There is Magic in the Mundane
An Interview with Amliv Sotomayor
January 20, 2022
Amliv Sotomayor was born in the town of Regla, Cuba, and moved to South Florida with her family at an early age. Her family’s appreciation for the arts inspired her to become an artist, spending days and nights practicing in her bedroom until she attended the Miami International University of Art & Design, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts.
Sotomayor’s artwork focuses on the feminine as a divine bridge between the mundane and the erotic, employing symbolism of earthly wisdom and natural energy bestowed upon women through their bodies and sensuality. In her graphite drawings and watercolor paintings, she portrays small moments of weakness, horror, sexual strength, honesty, and insecurity, blending classical storytelling conventions around the daily experience of women and motherhood. She is also an enamel pin designer, converting her visual artwork into decorative wearable pieces, balancing both outstanding quality of materials with close fidelity to the original artwork.
While she draws inspiration from a broad library of media and artworks ranging from the classical baroque to contemporary internet culture, Sotomayor’s main artistic influences remain the Spanish Francisco Goya for his grim and moody compositions of the macabre, and the Belgian Felicien Rops for his artistic versatility and symbolic commentary across multiple subjects and mediums.
Sotomayor’s vision is not only to support herself and her family through her art practice, but also using her platform to support other underdog artists and connecting people with themselves through the individual and collective experiences coded into her work.
What was a pivotal moment in the evolution of your work?
The birth of my child in 2017 marked a turning point in my growth and direction as an artist. While I was already making a living off my work at the time, having a life that depends entirely on you for their survival and well-being creates a drastic shift in mindset and how you approach art, both as a way of making a living and as a medium of human expression.
Tell us about your process. Do you begin with an image or a concept?
This is always a “Chicken or Egg” question – a concept can inform the composition of an image or selection of references as much as an image can represent a key concept or theme that helps the artist hone down on a specific image or reference.
Establishing a vision or objective is the first step when approaching any new piece or project. Funny enough, these visions often manifest in the most mundane and vulnerable moments of my days, like when I am out for a walk, in the shower, or folding my laundry. There is magic in the mundane.
What informs your work? As a visual artist, are you inspired by music, film, science, literature, or other art forms?
In our digital age, we are constantly bombarded with images, concepts, and symbols. We curate our social media feeds and streaming collections in a sea of media by engaging with works that most resonate with us, and in turn it shows us more work that we may enjoy. This enables a constant process of discovery for inspiring references and content that informs my work on an ongoing basis.
What was the most challenging project that you worked on?
I feel that most artists will agree that the business of art is always the most challenging part of being an artist. The time that I spend fulfilling and developing my art business is less time that I spend making art. It’s an ongoing project that never quite ends, especially for independent artists like myself.
I am an artist with every fiber of my being. All I want to do is spend my days creating art that resonates with my personal experiences and connects people with themselves and the powerful feminine energy that permeates the world around them. It is my calling as an artist.
Yet the process of creating personally meaningful art is often at odds with the business of art. The daily needs and demands of running an art business as an independent artist are often a challenge as production, communication, and management with collectors, clients, and stakeholders falls entirely on me.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
People tend to look up to artists as conduits of magical expression in a world that has otherwise forgotten to express itself, especially when the themes, symbols, and images are reflections of collective experiences that often go unspoken, unheard, and unnoticed.
This is why my favorite part of my work is sharing my personal experiences of resilience, transformation, and divinity as a woman, a mother, and a human being through my work. It is an opportunity not only to express myself but help the people who get in touch with my art to connect with themselves through the symbols and subjects in my work.
How do you think NFTs will change the future for artists?
NFTs are bridging the gap between real-world ownership and digital art, an avenue that had not existed before in the art world. This is enabling artists and collectors to exchange ownership and establish value of digital pieces, a value which has been historically dismissed because digital art is so easy to copy and paste. NFTs go beyond simple certificates of ownership. NFTs are already the backbone of many digital communities, serving as a proof of membership that gives people access to certain benefits within their communities. This wave is here to stay. The use cases have not been fully explored yet, and anyone who gets an NFT successfully minted is already ahead of the curve of change and innovation.