Written by: Frank Iacono
Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami, a NYS Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker and Artist at Pinot’s Palette Staten Island, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. When Joanna was 2 years old, she boarded a ship and moved to Florida with her family to escape the revolution of her homeland.
Joanna grew up on a ranch home, built by her father, in Miami, Florida with her parents and 2 sisters. The home featured an in-ground pool, a riding track, and a barn. She had 2 horses, 6 goats, 12 chickens, roosters, hamsters, gerbils, and a dog. Her love for animals and in turn drawing them became her favorite pass time. Her family returned to Santo Domingo where she continued to live until she got married and moved back to the United States residing in Colorado.
At the age of 30, Joanna once again picked up drawing and painting. However, this time she started painting with oils and tried other mediums such as acrylic, watercolor, clay sculpting, scratchboard, and oil pastel. From her upbringing, animals were naturally her first subject but since then she’s evolved into flowers, landscapes, and portraits. Now, for more than 20 years, she’s been working nonstop at developing her craft. She’s continuously challenging herself and working toward reaching new heights. Her dream is to one day be able to render a portrait of someone and have the person in portrait be recognized by his/her family and friends. Her background and extraordinary talent embrace all the characteristics of a true artist. By practicing, taking online classes, and studying the works of professional artists I strongly believe she will achieve all of her personal goals and ambitions.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami and asking her a few questions about her early influences, her specific style of art, her favorite artists and painting and her passion for teaching art.
The Creative Spotlight: When did you first become interested in painting? And, who or what influenced you to become an artist?
Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami: A drawing of a horse and an Indian was done for me at the early age of six. It was magical to see this appear on my father’s sheet of paper. I was fascinated by my Dad’s drawing. Around the same time, my brother showed me how to make, give color, and add various scents to all sorts of candles. Ever since then I’ve been creating art.
TCS: Can you remember one of the first things you drew, sculpted, or painted? If so, what makes it memorable?
JMMM: My mom can tell you that when I became an artist at age 6, I painted a bull on a square piece of fabric I cut from my father’s briefs. I had become so excited about drawing that I started a sketchbook of all the animals I could think of. On Father’s Day, I wanted to make something special and I chose the bull. I’m not sure why but I do remember it was challenging and it came out really nice. He was very pleased with it and gifting this painting to him was the best feeling a kid could ever have.
TCS: For those not too familiar with your work, please describe your specific style of art?
JMMM: I’ve always heard mention of developing a style of your own. I wish I knew what descriptive name to distinguish my style. If I could describe with words, I’d say that I strive to bring life to an image. It’s a feeling of being and existing within. I put a lot of love into each piece. I strive for my image to come to life. I put myself into each piece by just loving the process.
TCS: What did you do to gain so much knowledge about art?
JMMM: When the time came to choose between Anatomy and Math, I chose Anatomy for the opportunity to draw the human body. I loved the subject and I put together a clay model of the human heart separating the colors and I Aced the class. Upon realizing I wasn’t very good with cadavers, I switched career paths and started working with computers and programming. Graphic Arts and working with programs that allow you to create art from scratch got my attention and still keeps my attention till the wee hours of the night. Learning different ways to create to be expressive and to communicate love and life is what I do. Sharing is a big part of it all too. The feeling received from sharing is the same if not greater than creating; just quicker. Teaching is very rewarding and being appreciated is priceless.
TCS: Why do you think painting is so important to you?
JMMM: That’s a great question! Finding something in our short lifetime that creates happiness for us that is only dependent on ourselves and our desire to have it is a gift. For me, art fills my empty space and by this I surround myself with love and happiness. It’s more than a hobby. It’s part of my life. I hunger for it. It’s my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
TCS: Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
JMMM: I love so many and I often visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY to sketch the statues. I love to study and Paint after the Masters. I learn and visit their time by recreating their work. It’s almost like reading a book with no images and letting your mind travel there. I haven’t travelled much but I almost feel like I’ve been to many places through art. Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo and Alberto Vargas.
TCS: What is the most exciting art project that you have worked on to date?
JMMM: Painting the statue of David has been very exciting and challenging. I started him off with an under painting in oil and I’ve fixed that layer to continue onto the next layer where I will give him more of a statue color. The piece is quite large to give justice to the magnitude of the subject. I allowed myself some artistic license on this piece.
TCS: What do you feel separates you from other artists?
