Amaranta grew up in Mexico City and moved to Seattle when she was very young. She had moved back and forth from Mexico City to Seattle several times, and now, 20 years later…. is back in Seattle. While she was studying Art and History in Mexico City, she was intertwining with musicians, dancers, and artists—realizing this is the environment she wanted to be a part of. “Unfortunately, I knew I couldn’t have any support in my hometown and I came back in 2000, right after graduation, with a different perspective”.
Her first attempt at making a living as an artist happened right here in Seattle, selling clay masks at Pike Place Market. At this time, she was working at a restaurant and saving all of her money to pay for her art booth at the market, and was not ending up with any sales—so she quit. “Those were hard times—I knew I could do better than selling pigs and space needles made out of clay, so I then joined the Pottery NW school in Pioneer Square”.
She sold her artwork right outside Occidental Park at that time, with little to no hassle. “For a long time I did my ceramics as a way to make some money and show off my Clay Masks at galleries. A few years later, I had a newborn at home and I couldn’t really go to work or have the support of a family member—Still I don’t have that luxury”.
After awhile, Amaranta started reaching out for opportunities and says she has been busy every since! “Good news is I took a business class through Washington Cash for Latinos and that really helped me—I opened up my mind even more and started seeing myself in the big picture”.
Some people may hear sand painting and ask, “What is that?” Sand painting is “the art of pouring colored sands, powdered pigments from minerals or crystals, and pigments from other natural or synthetic sources onto a surface to make a fixed, or unfixed sand painting”. This is one of the types of art that Amaranta creates and has been in the art world since she was 26 years old.
“I was about 23 when I found that pottery classes were offered at a community center in Mexico City. I was back in Mexico City after having lived in Seattle, and was looking for something fun and wanting to explore my possibilities”.
She has been fortunate to have many different avenues to display and talk about her artwork in the Seattle community. Places like SAM, Seattle Center, Tacoma Art Museum and Whiteman College—all have invited her to collaborate with a group of active and local Latino artists.
“Tapetes de Arena have been taking a rapid interest in Seattle, and I was one of the first female young Latina artists to be a part of it!”
As someone who is not an active artist, I always wonder how long the artists spend on their work—and what goes into that process. So I asked Amaranta—just how long does it take you to create a sand painting?
“It really just depends on the size, the number of artists and number of volunteers that help carry in 25 pound bags of sand. The biggest one was at Tacoma Art Museum, a 20x35 painting—huge!! It was displayed in the main lobby”.
She doesn’t just do sand painting; she has put her hands on multiple types of art. She has created “a hundred of pieces from clay pots, plates, tiles, garden ornaments to recycled media. When I create, I usually have a series and from that, I have one favorite one”.
Amaranta doesn’t just make art to support herself and her family, she has a sincere passion for it and does it recreationally as well. The business class she took helps make her aware of how to market her own work, web sites, e-commerce, etc. “So yes, doing art is my job. But I must say, art is very therapeutic for me”.
As challenging as it may have been for Amaranta in the beginning, she is finally in a place where she is happy and successful! Not only is the beginning of her own company, a mobile arts school Art-Maranth.
She is producing her own art, a part-time Art Instructor, Spanish Art Teacher, Arts Advocate, a Mixed Media Artist and also volunteers actively for the South Park Arts Group. As an artist, she is currently working on a watercolor/newsprint series called “Angeles, Demonios y Sirenas”. Her latest artwork will be available for sale at Art Under a $100 in South Park on December 7th.
You can see her Amaranta and her work at the Dia de los Muertos Festival at the Phinney Neighborhood Association on November 1, 2013 from 6:30-9 pm. The event will have a procession from 5:30-6:30 and the festival in the blue building 6:30-9 pm.
Volunteer Jennifer Roberts
Volunteer Jennifer Roberts