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Life & Work with Lola Montejo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lola Montejo. 

Hi Lola, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am from Spain and spent my early childhood in Madrid. My father moonlighted as a singer and our home was regularly a gathering place for musicians, writers, and artists. Growing up in that environment sparked my interest in art. 

My decision to become an artist evolved from encounters I had with art in my youth. This is largely due to the influence of my father. My father encouraged me to consider and appreciate art. He took me to galleries, museums, concerts, plays, and walks to see public art throughout the city. My father fostered a love for art that has continued throughout my life. 

My father once took us to the village of Toledo where we visited the Church of Santo Tomé. I noticed a large painting on the wall. The work was by the artists El Greco, a Mannerist artist during the late Renaissance. I was moved by the painting so strongly that I began to weep. My mother thought I was frightened by the content of painting, but it was the execution and painting style of the masterpiece that struck me. His techniques spoke to me beyond the subject matter of the work. His brushwork was spontaneous, electric, and full of rhythm. It was unlike any painting I had seen before. I decided then that I wanted to become an artist. 

Years later we immigrated to the US, to south Florida. I was sad to leave Spain, my friends, and family. My father spent much of his time working and had little time for us as a family, and I missed the outings that my father would take me on. 

The following year my dad took a job in New York for the summer. I was thrilled when I found out later that we were going to visit the Museum of Modern Art. The museum had a show that featured an American group of Abstract Expressionists. I was enthralled by the show and found a new appreciation for this style of art. The works were very unlike the European paintings I had grown up seeing. The expressionist work was personal, inventive, and confrontational. I was captivated by the way that these abstract works had the ability to communicate through the simplicity of line, color, shape, or movement. 

Through these experiences, I realized what kind of art I was drawn to, art that spoke on an emotional level. As an artist, I draw on the art historical sources that have directly shaped me. I have been studying art my whole life. Art has and continues to be a focus and strong passion in my life. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There is no road one can walk that is without challenges to overcome and its own share of hardships. Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”, and this is how I view my passion as an artist. As an artist, I am driven to create because it is who I am. There is a journey involved and either you enjoy it or suffer, or both; however, you are an artist, and you make the work out of some innate necessity. The life of an artists is not a typical one, but I must say I feel fortunate to be able to create. 

Regardless of the challenges, an artist must persist. During my undergraduate studies, I had a professor say, “You do not know much about painting until you have completed over 100 paintings”. I could not agree with him more. It takes time to develop your artistic senses. A lot of time, failure, and experimentation is what I have learned the most from in my studio practice. 

Every future moment is uncertain in both art and life. It has not been an easy road to success for me and I have had to make many sacrifices in my life to pursue my career. But art is what I must do and who I am. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My art explores the language of abstraction and the lines between contemplative and spontaneous painting. I create strategies with a variety of techniques and approaches that I follow and break simultaneously within my paintings. The work is choreography; a dance between instinctive and learned behaviors. Both my conscious and unconscious act out at different times. The experience is about knowing when to embrace expectations, rules, desire, and even fear, but knowing that it is equally as important to tell when to let them go. 

This leads to a continual balancing act between intuitive painting and making choices through patient-considered moves. The practice is reflective and usually follows with an enlightenment. Rather than coming to the work with preconceived ideas, the act of painting reveals to me mysteries I discover in the creation. 

How do you define success?
I find success through the overcoming of obstacles, in both my personal experiences and in painting. It is this process of discovering and creating that I am able to find the most beautiful meanings of life. 

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