1xRUN Thru Interview
Forest Healer by Mia Araujo
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, was it part of a recent show?
Mia Araujo: This piece was part of my 2012 solo show “Into the Woods,” in which I presented different aspects of the forest, its mythology, and connection to humans. I wanted this image to feel calming and rejuvenating, but also to be charged with mysticism and magic.
1xRUN: When was this piece created and with what materials?
Mia Araujo: This piece was originally created in 2012 using acrylic on wood panel.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Mia Araujo: I wanted to create a piece that would depict the forest as a place to heal from all the exhaustion, stress, and invisible wounds that each of us carry in our daily lives. I was inspired by Alphonse Mucha’s use of fabric and the intent gazes of his women, and by the healing power of the deer-god in Princess Mononoke. I had been listening to an audiobook version of Timothy Egan’s book about the worst wildfire in US history, ‘The Big Burn.’ So I imagined that all of the animals, forest spirits, and mythical characters that lived there would need a place of sanctuary after the horrors of a wildfire.
During the photo shoot, my model struck the perfect pose with the gaze I was looking for, the fabric was draped just right, and there was this beautiful rim light illuminating the side of her head.
In this piece, she is a forest goddess- a mother-figure and healer of those devastated by forest fires. Victims flock to her rejuvenating, healing waters and are soothed of their physical and spiritual wounds.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Mia Araujo: About 3 or 4 weeks from start to finish.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Mia Araujo: The luminosity and lighting in this piece is unlike any of my other works. And I think the story behind it, like the stories in each of my pieces, is unique and rooted in a different part of my imaginary landscape. Also, each of the hand-embellished prints will be uniquely painted with gold iridescent acrylic paint.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Mia Araujo: It’s a calming but striking image, and can be very therapeutic. The size of this print is close to that of the original, so you can appreciate a lot of the detail.
1xRun: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
Mia Araujo: Soothing.
1xRun: Your work blends these fantastical elements with classic styles, what is it that influences you about each distinct style?
Mia Araujo: I am inspired by all eras of history and I blend them together with the art history movements that I love, and wish would come back. It’s all pretty intuitive. There’s a lot of untapped territory in my head that I have yet to cover, which is always the excitement of starting a new piece.
1xRun: Has anybody in particular been inspiring you as of late?
Mia Araujo: Yes, Bjork. I first listened to her music when I was in art school and was obsessed with it. Some of her songs still remind me of some of my first assignments, because I listened to them so much, haha. After seeing her live for the first time this summer, I’ve been finding new layers of meaning to her music and art that I must not have been aware of before. I’ve changed so much as a person since those years, but certain music can still be relevant, and speak to me in new and thrilling ways.
1xRun: What have you been up to since your last RUN?
Mia Araujo: I participated in a few more group shows (a Mark Ryden custom YHWH toy show, and a Travis Louie curated ‘Zombie’ show), and finished up a couple of commissions for collectors, including a drawing series of classic movie monster portraits. Those were a lot of fun to do!
1xRun: What do you have on your schedule as summer winds down into fall?
Mia Araujo: Finishing up one more commission, some small original pieces for my online shop, and working on a personal project that I can’t reveal yet (but am super excited about!)
1xRun: Any other big plans for the rest of the year?
Mia Araujo: Yes! ThouArt is releasing a downloadable catalogue-app of my work, which will feature 30 of my pieces including paintings, sketches, and studies. Each month they release a different artist, like Chet Zar, Brian Smith, and David Hochbaum. I’m thrilled to be working with them on my first digital catalogue.