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Interview with Mazé Andrade

Updated: Mar 6

Click on the link to see the UP Time Art Gallery publication.

Below, translation of text published by Up Time Art Gallery.

"Uncovering the Portals of Art: A Conversation with Mazé Andrade"

The work of UP Time Art Gallery is to inspire and fascinate through Art. Our artists present works that portray our emotions, our causes, our lives. The public always wants to know the artist behind the work. Who are you, how do you think? What life story led to this work?

Today with us, Mazé Andrade!

It is with great pleasure that we begin this interview with the renowned artist from Paraíba, Mazé Andrade. Based in Recife for decades, Mazé has emerged as a notable figure in the rich Brazilian artistic scene. His artistic journey, which began in 1979, is a testament to dedication, creativity and an incessant search for authentic expression.
Mazé Andrade immersed herself in studying Arts, exploring different techniques under the tutelage of masters such as Aurora Lima, José de Barros, Suely Cisneiros and Hélio Soares. This solid training is reflected in his multifaceted work, which encompasses painting, sculpture, metal engraving, ceramics and lithographs.
With more than 45 group and solo exhibitions in several Brazilian cities and in places as far away as Buenos Aires, Medellín, Terrassa, Frankfurt and Romania, Mazé Andrade has achieved international recognition. His work transcends cultural boundaries, revealing the universality of his artistic language.
It is with great anticipation that we prepare to explore the creative universe and inspirations that shaped Mazé Andrade's unique trajectory. Let this interview be an opportunity to delve even deeper into the mind and heart of this talented artist.

1) Your training in Arts began in 1979, and since then, you have explored various techniques under the guidance of renowned masters. How has this diversity of learning influenced your artistic expression over the years?

Every study and every academic experience, if well embraced, is important for the formation of a person, even if it is subsequently followed or not, contested or not. I don't usually deny the etymology of the word Art, which comes from technique, skill. So, for me, producing “art” is not just building a concept, but the two combined (concept + technique). There are artists who have innate skills, there are wonderful self-taught artists. But I think that studying different techniques, with the guidance of experienced people, enhances our ability to implement our ideas and our production process. I am grateful to my teachers, as well as to the colleagues I had the joy of working with.

2) With more than 45 group and solo exhibitions in different parts of the world, how do you see the international reception of your work? And how has the experience in international exhibitions impacted your view of art and your own artistic identity?

In Romania, I was invited six times to exhibit, free of charge. The feedback from the salon organizers themselves encouraged me because I saw that my work, produced independently, was being well received, that is, there was some resonance with what I was doing. This has to do with the role of art.
Regarding my artistic identity, I would say that this receptivity endorsed my work in lithographs, a period in which I allowed myself to express ideas and feelings more. Every lithograph I made had very limited copies. Today I keep very few copies, totaling around 40 different works. Since the Covid pandemic, I have not returned to the lithographic workshop, but I continue to produce sculptures in the studio at my home.

3) His work encompasses a variety of forms of expression, including painting, sculpture, metal engraving, ceramics and lithographs. How do you decide which medium to use for a particular idea or message you want to convey?

Everything follows the story of my life as an artist. I can say, today, that I spent more time in ceramics and lithographs for the sake of identification and the pleasure established in contact with the material. I started studying drawing with professor Aurora de Lima. With Professor José de Barros, we carried out many experiments. These were very enriching years (oil painting, watercolor, acrylic, metal engraving, monotype, woodcut). A true immersion in techniques with the aim of really learning them and, who knows, rediscovering myself. Of these, I identified with pen and ink and oil painting. A succession of events made me invest in oil, a technique I dedicated myself to in the 80s and 90s.
Still in the 90s, I decided to learn ceramics with several foundries. The experience was wonderful; we felt a true exchange of energy with the earth and I thought it was beautiful to see “my women” being born from clay and “immortalizing” themselves in cement or resin, among other materials. I've always liked playing women, since I was a child, as it was a way of honoring my mother and, at the same time, trying to hide some fears and anxieties that lived inside me, and that I didn't know and had no way to deal with. I painted and molded serene faces because I wanted people to think I was serene, balanced.
While I was attending the ceramics studio, I started a lithograph course, a liberating technique for me. As with clay, there is a fluidity in the glide of lithographic pencils over the stone. A series of factors, such as discussions in the university environment about Neo Expressionism and many other artistic movements, the psychological phase I was in, the experiences I had already had, studies on Surrealism, and always, always, fluidity and pleasure that the material gave me to touch, led me to create more profusely, expressing ideas and feelings arising from old experiences, since childhood.

4) How do you imagine your works interact with the public and what is the role of art in the human experience, from your perspective?

I like to make people reflect and also get emotional. Many of my works require a presentation about my personal and artistic journey to fully understand them. However, I enjoy seeing each person's interpretations; Often a work of mine brings out a personal memory for someone, or generates some satisfaction or concern. This has to do with the role of Art, in my opinion.
Art must move reason and feeling, whether elevating the latter through contemplation, or raising truly fruitful questions and debates. In other words, it's not about simply shocking, or forging something different to stand out. But to make us really reflect on what makes us feel in society, in the world and in our own lives, proposing us to break out of inertia.

5) How do you seek to balance Brazilian artistic tradition with a contemporary approach in your creations?

Popular art is well rooted in my memories. I was born in Serra da Borborema, in Paraíba, I lived in the interior of Pernambuco and then came to Recife at a time when we didn't have television. The stories passed down from generation to generation, full of fantasies, as well as the games, had a strong influence on me. Later academic experiences, the collectives and events in which I participated shaped my sense of aesthetics, catalyzing the use of a contemporary approach to express popular imagination, the fantastic stories I heard, always in communion with my feelings and my love of nature (also present since my childhood).

6) His search for a precious identity is a recurring theme in his work. Could you share more about this personal journey and how it is reflected in your creations?

As you said, my identity emerges from a personal and professional journey. Therefore, you need to know my story to understand. I always narrate my past as a lighthouse for myself, clarifying my steps.
My childhood and youth had a great influence on my personality. A past linked to the land, to nature, with three sisters* and an incredible mother to whom I was very attached. I have always been very introverted; thus, a figurative painting, for example, did not just have a portrait function. It was also a way of camouflaging myself. Therefore, in addition to honoring women, especially my mother, I see myself in these representations.
My husband, to whom I was married for more than 50 years, also had a strong influence on the social view I have of my world, and of other cultures. Social scientist, he was a professor at UFPE and a researcher. In this way, themes such as nature, women and popular imagination predominate in my works. But I also pursue cultural studies, and extraterrestrial life fascinates me. *We were, in total, six brothers.

7) How do you hope your works are remembered and what message do you want to convey through your art to future generations?

We know that the body falls apart, we are mortal, but the fruit of our work can be immortalized. When we die, fame in itself also ceases to be important, since we should not be tied to this world. It is our lessons, our examples, what we change in others that matter. Let us return once again to the role of art: generating contemplation, questions and reflections capable of moving people so that everyone can do something worthwhile, always with the clear conscience that we have been honest with ourselves and others

Access the interview link (available above) to see more images.

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