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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Portrait of an artist

    Who: Local painter Emilia Arana

    What: Her new exhibit “”Abstract Paintings: The Underlying Music”” is on display at the Conrad Wilde Gallery on North Fourth Avenue starting May 6th.

    Bio: Arana is a native of Nogales and has had paintings in the Jewish Community Center, the Old Pueblo Framework and the downtown public library. She is a full-time painter who works 40 to 50 hours a week.

    Wildcat: What inspires you?

    Arana: Music and literature. I feel like I’ve forged some sort of historical connection through listening to classical music and all of the reading that I do. I read a lot of novels, poetry, international literature.

    W: What art inspires you?

    A: I was trained as an art historian. I would say I’m carrying around a lot of art history and images in my mind now. I would say I’m equally inspired by Netherland painters like Vermeer as I am by abstract expressionists.

    W: What mediums do you work in?

    A: Oil and acrylic.

    W: What makes you a unique artist/gives you a unique voice?

    A: I think certainly my path to abstract art is unusual. I got a bachelor’s degree in the UA in accounting. I’m a pianist, then I got a masters in art history in ’97. That’s not a usual path to becoming an abstract painter, if there’s such a thing as a usual path. So that is different, and what I find often in a reaction to my work is people will say that they don’t like abstract art, but however, they say that there’s something that appeals to them.

    W: What is your most recent work?

    A: Most of the work at the Conrad Wilde gallery is very recent, so I’m prolific. I complete, on the average, a painting a week, so I can’t narrow any one thing down. I work from 5-foot square to 12 inches square.

    W: When did you start making art?

    A: I took my first art lesson six years ago at the drawing studio, which is right next door to the Conrad Wilde gallery. Before that I had no formal training to art. I started abstract painting 2 1/2 years ago.

    W: What piece are you the most proud of?

    A: I can’t say that there’s any piece that I’m most proud of, but that piece (“”William’s Fire””). I think it’s very strong. You can rotate it. It reads in multiple directions. So, it appeals to me for the technical aspects of it and for different underlying darkness, let’s say. I can’t say that it has a theme, it just happens.

    W: Do you collaborate with other artists?

    A: No I don’t. It’s a lonely job.

    W: What do you think of Tucson?

    A: Well, I’m a native Arizonan. The desert inspires me. I see a lot of Western-landscape-type imagery in my work and I think that that’s by virtue of the fact that it’s where I live. I like Tucson a lot.

    W: What’s next for you?

    A: Well, hopefully good health and lots more paintings. I really don’t plan that. That creative theme in my life just seems to sort of define its own path. I don’t plan. But I try and learn something new from every painting.

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