Art, // February 3, 2015
Sonja Arroyo – ARTIST
Interview with artist Sonja Arroyo —
1. Who are you and what you do?
My name is Sonja Arroyo. Born in 1975 in Germany, I have been residing with my husband and pets in NYC since 1998. I am a sculptural abstract painter and mixed media artist.
2. Why art?
I can’t imagine a life without creating. I am consumed by it at all times. I believe all of us can find that special force that drives us. May it be cooking, sewing, dancing, photographing…you name it. For me it happened to be art!
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Unlike most artists, which were creating and drawing at an early age, my story is quite different. Growing up in a working family with its own little gas station and store, the top priority was education which was followed by helping out at the store 7 days a week. I was hands on busy with changing oil on cars and customer service as early as 13 yrs old. Art was just never appreciated or encouraged in my surroundings, so it wasn’t really something that I even thought about, considered or had time to experiment with. In my early 20’s I started traveling extensively throughout Europe and other parts of the world for a couple of years.
My last stop after Canada was New York City which was supposed to be followed by a one year stay in Australia. I met my husband in New York and have been living in this exciting city ever since. After some life altering events, I started to experiment with drawing and painting in 2000. Little did I know how natural it was for me to draw, mix colors and paint. I unexpectedly found myself . For more than 10 years, I have created representational art which ranged from figurative, portraiture, landscape and cityscape to botanical and animal art. I wasn’t sure which genre I fit in, so I kept painting and selling across the board, believing I will one day find my own individual direction, which I did develop and keep nourishing since 2012. Having switched from representational to abstract art, which I enjoyed more than anything I ever painted before, I wanted to bridge the gap between sculpture and painting. That’s where my 3 dimensional sculptural abstract style was born.
4. How do you work and approach your subject?
The sculptural faces in my work are created with plaster and fiberglass which are accompanied by high textured painting and sometimes bold mixed media elements to create curiosity. I work in many layers with lots of different mediums to create diversity. Overall my work is very intuitive.
5. What are your favorite art works, artists?
Gosh, there are so many I adore and admire [past and present]. From the past to keep it short, it is definitely Frida Kahlo, Edward Hopper and Gustav Klimt. I had the honor and privilege to work with and study under the late English born artist Lyn Bane, who resided in Canada and recently passed of cancer. This lady made me reach deep within, in every aspect of life and art. She was there since the beginning of my journey to find my own style. She was a great mentor and friend, which I dearly miss every day.
6. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I really enjoy when people start to pass by my work and get stopped in their tracks, to walk back to check out the dimensions and textures of my work. I love when my work sparks curiosity and interest. I have been told by several collectors, that they haven’t seen or experienced any of my work somewhere else and it is so distinct and instantly recognizable. What I often hear and enjoy is, that the work feels hypnotic, mesmerizing and/or meditative…which is really the place where I’m creating from and the biggest compliment to me.
7. What do you like about your work?
The abstract approach is limitless, especially with acrylics and the different mediums one can use. The possibilities to create are endless. The dimensional faces whilst creating, puts me in a very peaceful and meditative state. It’s like I’m working in a trance, where I am only surrounded by peace and compassion.
8.What advice would you give to other artists?
If you don’t know what genre you want to stick with, don’t stress yourself to go with one. I have painted more than 600 paintings before I knew it and it will come to you naturally. I am thankful to have experienced and learned so many different styles. If you have an idea, go with it and let your heart speak. If it feels right, IT IS right. Be true to yourself and stand behind your creations. The truth is, even if nobody would be interested in your work which is highly unlikely, you would “Never Ever” stop to create, right? So keep on doing your magic.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Having been diagnosed and treated for Lupus extensively and successfully over the last year, I want to see myself healthy and kicking as usual in the next decade. My other goal is to spend less time in the studio to build good relationships with galleries. Other than that, exactly where I am and have been for so many years.