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Meet Brenda Marie Matea of Sugar Beauty Photography in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenda Marie Matea.

Brenda Marie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My art story began when I decided to study art history in Junior College. My first job in the arts was at the Long Beach Museum of Art. After that I worked at architectural firms, design firms and other museums such as The Huntington Library. But then I had a family and I wanted to be home with them so I chose a different career and met my 2nd husband who is a graphic designer and an avid cyclist.

In 2012, we were “empty nesters”. I followed my husband to his many cycling races. He gave me a digital camera to occupy myself. I took pictures and told stories of the race events. The cyclists on his team enjoyed my stories. One cyclist was an art major. He suggested I study photography.

I began to study informally by checking out library books and practiced the basics of photography. I found Man Ray, Harry Callahan, Linder Sterling, Francesca Woodman, Saul Leiter and Imogen Cunningham. Books and social media sites encouraged my story-telling and helped me “find” my voice.

In 2015, my husband gave me an iPhone 6. At the same time, I attended an artist’s talk at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The artist was Terry Braunstein, a local montage artist. She shared her story. I realized I could tell my own story using my photographs.

I began to experiment with Apps. My goal was to take several photographs I’d taken on a vacation trip and create a single image. I shared my photographs with a curator of a small art boutique in Los Olivos. She loved my photographs and commissioned my first three works and hung them in her gallery in the Fall of 2015.

I have called myself an artist and been true to telling my life story artistically ever since.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been pretty smooth, actually. Once I realized I was pretty good at this art thing and I loved doing it, I wanted to go full board. I invested in my first event and created my favorite pieces and spent a bit of money on the front-end. The obstacles and the challenges that are real involve marketing and selling the art. Thankfully, I have a logical and wise husband who does art as business and he gave me some pointers. He told me that I was fortunate to create art for art’s sake and not for money. “Once you have to create to make a living, it is possible to lose your passion for it.” I move organically through the process of art as business, watch my pennies and always try to focus on making art just because I love it.

Please tell us about Sugar Beauty Photography.
I create digital and handmade collages using my iPhone and Apps. I produce art, including wearable pieces and art cards for local galleries, museum stores and small boutique shops. I am known for beautiful art pieces using flowers. I am most proud of my voice as an artist. In a world where most things can be pretty ugly, I focus on beauty and hope and possibility. I have realized by looking at a lot of art that I must be true to my story. No one else can tell it, therefore I must tell the story. This will always set me apart from others because it is uniquely my own story.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
My faith is most important. I trust God for everything in my life, including my art story. I know that if I stay true to telling about His beauty in my life, I will be successful. Not in a way that most people view success, but in a way that He creates success. So, I walk in faith and trust and continue to create beautiful things.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sugar Beauty Photography

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