hear the sound of the waves and see the lights of the sunset, and you feel at peace. That’s my go-to spot for inspiration.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Again, really tough to answer, because Old San Juan has so many great spots! One really good spot is SanSe, which has some really delicious tapas. Another is El Picoteo. They have the best passionfruit mojitos I’ve ever had.

What books influenced my life and how? A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle is one. I read that book as a kid, and it was like an entire universe of possibilities opened before my eyes. Another book that is also very important to me is Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. A survivor of the Nazi death camps, he found the key to finding one’s meaning in life in the most cruel and unforgiving place on earth. And that when everything is taken away from you, you still have a choice. And that is in how you react to things.

Who are my favorite writers? Madeleine L’Engle, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, and Juliet Marillier.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? This one’s hard, because my taste in music is really eclectic! But if I had to narrow it down, I’d listen to something like “Touched” by VAST.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? That would be one Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser, from the Outlander series. A WW2 combat nurse, whisked back in time to 1700’s Scotland. A character who is strong and iron-willed, but also has a deep well of compassion, empathy, and a really great sense of humor. Her true north is her love for her husband Jamie, and love in general. How can you not love a character like that? Lol.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My parents, and my Aunt Rita. My mom went through some pretty awful things as a teen, which caused her to develop clinical depression. But even with dealing with all the trauma, she raised me and my brother and fought like hell to get better. Her indomitable spirit inspires me. I got to know my Aunt Rita for such a short time before she died, but she left a deep impression on me. Every time I go out, I wear a ring that I inherited from her, to remember her by, and as a reminder to be strong like she was.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? I’m a major sci-fi geek, so I would be putting my geek cred at risk if I don’t mention Star Wars, lol. Also, the Indiana Jones movies. Mostly sci-fi movies from the eighties, since they’re such a part of my childhood.

What role plays art in my life and work? Art informs nearly everything in my life. From the books I read to the movies/tv shows I watch, they influence how I think about art, and vice versa. There’s a quote by C.S. Lewis that goes something like, “art has no survival value, but it’s one of those things that give value to survival.” That sums up for me how important art is, and its role in my life.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My two best friends, who are probably reading this right now. They know who they are, lol. I’ve known one for ten years now, and another I met a year ago through Facebook. They are not only my partners in crime but also my rock.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I think it would be cool to collaborate with other artists on a project, to create an artist collective. In terms of galleries, I’d love to continue working with Abend Gallery in Denver (they’ve been wonderful), and also get a chance to exhibit at RJD Gallery in NY and Sirona Fine Art in Hallandale Beach, FL.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018? I would love to meet many of my friends on FB who are also artists! People who I’ve known for many years online, but not yet in person. Now that I’m moving to California, I might actually get the chance now.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? Really looking forward to moving to California and working on my Master’s Degree. Also, if any opportunities and/or calls for entries pop up, I’ll definitely pursue them. But for now, my focus is going towards getting my MFA.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I’ll be busy studying at LCAD, but I also have work currently available at Abend Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? That as long as you live your life pursuing that which you love, that which gives you joy, your passion for that will never fade. Love is the fuel, for passion and for life.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Pamela Wilson, Lacey Lewis, Amber Lia-Kloppel, Sara Nordmark and Omalix Arlette. All amazing artists. It would be wonderful to read their stories.

How can you contact me?
Website: www.aixaoliveras.com
Email: aixa@aixaoliveras.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AixaOliverasFineArt/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/aixa_oliveras

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