This month, the first artist tenants moved in to Artscape Bayside Lofts, including Mariana Bolaños, a Mexican artist based in Toronto who has created a diverse body of work in painting, ceramics and installation. We chatted with Mariana to learn more about our new neighbour.
What excites you most about joining this community of artists and creators?
I was so happy when I found out I had been accepted to be a tenant of Artscape Bayside Lofts. Not only because I needed a proper studio space to develop my artwork but also because I was going to be a part of a community of artists.
The most exciting part about this is the feeling of belonging to a community that will support and learn from each other. I can’t wait to start meeting every neighbour and see their projects develop. I hope through these new connections great project will emerge.
You’ve exhibited your work in Canada, Cuba, and Mexico. What is unique about Toronto’s art and culture scene?
Multiculturalism, for sure, is what I think makes Toronto so unique. When I came to Canada, that was what amazed me the most; to have the opportunity to be surrounded by culture from all over the world. We all contribute with our different backgrounds to a very rich art scene.
Definitely the Artscape Bayside Lofts community will have a big impact because it will be an incubator for new projects and new connections.
What motivates you to combine your practice with community outreach?
Being an immigrant is now part of my identity and I think it had a huge impact in my career as an artist. When I came to Canada and connected with other immigrant artists who were involved in community programs and saw the impact of what they do, it awoke something in me. I felt a strong connection to vulnerable communities and felt that I had something to share and learn. Every time I have an opportunity to be part of a community project, I feel like I am in the right place and this keeps my own artwork flowing.
You recently worked on a series, called “Corazones”, featuring different interpretations of an anatomical heart. What inspired you to start this project? And how is it evolving your art practice?
I had been working on different projects inspired by a Mexican game called “Loteria” which is like Bingo but instead of numbers there are images of people and objects, one of which is “El Corazon” the heart. I wanted to depict the human heart in various forms with the idea that there is a heart in everything and for everything. The series keeps growing, my favourite part is that it is easy for people to relate to it and quite often give me suggestions of the hearts they would like to see.
You can see more of Mariana’s work at the Queen West Art Crawl in September. Or, you can follow her on Instagram @marianabolanosinclan.