Mia Araujo was born and raised in Los Angeles, and graduated as valedictorian from Otis College of Art and Design in 2007. We are excited to showcase the first and only hand-embellished print from Mia Araujo with the haunting Requiem (For The Damaged). Read on as we talk with Mia about her past influences, her debut RUN and more in this incarnation of the 1xRUN Thru Interview…
1xRun Thru Interview
Requiem (For The Damaged) by Mia Araujo
1xRun: Tell us a little about the original piece, when was it created? What materials was this printed on or drawn with?
Mia Araujo: Original was created in November of 2011, with acrylics on a gessoed maple wood panel. The print will be hand-embellished with iridescent gold acrylic paint.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Mia Araujo: I wanted to capture the melancholy of a goddess who is destined to create for eternity, while the world responds with death, darkness, and destruction all around her. As a creator, I relate to her, as it is sometimes difficult to create when life is sapping my energy. The red stream of fabric in her hands represents life blood- she holds it to her chest with her right hand, as it slips through the fingers of her left. Magic and rebirth, springs from darkness. If I can look at darkness straight in the face and find some beauty in it, then I feel it makes me stronger, little by little.
1xRun: How long did the piece take? What is unique about this piece?
Mia Araujo: It took 3 weeks to finish. Each of my pieces has a unique story to it- I wanted this one to feel ghostly, with the sands of time still caked on it, like a hundred-year-old photograph. I wanted to create a therapeutic yet haunting image to get myself through some dark times, in order to take strength from it. My ideas always come from a personal place, and I hope others can connect with the piece, if they are going through something similar. I hired an amazing model, Charlie Luciano, for a photoshoot, and gave her direction but also free-reign to explore the pose. The shot I ended up choosing perfectly captured the feeling I had in mind for this piece. I then designed the rest of the composition around the pose, did a few studies of the main figure’s face, and then plunged into the painting itself.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Mia Araujo: This is my first release with 1xRun, it’s the most affordable large-sized print of my work, and it’s my only hand-embellished print available anywhere!
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
Mia Araujo: Haunting.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Mia Araujo: I’ve been drawing and scribbling in coloring books since I was 2-years-old, and never had any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I remember drawing strange portraits of my twin sister and I on imaginary adventures, usually wearing elaborate costumes. I would also draw Saturday morning cartoon characters quite a lot.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Mia Araujo: I didn’t pay much attention to artists in particular, but I was greatly inspired by Disney animation growing up in the 90s. Every year I would obsess over whichever film was coming out that summer, and draw the characters over and over. In middle school, I saw Kinuko Craft’s work for the first time and became obsessed with how detailed and emotionally resonant her work was. In high school, I fell in love with the Charles Vess-illustrated “Rose” comic by Jeff Smith.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Mia Araujo: I have so many favorites, past and present: Matsui Fuyuko, Sterling Hundley, Jeremy Geddes, Andrew Hem, Nicola Samori, Greg Manchess, Tom Bagshaw, Alan Lee, Sally Mann, Claire Wendling, Jeremy Lipking, Justin Sweet, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Andrew Wyeth, Gustav Klimt, Leonardo daVinci, Johannes Vermeer, Nikolai Fechin, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Heinrich Kley, Auguste Rodin and John William Waterhouse.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Mia Araujo: Depending on my mood, I listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, and documentaries throughout the day. I also skype and chat with friends on the phone sometimes while I sketch or do busy work. I love swing/big band, blues, jazz, and folk in particular, but listen to a range of different music. My studio is pretty small, but works well for me. I have an easel for large works, and a desk that I lay my palette on. I usually sketch at my computer desk, with my art book and reference library within reach. There’s a fabric tapestry pinned to one wall that I use for photo shoots. On weeknights and weekends, my sister is my studio mate, which is super fun!
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Mia Araujo: Five years ago, my twin sister Barbra and I did a zine together for fun, and had a great time doing that. She’s a fashion designer by day, but has lots of interests including storytelling and costume design. I’d love to collaborate with her on more stories and art- it’s a dream of mine to do some big epic project with her.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Mia Araujo: I would rather be mentored by a deceased artist than collaborate on a piece- any of the deceased artists on my favorites list above would be a dream come true!
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Mia Araujo: I don’t plan on becoming an art collector any time soon. I simply don’t make enough money to keep up with what I know would become an addiction. But I snap up postcards and inexpensive prints when I can, to decorate my studio with.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Mia Araujo: Dan dos Santos‚ “White Trash Zombie” poster print. So excited to hang it!
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Mia Araujo: I’ll be in a few group shows this year and next, working on a couple of commissions, and playing with some story ideas on the side, in the form of small drawings and painting studies that I will have up on my online shop in the coming weeks. I’ve also been practicing with oils, doing some anatomy and portrait studies, which has been a lot of fun!