Violeta Barcenas – Violet Red Studio

Violeta Barcenas is an amazing artist and illustrator from Nicaraguan artist. This amazing woman is based in Washington D.C. At WhataWonderfulWomensWorld we are truly in love with her beautiful work and we are so happy she agreed to let us interview her !! 

How to describe myself?

I like to use the word ‘peripatetic’ to describe myself because I have moved to so many different countries throughout my life that it has undoubtedly shaped who I am. I’m also the type of friend who always finds the bright side of things, I’m a feminist, I’m curious to the many roads there’s to take. Many years ago I read a quote that has stuck with me ever since; “we are all connected.” Naturally, this quote has influenced the way that I perceive my life and my work. I build the connection to a place that I left behind or that I imagine for the future through my art. 

Splendid illustration from Violet Red Studio

How to describe your art?

Happy. You know how art has the power to engage you so much that you start to feel things that you didn’t know you could. Well, I want my art to do that – make you feel happy, even when you think you couldn’t be happier. My art is colorful and I’m always exploring new colors and techniques. My art is also a reflection of the connection that I have with people and places that I’ve left behind.

How to describe Your field?

Art and illustration is a tough but rewarding field. It has a lot to do with trial and error, of forcing yourself not to give up and keep working. Creating a body of work requires courage, and as artists we’re often insecure about our creations. We love to second guess because we are baring our souls in our canvases, we are vulnerable and afraid. For me, this is a field of courage and patience – a very personal field at that. 

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the things that I see, there’s an inspiration in every corner; in cities, people, human will, women, music, absolutely anything. Most recently I’ve found inspiration in nature. Last year I went on a week-long hike in Spain and being so close to nature gave me an inspiration boost – sometimes we take the beauties of the world for granted because we’re so busy trying to get by each day. It’s okay to stop, breathe, take a second. You’ll see the rush of inspiration that comes from taking a break, it’s ironic. 

Does your work comment on your social or political issues?

Absolutely. I am from Nicaragua, a small country in Central America that has endured years of political and civil unrest. Recently, in April 2018 we started one of the most violent chapters in our history as a country. I have a collection called “La Nicaragua Linda” which are illustrations of many cities with the quote “The dream of a beautiful Nicaragua” which is the hope that we all share: seeing our country free.

Also, as a mother of two, I have made it my life mission to inspire my two daughters to be badass women. They are lucky to have been born in an era and in a place where women can thrive and become whoever they want to be. They can vote, they can choose to be anything they want, they have rights. The Iconic Women series started as a reminder of how we got here. It’s a homage to all the women who fought so that we could be where we are today.

Wonderful illustration from Violet Red Studio
Beautiful illustration from Violet Red Studio

What obstacles have you faced?

My constant obstacle has been moving so much and having to start over each time. When I was a child, my parents were diplomats and had to move every 2 years to a different country. Then as a grown up, I moved with my husband and family an additional 8 times. In 2008, I started my illustration-art career and ever since then I have moved my business 5 times, every time having to start over, get new licenses, clients. Although moving around has been one of my greatest sources of inspirations, the truth is that starting over is no walk in the park, it’s both emotionally and physically draining. It’ full of exciting possibilities but also full of elbow grease and hard work. 

What is the best advice you could give?

Do not give up. Be curious and when facing that white canvas (whatever version it might be for you) just start. Take one step, then the second, and the last thing you know – things will start coming together. It’s very easy to lose motivation, but remember that everyone wants to give up at some point, keep pushing through those feelings. Nothing really comes easy!

Have you been supported during the project?

YES! I have two daughters who do a lot of the day to day work. A partner who is there and pushes and inspires me. A family that cheers for me. A mother who is also an artist full of advices. Friends who keep me company and accountable and show up. I have also met a wonderful network of women in D.C who have helped me navigate the art world in the city. It’s a continuous process of growing up – if you ever think that you’ve grown up enough – you’re wrong. We continue to grow until the very end of times.

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