Every artist has a story about how and why they do what they do. Creating artwork to share with the world is a courageous and sometimes difficult path to take in life. In the case of Monica Moreno, the path is an inspiring one filled with discovery, intuition and connection.
We asked Monica to share more about her transition from illustrator to ceramicist, how her time abroad influenced her work, and how she made a connection with the sacred Goddess.
Hello Monica, can you tell us about your background and your path to choosing a creative career?
I’ve been creative, curious, and connected to nature since I was a kid. So the choice of a creative career was always present for me from the very beginning. For many years drawing was my favorite way of creative expression.
After initiating your career, you had a spiritual awakening. Can you share a little bit about what this experience was like and how it influenced your creativity?
I was working as a freelance illustrator and was also teaching at the Escola Massana in Barcelona. I was quite settled and doing well, but then I opened up to spirituality and really started listening to myself. I had a good life at that time, but it was not enough for me anymore. I wanted to expand—to experience life in a fuller way.
I decided to leave everything behind and move to the other side of the world to explore a new version of myself. That radical change also meant leaving my career as an illustrator behind and opening to new ways of creative expression, such as sculpture and ceramics.
How did your years spent abroad in Australia and New Zealand influence your art practice?
The decision to go overseas was to discover a new version of myself. Being away, I could experience new ways of living with more freedom and wider perspectives, where art and spirituality come together. Nature is so exuberant, stunning, and present in both countries, it inspired and changed me deeply. I got the inspiration for my art but also for my life, finding a way of living life closer to nature’s ways—to Spirit and to ritual.
It's there that I found my connection to ritual ceramics and goddesses. I was in contact and studying with Aboriginal people in Australia and with the Maori people in New Zealand. The simplicity, basics, the ancestral connection of those lands influenced my art a lot. There is a deep connection between us.
How did you pick the Goddess as your central theme?
I didn’t really choose to make Goddesses, they chose me! I realized that when I was calm and started to make a figure with clay, it always ended up being a goddess, regardless of what I wanted to create.
When I make sculptures the energy flows through me, I don’t direct it. I feel it is something going through me, and suddenly there is a quality in the figure that was not there before, like a presence.
In the rain forest of North Australia, I made a series of life-size goddess sculptures connected to the energy of the land. I represent goddesses in sculptures, but also in illustrations, plates, bowls, pendants… and each one has a special energy. Sometimes people that purchase them tell me that they look alive and there is something that makes them very unique—that they are not empty figures.
Do any of your pieces hold a special meaning for you?
All the sculptures I make have a special meaning for me. They are not just artwork that once finished, go to somebody else; I have a special bond with each one. Often I need to have them with me for some time before I can let them go—I feel attached. I cannot part with them immediately.
Currently, I’m exploring the Iberian culture and all the ancestral richness from the Mediterranean indigenous cultures that were silenced. I’m exploring and also connecting with their energy. I feel very inspired and drawn to this discovery on an artistic and spiritual level.
How do you incorporate a spiritual practice into your ceramic workshops and how does it change the experience of an artistic workshop? Have you received feedback from your students that you’d like to share with us?
First, I guide the students to connect with a goddess or a sacred object and then I help them to manifest it. What makes my workshops different is that we bring here what we have discovered in the astral with the guided meditation. The sacred object or the goddess that they create doesn’t come from a previous idea, but it comes from something they have found in the guided journey. It is surprising! Students easily follow the guided meditation and they always see or feel some goddess or ritual object. It is a beautiful and rewarding process, the students feel proud of being able to see and express what they have received, each piece is very unique.
The world is currently experiencing a time of great change and uncertainty. Have recent events altered your responses to art or the things that you want to create?
Yes, what we have experienced is indeed a massive change on all levels. In my case, it brought me time to be calm and to explore. During lock-down, I was fortunate to experience being inward and quiet, which was just what I really needed; time to be in an internal retreat. I really needed a break, and it came at the perfect time! I had time for internal reflection, introspection, self-knowledge, and stillness. This has helped me go deeper and see where to go next in the evolution of my art. I found more aspects of myself and my range of creative possibilities have widened. So it was actually a very positive experience.
I think what this change also brings to all of us, beyond worry or fear, is having been able to stop and see a little more our inner and outer reality, and value much more what we have on a day-to-day basis.
Lastly, where can people find your work and information about your classes in Barcelona?
I have a website www.monicamorenoart.com with some of my works and all the info about my classes. I sell my work on Etsy. On my Instagram and Facebook accounts @monicamorenoart you can see my latest works and processes (and sometimes some pictures from nature). I run the workshops in my studio in Barcelona, based in the artistic neighborhood of Gracia.
Thank you for sharing with us Monica!
Now discover more makers in Barcelona!