INTERVIEW: Mariella Angela
Writtenby Cameron Capers
We spoke with 21 year old LA based artist Mariella Angela about her emergence into the art world, lessons learned, and plans for the future.
It’s evident that music has a big impact on your art – what made you gravitate toward painting hip hop artists/celebrities?
It was never something I planned. One of the first portraits I did was of Tyler the Creator because I didn’t know what to get him for his birthday. In short, I was a huge fan of him. I love his music, but the root was that I love him. This was like 2013, literally when everyone was labeling him as like a devil worshiper and antichrist, blah blah but I don’t know those people were dumb. I’m getting off track. 2013 was a weird time for me, a lot of things were changing in my life and I think I just looked up to Tyler because of everything he was doing. He was doing something for kids (I was 18 turning 19 at the time), making us believe anything was possible & that’s what I needed at the time. So I ended up painting him and giving it to him for his birthday. After that I continued to paint, and it just made sense to me, it still does. I paint artists who influenced or impacted my life, whether it’s something they did or just from their music- I just happen to listen to a lot of hip hop.
Although you’ve been painting for a little over two years you’ve accomplished a lot so far. What are some goals you want to reach within the next few years?
I think the big one is opening up a café gallery in LA. It’s probably mad random but I can’t shake off this idea in my head. I don’t want to open a traditional gallery because I can’t imagine myself running one. I talk. A lot. So my lifestyle (eg. my family) and personality would never fit into the white wall scene. I want to open a place where people can come through, grab coffee or a bite to eat, and enjoy the art.
Also, I plan to put out a book. It was actually a goal of mine I wanted to accomplish before I turned 21 but I didn’t start working on it until May (month after my birthday) & planned to release it during the holidays, but it didn’t work out. It didn’t feel complete but it’ll definitely happen.
Most importantly, though not art related, I’m hoping to graduate college. I really wanted to go to art school/study art a couple years ago, but totally chickened out. I’ve always told myself the best decision I made for myself was not going because I was able to find me on my own terms. So while it’s a bitch going to school full time & trying to build a career as an artist, it’s something I need to do to prove to everyone that it could be done. Fuck a “starving artist.” Other than those, I’m just chillin.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned through your career so far?
That people liking my art does not equal people liking me, and vice versa. Especially in the digital age.
I used to always say, “If you love my art, then you love me; because my art is a reflection of me.” Then it just got to a point where it was like people couldn’t understand how that could be possible, so I spent days and months answering questions and trying to sound smart, trying to justify and prove the fact that look this painting of ____ is literally me. I think to artists, it’s an easy concept to grasp because that’s probably how they feel about their work. But to some people, they’re just seeing a picture on their iPhone screen of this rapper, “Cool, this is dope.” Find out this fat Asian girl painted it & they’re like “.. okay? What is this nerd doing??” And I can’t blame them, because they’re spending 5 seconds commenting about me then moving on with their life. It’s social media. I had to learn fast that 1000 likes doesn’t mean that 1000 people like me or make me anymore greater than I was when I got 999 likes. And that mean comment from a total stranger doesn’t make me whatever they said I was.
Favorite albums from this year?
I hate picking favorites because I feel like I forget stuff, but I don’t know what I always listen to off my head & not in order: You Should Be Here, B4.DA.$$, Cherry Bomb, Moovie!, & To Pimp a Butterfly.
Any big plans for 2016?
I don’t want to jinx anything, but a couple of shows outside of the US. I’ve been biting my tongue about it & haven’t told anyone what (or who) it’s for, BUT WHEN EVERYTHING’S SET IN STONE, I’ll probably be screaming on my rooftop. Other than that, nothing big really. And my next solo show for sure, I learned a lot from TWENTY-ONE and have grown a lot since then, it’s just time for me to take the next step. I’m really just excited for next year. Goood vibes, I feel it.
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