JMMM: I feel that we have more in common than we are different. As an individual, I am different because of how I perceive or feel as an artist how I express these. I’m different only by what the beholder of my work can tell, feel, and see.
TCS: In your opinion, what do you feel makes a good artist?
JMMM: A good artist will be patient, diligent, focused, and love what they do. Having an open mind to learn more and explore outside the comfort zone. To look for the challenge and learn from it makes a great artist.
TCS: Is there anybody or anything that you would love to paint?
JMMM: I am constantly seeing what I want to paint. A photograph of what I’d like to paint is now a folder full of images that inspire me. If I could paint everything in that folder, I would need more than a lifetime.
TCS: If you weren’t an artist what do you think you would be doing?
JMMM: I can’t think of anything else except a teacher.
TCS: What is the best and worst part of being an artist?
JMMM: The best is the feeling of accomplishment upon getting to a new level by completing a challenging piece. Being appreciated tops that off. The worst part is not being appreciated.
TCS: How do you currently market your painting?
JMMM: I’ve found a few online sites that allow me to showcase my work. I also participate in outdoor exhibitions locally in the Staten Island, New York area. Thus far, I’ve exhibited at Conference House Park and at the Snug Harbor Fence show. My plans are to exhibit more and expand to New York City and New Jersey for future shows.
Additionally, I market my art on the following websites:
- Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami Facebook
- Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami Fine Art America
- Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami Freelanced
- Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami LinkedIn
- Joanna Maria Morales Miarrostami Pinterest
TCS: How exciting was it to paint the The Aragonese Castle on the Island of Ischia in Italy?
JMMM: I enjoyed this painting and placing myself there. It was almost like traveling to Italy and exploring every nook and cranny I could see. If I were to travel there it would definitely feel like I’d been there before. It’s a beautiful place. I’m sure in person it’s breathtaking.
TCS: Tell us about the art class that you teach at Pinot’s Palette Staten Island?
JMMM: My second job is probably the most fun job out there. Every night is a party with new people exploring art most often for the first time. The motto at Pinot’s Palette Staten Island is “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.” They come in unsure and nervous about how they will do. The music is on the wine is pouring the colors are flowing. By the end of the night, the same people are walking out with great confidence, happy and a feeling of accomplishment.
TCS: What provides you with ideas and inspires you to create such beautiful imagery?
JMMM: I love researching the work of historical artists. Conducting Google searches has been helpful and of course the museum. I have a particular fondness to statues.
TCS: What is your most favorite painting that you’ve created? And, can you describe its creation in regards to inspiration, location, lighting, composition, and detail, etc.?
JMMM: I especially love my painting of the Amorino Angel. I was inspired by Bartolomeo Schedoni’s oil painting from 1610.
Here are a couple of my other favorites:
For more, please visit my Fine Art America website.
Additionally, I created a Facebook page called Metro City Murals where more of my favorites can be found. This site is based on the Zodiac to cover all people throughout the year in wishing them a happy birthday with all my specific zodiac drawings.
TCS: Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? If so, how did it turn out?
JMMM: I love stepping out and exploring new ways of creating art. It’s exciting and motivating to keep learning and growing. I always come back to portraits and the human form which is my favorite. I’ve explored ink, watercolor, charcoal, oil, acrylic, scratchboard, clay, and mixed media. I would like to combine sculpture into my art for portraits more.
TCS: Tell us about the South Shore Artists Group, a forty member strong group of professionally educated and self-taught artists, located in Staten Island, New York?
JMMM: Our group meets weekly at a local church where we share our work, work on our art and enjoy coffee and cake together. We plan exhibits and ways to expose our work through exhibitions and on the web.
You can visit us on Facebook at South Shore Artists Group.
TCS: Every artist has at least one important tool that they can’t live without, so what’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
JMMM: Quality materials are a must. A number 2 pencil is a must. A kneadable erasure and the one you can’t buy in a store is patience.
TCS: Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
JMMM: I was intrigued with Mona Lisa and the mystery about her, who she was, her stare, and the obsession over her. I felt I would be very happy having a painting of her. She was quite challenging to paint. It was the first time I heard in my head as I painted guidance as to how big to make the chin. “My chin isn’t that big” was a constant nag until I got it right. Mona wasn’t easy to paint as she was demanding her beauty. I too in the process became obsessed and for this reason it is a piece that I can’t part with.
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.