We’re continuing our Meet the Makers series with Maria of Alquicira Fine Art. Her oil and acrylic paintings are beautiful and thought-provoking, providing a talking point rather than a background decoration. We love Maria’s passion for fairly-traded art and can’t wait to share her story and her art with you!
Hi Maria! Thanks for sharing your story with us today. Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?
Well, I didn’t like art classes when I was a kid. All I wanted was to do sports (especially Tae Kwon Do), eat candies, and read books but my parents loved art, so my time was equally invested in arts and sports. You know when your mom enjoys an activity, so she enrolls you too? That’s kind of what happened.
Our professors were amazing but the only materials we had were charcoal and the typical fruit plate to copy (boring!). Eventually, I was moved to a plastic arts class, which I enjoyed greatly, but still not my favorite activity. I wasn’t a rebel, so I made my best effort to excel in art classes. I didn’t though.
At that point, I was more interested in books and since my dad writes, well that’s what I wanted to do (didn’t excel here either). So painting was out of my life from an execution perspective but something I did enjoy was going to museums and art galleries. That helped me “train my eye” without necessarily painting. It was also an activity that helped me boost my relationship especially with two aunts, one of them an avid reader and the other one a professional painter (I admired her classical artworks and wanted to have a similar experience to study art abroad like she did in Paris).
I wanted to study Art History, but I didn’t want to live with my parents forever, so I studied International Relations. Still, art was always part of my interest and for a summer, I worked at the Franz Mayer Museum. I guess I always had the idea that one day maybe I could combine what I was studying and art (maybe at an Embassy or Cultural Counsel). After living in India for a summer, I found the job of my dreams which I was lucky enough to get three years after at a movie theater company.
One day, while working in the entertainment industry, painting crossed my path again and weirdly enough people were interested in my art pieces and started buying them. That’s when the existential crisis began, and I left everything to study Art in Rome. It has been a roller coaster.
A fun one.
Sounds like quite the ride that’s taken you to where you are now! We’re glad you came back to painting again! The past year has been a tough one. Can you share something good that has come out of this time?
I tried starting my art project once I was back in Mexico and it didn’t work quite the way I imagined it, but opportunities are out there, and I’ve been lucky to surround myself with people that are always honest with me but at the same time encourage me to keep moving forward.
I had an amazing opportunity to move to Dallas with the company I worked for before studying abroad. For the first year, I thought that art would only be an on and off activity for me, until one day while we were just getting used to quarantine and lockdowns, a person that I greatly admire asked me “what if you try again? You know the best moment to try things is always NOW?” and here I am, 6 months in, a formalized art business and doors of opportunities opening one by one.
That question was the best thing that happened in my 2020 as I´ve learned so much not only about businesses but about myself.
Thank goodness for trusted friends with good advice! Tell us about Alquicira Fine Art! What do you make and how long have you been doing it?
My business name is “Alquicira Fine Art.” Alquicira is my last name (on my Dad’s side). It has always been very meaningful for me (my brother and I actually have a small tattoo from it) and we have great memories of my dad telling us the story and meaning behind it. Alquicira means “The Green Island,” an Arab origin word that communicates the strength within and the ability to regenerate even when we’re isolated (island) or going through difficult transformations (drought to abundance). When in difficult situations I always remember I have the strength from my family’s history to learn and overcome any challenge.
Regarding how long I’ve been creating art, even though I started since I was very young, I professionalized in 2016.
My business motto is that art should be fairly traded for both artists and art enthusiasts.
What a beautiful meaning behind your brand name! Why did you get involved with MMC?
I was looking to become part of a community where I could feel welcome and to get to know people with whom I can share similar interests and values. When I learned this was a 100% creative women’s collective, I didn’t doubt for a second to knock on the door and explore the possibility of becoming part of it.
We are so glad you did! What advice would you give a young artist?
The best moment to start professionalizing your art practice is now. Start today, you’re ready.
Great advice! The feeling of not being ready can be overwhelming, but taking the first step to get started is the most important one! What’s the most recent show you binged on Netflix?
The Office for the 10th time, my favorite show!
The Office is always a great go-to! Thanks so much for sharing the story of Alquicira Fine Art with us. We’re so glad to have you as part of the Mosaic Makers Collective!
Want to learn more about our makers or shop Alquicira Fine Art? Check out these additional resources: