Professionally, she is a business administrator and publicist. But her taste for colours and shapes led her to study graphic design which helped her improve and expand her taste for painting and plastic arts. Venezuelan artist Mili Montiel says she fell in love with colours upon her arrival in India with her husband, the Ambassador of Venezuela to India, Augusto Montiel.
Soon, Mili was painting teapots and thereafter started looking for new forms of expression. She began painting mandalas, applying a technique not widely used in India (dot art) but allows one to express creativity through colour, symmetry and happiness the art and in particular, the mandalas produce. India, her colour and variety of textures and artistic expressions have all contributed to the development of the Dot Art technique.
The artist is presenting a special series of mandalas, at Prithvi Fine Art & Cultural Centre, A-1/232, Basement, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi, till October 24 from 1100 to 1900 hours, in different mediums and invites you to relax and lose stress while you contemplate them.
We had a tete-e-tete with Mili Montiel:
Is this your debut show in India?
No, I was included in a wonderful exhibition organised by Spouses of head of Missions (SHoM) and Easa in April 2017 called Cross Roads, with more than 20 artists. There, I had presented only kettles.
Have you showcased your works in any other country?
This is my second exhibition ever. In Venezuela, I was running a family company. At that time, art was just a hobby and the daily job was priority. When my husband was named the Ambassador to India, my entire life changed because I finally found the time I needed to do what I love most: art!
How evolved is the art scene in Venezuela?
Venezuela has highly talented artists. Of these, Jesus Soto and Carlos Cruz Diez are kinetic and optical artists who inspire me too.
Your take on Indian artists and their talent…
India is full of colours, textures and artists. You can find inspiration everywhere. Miniature paintings, painted kettles and other traditional arts are amazing here. I saw marvellous street artists in the north of India and in Mumbai too. It is impossible to resist so much talent.
Which form of painting are you most comfortable doing and why?
I like all kind of mediums for painting, be it walls, canvas, glass, metals, kettles, ceramic, stones and so on. You just need to understand the material you are using to create great things.
Where in the world do you get genuine art connoisseurs; people who understand art?
I found smart and genius artists out of museums. It is incredible how much talent you can find round the corner. I think art is much more than European classical artists. Art is in everything, everywhere. Sometimes, from the most simple things you can get big results.
Please take us through your life…
I have a degree in marketing, business management and graphics design. But I believe I have been an artist all my life because in anything I do, I use colours, compositions, textures and beauty. During my childhood, I use to paint cartoons characters for my friends. For many years I couldn’t spend time doing what I wanted to until now. My family, especially my husband, has been my biggest support in this adventure that began in incredible India.
What was the reaction when you told everyone at home that you wanted to be an artist?
Everybody was happy because they know this is what I love to do.
The first time you felt the urge to express yourself through painting…
I was nine or 10…
Who has been the most inspirational person in your life and why?
The former president of my country: Hugo Chavez. He used to say: It’s very important to take risks no matter what. A lot of artists are afraid to go out and show to the world what they do. I was one of them. Then I took the risks and I’m very happy like never before.
Who influenced you and what was the motivation behind painting?
Venezuelan artist Jesus Soto. No doubt, I would like to create a tiny portion of what he accomplished. For me, he is the greatest!
What is Mili Montiel doing when not in front of a canvas?
As Mili Montiel is an ambassador’s wife, there is always a lot of diplomatic work to do.
Your opinion of the increasing number of art fairs being organised across the India. Would these, in your opinion, help artists reach out to the masses?
Art fairs are amazing for new artists. It’s an excellent way to reach out to people and get in touch with other artists as well.