Today we’d like to introduce you to Pia Mafnas.
Pia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I considered all types of hands-on, creative pursuits like becoming a tattoo artist or a gallery curator. I’ve always been passionate about art, but lacked a sense of direction and was overly intimidated by the uncertainty of an “unstable” career.
In college, I threw myself into creative experimentation and fell in love with painting. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and honed my technical skills for years before I became comfortable sharing my work. After a year-long creative hiatus in 2016, I spent all of 2017 studying the methods and success of artists I look up to through endless research, podcasts and art books.
I also began a holistic regimen of introspection, self-acceptance and spiritual growth. At the turn of 2018, I responded to an open artist call for the first time, landed the gig and have been lucky to receive several offers since. I continue to show at Art pop-ups all over LA but am now switching gears to focus on creating more tangible, accessible art.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road to finding any measure of success is never a straight line. There are always twists, turns, and roadblocks teaching me what to welcome or reject.
My initial approach to the arts was quite conservative. I was a proud perfectionist but realized how much that was holding back my work. Believing there was a right or wrong approach to painting, as well as a rigid focus on the finished product instead of the process, was stunting my creative growth. The fear of sharing my work before it or I was “ready” resulted in a lot of wasted time and opportunity. I decided being “ready” was a myth. The work could always be improved, regardless of when I decided to show it, so I might as well start showing it.
The most difficult aspect of this job is making time to the build the business. Like most upcoming artists, I play all the roles: the creator, administrator, coordinator, investor, promoter and so on. It’s a delicate balance to prioritize a full-time job and value your loved ones without neglecting your own physical, spiritual and mental wellness, all the while working to make your dreams come true. There are days my attention is so divided, and I worry I’m barely getting by doing the minimum. But there’s little room for compromise or complaint.
Los Angeles is an expensive city full of talented artists willing to work when you aren’t. Dreams don’t work unless you do, ya know?
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
It’s taken a lot of work to get where I am, but I’m just getting started. My focus for the last 8 months has been getting my work in front of people, introducing myself to LA’s art community and learning how creativity works as a business.
So, it’s been a lot of networking and hours in the studio creating a catalogue of work to show and network with. I’ve gravitated towards women as the subject of my oil portraits, and I suppose you could say it’s become my specialty. I’ve just started to explore more abstract painting methods and subject matter.
I’m really proud to be building my brand from the ground up, and of the momentum, my work has gained in such a short time. It’s taken a lot of mental and spiritual strengthening to do this alone, but the rewards have certainly outweighed the sacrifice.
My focus moving forward will be creating art that is more tangible and accessible than original paintings. It is not my ambition to only make art for art’s sake. I am equal parts practical and creative and I believe art should be accessible to everyone, not just the elite. This will be reflected in my future projects.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA is heavily misrepresented in the media. It’s a city full of ambitious, hardworking people and is rife with culture, diversity, and creativity. But when people visit, they don’t care to venture out of the affluent Westside because that’s all they see on TV. It saddens me because there is so much more beauty to this city than that.
Other dislikes include but are not limited to: inefficient public transportation, our title as the nation’s reigning champ for worst traffic, the rate at which my favorite neighborhoods in Central/East LA are gentrifying, the county’s inability to decrease rates of homelessness or increase resources for the less fortunate, not being able to park my car without having to solve a 3-part parking sign riddle or pay more for the parking spot than at the business I’m visiting, and so on.
LA truly is the land of sunshine and opportunity. Creative opportunities are abundant, and you can get anywhere in a day. We have direct access to the beach, mountains, city, lakes, desert, everything.
Additional likes include but are definitely not limited to: farm fresh food and ethnically diverse cuisine, positive culture around spirituality and mental wellness, the ever-growing use of cannabis and other natural holistic products as a method of self-care, acceptance and encouragement of the LGBTQ community, the ability to have anything delivered to my doorstep at any time and most importantly – the fact that the Wild West has always been a haven for creative disruptors and forward thinking rule-breakers. I love you, Los Angeles.
- Website: www.piamafnas.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @piamafnas