WildSpice Embodied is a series where we highlight individuals who fully encapsulate what we are all about. Those individuals leading an empowered and authentic life, constantly pushing the boundaries through conscious creation. The values and beliefs of Mariona Lloreta resonate through her artwork and creative ventures. As an artist, visual director and entrepreneur, she daily explores and celebrates all types of identity through her creations. Our director Sienna Brown had the honor of speaking with Mariona to hear about the message behind her work, how her international background inspires her creations and why she believes artists are the future.
You seem to have many different talents as a film director, visual artist and entrepreneur. Can you tell us a little bit about your different ventures?
I try and use different creative outlets to communicate. All of my passions are interconnected and have a common goal so the transition from one to another is very organic. I have always embraced the arts as one big means of expression. Whether it's through film, visual art, or dancing, I try to convey a message of love and empowerment.
Your art is entrancing and has a strong voice of it’s own. What overall message do you want people to take from your work?
Wow, thank you so much! There are so many nuances to all of us, we all have a story. No human word can encapsulate or identify a person and I want for my art to reflect the depth, richness and beauty of each subject or emotion. Relying on a single story or flattening someone's identity because of their sex, race, roots, or color is a harsh reality but it is not part of our essence. I seek to uplift and intrigue the viewer, leaving them with a sense of wonder, compassion, togetherness and freedom.
Have you always aspired to be a creator? What has the journey been like for you and in which ways do you feel you’ve grown as an artist?
The Arts have taken center stage in my life from a very young age: growing up in Barcelona to very artistically-gifted parents, art was a 360-degree experience and boundaries between disciplines were always fluid. The way art is felt and understood in Barcelona also played an integral role in shaping me: Gaudí’s whimsical architecture is all over the city, music and dance are second-nature to people, and we have a millennial cultural and literary heritage. This context has influenced how I perceive art and creativity: as something that is closely tied to being human. In this way, I never formally studied art or film although I always kept creating. I increasingly devoted more and more time to art to the point where I became a full-time Artist. I wear this title with so much pride; I think this is the best way in which I can serve others. My experiences and personal growth inform my creations. Over time, art has become a refuge to express the complexities of my emotions towards the world, to heal, to speak up, to expose, to bring peace, to share with others.
How do you feel femininity plays a part in your creations?
Women are so powerful. The strength I see the women around me graciously endure daily at many levels is extremely inspiring. We are such complex, delicate, yet strong beings. It is important to recognize and claim our place in society and in the world and encourage and protect each other. Through my art, I seek to make our voices heard, one story at a time.
You’re originally from Barcelona but you’ve been living in NYC for a while. Do you find that either culture has a strong impact in your work?
I feel that my work is a reflection of my journey as a human being and that comes with all the places I have lived, from growing up in Barcelona, to moving to Los Angeles, Boston and New York, to my country’s ancestry rooted in the Roman Empire and in Northern Africa, as well as my travels around the world and especially my recent journey in Lagos… it all has a strong impact on my work. Being in the US has exposed me to people with such diverse backgrounds and heritage. It is very interesting to see how history and migration have influenced the way different cultures cope with subjects like identity, race or beauty.
You say that your artwork demands a conversation between itself and the viewer “concerning identity, community, love, self-empowerment, sexuality and freedom.” That’s exactly what we’re about at WildSpice. Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on the importance of bringing those aspects into conversation in daily life?
I feel that artists are change-agents and truly push society forward. We disturb the order that makes things easily controllable so, in a way, we are a threat.
We all have a limited time here and we should find the strength to reflect on what’s important. Society makes it easy to find comfort in a cookie-cutter life and mind-set. I think it’s key that we push to ask ourselves questions that matter and to celebrate taking risks and stepping out of the box: embracing the different layers of our identity, daring to feel and to love openly, letting go of stereotypes and claiming our right to be free. Nothing is black or white, there are many shades to everything and that’s what makes our world beautiful. In the end, we are all filaments to the same thread, we are all one.
Where do you normally find inspiration?
I constantly find inspiration, especially in the way intangibles (the human experience, human emotions, the concept of time, etc) are embodied in the world around us.
I am fascinated by looking at people’s eyes and deciphering their story. I want to unfold the different layers to get to one’s core. I love learning and embracing other cultures and I obsess over trying to understand what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes. I seek to go past the differences and celebrate the things that bring us together. I want to find a common ground across cultures, races, sex to capture experiences that we all relate to.
What is your creative process like? When do you feel like you create your best work?
My mixed media work starts with an emotion or story I want to tell. I begin by creating or photographing textures, which I then scan and assemble digitally into the piece. I use visual metaphors like wings (freedom), hands (protection, community), eyes (ownership), or geometric shapes (the unknown, the future) and place them on the subject as amulets. Although the end product is digital, the way I approach the canvas is traditional and organic, using mainly one brush, and one stroke at a time. My philosophy is to embrace one’s roots and celebrate who we are and where we are going. In that same way, my creative process reflects that: I mix traditional techniques with new methods, as a metaphor for finding balance between old and new, between here and there, between honoring the past while looking forward.
We love the concept of Open Door and the inspiration behind that movement. What brought it to life and where do you see it going in the next few years?
Thank you! Around two years ago, I was commissioned to direct some film work for beautiful songstress Somi in Lagos, Nigeria. During the following months, I became immersed in the life, culture and heartbeat of Lagos. I sampled Nigerian cuisine, traveled the streets, absorbed the spirit of its people and the music of Nigeria’s vibrant languages. I was captivated. The brilliant energy of the culture, specifically the burgeoning arts scene, astounded me and I began to ask myself several questions: Why have I never been exposed to this? How has this beautiful and seminal art escaped the attention of much of the Western world? I shared my concerns with some of the leading arts advocates in Lagos and they all agreed that Nigerian arts suffered from a distinct lack of global exposure. Driven by this situation, I developed Open Door, a cross-country and multidisciplinary art platform where artists from Africa and the Diaspora discuss their art, its impact in today's cultural and social landscape, and start a conversation with one another. As a woman of African descent, I seek to actively contribute to a more realistic image of the Continent and the Diaspora and I am committed to breaking down geographical and cultural barriers, bringing other fellow artists together. In the next few years, I envision a vibrant arts community made up of artists with access to resources, audiences, patrons and collaborators.
Artwork from various individuals who are a part of Open Door
When do you feel most wild?
Being wild to me is challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone, speaking up through my art, loving openly and loudly and with no regrets and actively encouraging others to do the same.