Janis Nunez: Mosaic Artist
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a chilanga (Mexican) mosaic artist that has loved art since I was a little girl, like a century ago! I moved from Mexico City to Orlando, FL., with my husband and my two little brats in December of 2000.
Tell me something interesting about yourself (fun fact!).
I was a very introvert person most of my life until I guess some marbles got loose inside me and I let my true personality show itself. I have always been happy but now I enjoy all about life with excitement and craziness, loud music and dances, smiling and crying even when I'm happy!
How did you first get into art?
I have been doing "art" since I was able to hold a pencil! Either drawing, painting or doing some craft with whatever I had at hand. I studied Industrial Engineering but I was always making cards, collages, drawing, painting, and reading about famous painters. I started painting as a hobby and when I sold all my paintings in an exhibit I was so inspired. I've never felt so proud of myself until someone called me an "artist". Wow! that was a very important moment in my life because it pushed me to try harder to make more art! One day I saw a little mosaic topiary and I loved it so I bought books that taught me the "craft" of mosaic and I was hooked. Since then, I've been creating and experimenting to make more and better mosaics.
What is it you love most about it?
I chose mosaics as my art expression medium because they are very challenging and they relate to life in many ways. Life is made out of many pieces, the same as a mosaic. It's composed of many pieces that in harmony create a whole. I love making art because it lets me express my feelings, thoughts, and ideas. I love that mosaics is like a therapy. You get lost in it! I also love the fact that it’s very challenging, you cannot mix colors like you do in painting so you have to find the way to get the results you need by manipulating the materials you chose for your piece.
Does being Hispanic influence your art at all? How?
Being Mexican influences my art in so many ways! The Mexican culture respects and mocks death, we have a holiday dedicated to death. Day of the Dead is my favorite holiday and skulls and sugar skulls are one of my favorite subjects. And the colors! Mexican artisans use so many colors. The little towns have the houses in so many colors, the clothes of the indigenous, the handcrafts and textiles; Mexican culture is a colorful one and I LOVE COLOR!
Who/what has inspired you the most in what you do?
I get inspiration from everywhere and everything! I have some Mexican artists that I love, like Frida Kahlo (of course), Rufino Tamayo, Remedios Varo. Some other famous artist inspire me too in many ways: Van Gogh, Dali, Gaudi, etc. And I have many mosaic artists that inspire me as well. But, I love nature, trees, skulls, my kids, the everyday life, etc., like I said everything and everywhere!!
What’s your process like? (Take me through your artistic process).
I have a ritual to start working: I fill up my water bottle, turn on my music (has to be loud classic rock! Metallica, AC/DC, Disturbed, etc.), light an incense stick and start working. I choose my materials, colors, idea, image, etc., and start creating an image in my mind of what I want to create and I start cutting my tesserae.
Beatrice Serre: she is a French mosaic artist that I admire because of her use of materials and the way she translates nature into art.
Frida Kahlo: Because she was way ahead of her time! She didn't care about society, about what other people thought. She was a very strong woman that overcame a tragic accident that only pushed her to be stronger. Now she is known worldwide, not just for her art but her life!
Any words of wisdom for young artists? Tips?
Never, EVER, stop creating! Experiment with new colors, new techniques and themes. Challenge yourself with things that you don't know or you don't like. Don't judge yourself too hard and don't listen to the negative comments that people may have of you or your art. Don't be afraid of mistakes, we all make them! Never stop fighting for your right to be seen and/or heard. Always work hard, don't let laziness rule your world; fight for the things you want so you can get far and be known for your art. Oh, and don't be afraid of the color black!