© Elsa Munoz
2006 Graduate, Elsa Muñoz, is Painting a Bright Future for Herself with
Numerous Exhibitions, Critical Acclaim and Media Attention,
Unique, honest and from-the-heart style distinguishes Elsa and attracts fans.
Elsa Muñoz, a 2006 graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Oil Paintingfrom the American Academy of Art, is experiencing a level of success not often seen by such a young artist. The same can be said for the maturity and depth she exhibits through her beautiful, soft and lifelike oil paintings.
Her latest exhibition, "Still: Paintings for Blanca," is a 13-piece solo show at Chicago’s Dubhe Carreno Gallery.
The exhibition is Muñoz’s personal tribute to her former Academy instructor and greatest inspiration, Blanca Lopez, who unfortunately recently lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Day of 2011.
Elsa explains Blanca’s very personal and positive impact when she completed her “breakthrough” piece, “Natalie,” a portrait of a girl with her eyes closed: “After being a doubting art-school student for three years, completing Natalie really inspired me and made me realize I had something,” Munoz recalls. “Blanca Lopez was my instructor and biggest cheerleader at the time. She encouraged, inspired and educated me in ways that greatly helped me develop as an artist.”
After showing Natalie to her, Elsa explains that Blanca shared images of Tim Lowly and Antonio Lopez Garcia. She felt Blanca did this to encourage her to continue exploring a newfound sense of ambiguity in her work.
“Seeing their work, and that of Andrew Wyeth’s, for the first time was a strange and wonderful experience of instant recognition,” Elsa shared. “I think they strike a very careful balance between beauty and tension, which instantly spoke to me. Blanca Lopez introduced me to the use of ambiguity as a narrative tool. This was a pivotal lesson.
“It was understood that Blanca was acknowledging the direction I was moving toward and wanted to make sure I didn't fall into simply producing academic work,” Elsa recalls. “Creating Natalie felt like a happy accident. I wasn’t sure I could repeat it. Blanca helped me to let go of my ego and show me that a real painter will find inspiration while painting. I have found that the more I paint, the more the ideas simply come.”
Elsa’s many accomplishments include having two other exhibitions already this year and four in 2011, including "Claro y Obscuro," a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art – which she states is one of her personally greatest achievements to date. One of her pieces, “Drifting Sun,” is now part of the museum’s permanently collection.
Speaking to the perspective and insight she has gained, Elsa explains: “I've given myself a certain freedom to make ‘mistakes.’ Responding to the mistakes is what keeps me interested and motivated with each new piece. Overall, my philosophy is pretty simple,” Elsa concluded. “I paint what I know, what I think about, and what I want to live with. I don't pay attention to trends, but instead to what feels real and beautiful to me.”