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An interview with: Quilla Nina

Introducing the magic and mystical Andean artwork of: @lalunayelfuego


We were instantly mesmerised by the vibrant and zesty paintings of Peruvian / Argentinian artist Quilla Nina. Her artworks have a deeply healing and joyful quality to them, often portraying elements of South American indigenous culture and references of world religion within landscapes combining nature, humans, and the cosmos in colourful harmony...


You can purchase prints of her artwork via her store: lalunayelfuego.threadless.com


Read on below for our interview with Quilla Nina where we discuss her inspirations & more....

Where are you from and how has your environment sculpted your outlook on life ? 

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My mother is argentinian and my father peruvian. I was an only child, we lived in an apartment with no yard, so I used to entretain myself reading and drawing. Having no siblings or cousins around I had to find ways to entertain by myself. I had a nice childhood filled with love, but I also dreamed about being part of a larger family.

Now I have three children and with my husband we decided to raise them closer to nature. I want them to expirience what I couldn't. We moved away from the city, closer to the countryside. Our house has a big yard with plants, flowers and trees, where our kids can play all day, run and explore. My perspective of life changes through the years. But for now I enjoy quiteness, being alone or around my family, caring for my children while working from home and watching trees and hearing birds when I open my window. 

When did you first start creating art and how long did it take you to develop your signature style ? 

My grandmother on my mother's side used to paint. She taught me my first steps in drawing when I was about 8 years old, and I loved it. When I finished highschool I started studying visual arts at university. There I experimented with different styles and themes. Around four years later, I began to reconnect with my father's culture. He is so proud of his family and his roots he passed on to me that feeling. My way to connect to that part of my history was through painting, and that's when I started to develop a voice of my own. 

 

What does spirituality mean to you and how does it inform your artistic practice ?

I was never baptised because my parents didn't have a good expirience with catholicism and church. I really never thought much about religion until my 20s. During those years I became really involved in yoga practice and travelled to India twice. I tried to learn everything I could about hinduism and it influenced the art I made at the time. I don't have a religion, and I have to admit at the present time I don't think that much about spirituality as I used to. I try to find spiritualism in practicing good habits and living in harmony with my surroundings and the people closer to me.

Practicing surrendering, learning to be more patient each day and have a positive outlook about life (even when having a hard time) are skills that I deveolped a lot being a mother. Stop complaining about random stuff and trying to see obstacles as things that also help me to be better. Right now I shifted from working with oils and acylics to 100% digital painting.

I like physical painting more, but it's difficult to have 3 or even 2 hours without interruption when you have a 5 year old, a toddler and a baby to take care of. So, applying my new skills of surrendering and turning difficulties into opportunities, I learned to paint on an ipad. Working on my pieces in short painting sessions of 20min, 30min or 1 hour if I get lucky. By the time I get back to physical artwork, I will have plenty of ideas I tried in digital that I would like to try with oils too.

What are the key ideas and themes that inspire you the most? 

My cultural heritage on my father's side, our garden, some dreams I have. Right now, my main source of inspiration are my kids, andean landscapes with mountains and small houses. Generally one work leads to the following one. Style, medium and themes evolve for themselves. 

Are there any artists / books that have had a strong impact on you ? 

Peruvian textiles, tigua painting, north american folk art, Henri Rousseau's jungles, hindu religious art, and the art of la Escuela Cusqueña. I love Michel Ocelot's movies. The Kirikou series and Azur et Asmar are my favorites. I studied japanese many years ago so ukiyo-e as well as manga and anime culture also have some influence in my work. In what regards to books, some that influenced me the most are "New Chronicle and Good Government" by Guaman Poma de Ayala, "Orlando" by Virginia Woolf and "Redoble por Rancas" by Manuel Scorza. Tarot books and decks are also a huge influence. 

What lights the flame of passion inside of you ?

It happens randomly. Sometimes I watch a movie, read a phrase, notice certain plant or catch one of my kids doing something that suddenly inspires me to paint. A small thing has the power to trigger a whole new world of imagery that translates in a new piece. Other times I feel completely drained and out of ideas. When I'm like that I keep on trying, even if I don't like the result. I just descard it. I can't give up and wait for inspiration to come because I'm committed to this. I keep on working until one of the things I try strikes me and inspiration flows again. So I think that what drives me the most is my own perisistance. When the flame is off I just keep going until it lights up again. You can't fail when you never stop trying in different ways.  


How has this past year been for you ?

This year I promised myself to grow professionally. It's been almost six years since I became a mother, and family has been (and still is) my top priority. I have to make the most of the limited time I have. I was pregnant until August so pregnancy and postpartum were also a huge part of this year. It was my 3rd time but still I had to make a huge effort to surrender, being more aware of the present moment and stop worrying about the future. Anxiety is my worst enemy. 


How are you currently feeling as we enter into 2024?

After three hard (and happy) months where we adjusted as a family of five, I'm finally finding my groove again. My emotions are settling and I'm being able to work a little bit more on myself. Painting, doing a few minutes of yoga, working on my mentality and organizing for the next year. I feel really excited for 2024. I think everything I learned and cultivated during these past 2 years will start to grow. I look forward to go back to physical painting, launching my color workshops online and working further on my ebook about color theory and excercises. Also I want to continue nurturing the flowers I planted this month and watching my baby boy grow.  My daughter will start kinder next year and my older son will start first grade. 

- ASTRAL MAGAZINE

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