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Check out Ariana Enriquez’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariana Enriquez.

Ariana, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
As an only child AND only grandchild, art has always been a close companion of mine. When I was young, every bit of furniture in the house had at least some art material stain on it. I of course was responsible for this, as I saw every surface as a possibility to create a new masterpiece on. Table tops were lined with rogue marker lines, paint splatters on counters and kitchen walls, floorboards with unidentifiable neon colored something-or-other. My family used to say that I was adding “love” to everything. Despite leaving my permanent mark on white carpets and suede sofa cushions, they always encourage me to make art and continue to be a driving force in following my passions. You can tell my grandpa to draw anything and he would never back out of the challenge, I admire this greatly and want to be able to do the same.

I have unfailingly loved creating, and throughout my journey I had incredibly selfless and wise art teachers who invested their time and skill in helping me hone my own vision and experience. I did not take art seriously until my junior year in high school, and after one chance endeavor in painting a life-size ceramic cow for a nationwide contest, I was hooked. From then on, I knew that whatever I decided to study in college, it would involve taking art history and studio art classes. I graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Art History and a BFA in Painting.

Continuing my artistic practice post-graduation continues to be a challenge that I am constantly facing. Painting is my side hustle, although my day job is pretty incredible as well since it involves another passion of mine: museums. During the day you can find me at the Arizona State University Art Museum, where I work in collections management. I also just started my first year of graduate school as a LACMA-ASU Fellow in Art History (yay academic seminars am I right?) My role at the museum involves preventative conservation of our permanent collection of a little over 12,000 objects as well as hundreds of loans that our museum brings in a year. I believe that my artistic practice and museum profession go hand-in-hand.

Nothing motivates me to get painting more than unpacking contemporary works from emerging, international artists. I love that I am surrounded by art all day long, I truly never get tired of it. Today I still struggle to call myself an artist, however this is becoming easier to overcome. I am an artist, and man am I proud of that. It is not always easy, but always worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a painter. Outside in nature is the number one place where I will always want to be and the number one place that I derive inspiration from. I paint for the same reasons that I hike. Both serve a meditational and self-healing purpose to me. Painting and hiking are ways that I deal with my anxiety while offering a time to be present and reflect. I create botanical oil paintings, the more detailed the better. The symbolism bestowed upon flowers throughout history has always fascinated me, so I try to incorporate these symbolic meanings in my work. I may paint sunflowers, peonies and forget-me-nots, but what I am really trying to tell you is that I am feeling joyous, fortunate and steadfast. I have recently been employing gold metal leaf in my pieces. As gold can be associated with the divine, I want people to view my work and feel a sense of beauty, walking away uplifted and rejuvenated.

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I believe that the current national political climate is quite the challenge facing contemporary artists today, however this is also igniting vital creative sparks. Creating is such a crucial outlet that artists are using to their advantage in order to sift through what it means to be human in our current time. We each have diverse perspectives that I believe now, more than ever, can be integrated into our cultures and communities. It may be naïve to think that art has become easier for artists in recent years, however I believe that may be due to my personal experiences within my own community. I am so proud of the Phoenix art scene.

Living in Phoenix makes the challenges that come with being an artist less daunting. There is an abundance of support, interest and empowerment in the arts community here. In order to foster a thriving arts community, local support is necessary. Artists need to be knowledgeable about the resources present to aid in developing their projects and visions, and they need to be comfortable in seeking out those resources.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work has been exhibited locally throughout the valley and collected by clients nationwide. I post upcoming shows on my social media. My work is on my website, www.arianaenriquez.com, as well as my Instagram @arianaa_belen. People can support my work through dropping by a future show and saying hello, purchasing merchandise in my website shop or commissioning me to paint them something. I absolutely love creating one-of-a-kind pieces for people.

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