Ep. 2 of Figure Isms: Maria

...the more I was doing it, the more I was realizing that there was a very personal search in what I was doing.
— Maria

My guest for episode two of Figure Isms is Maria. You can find her under the name Ofelia here on my site.

In this episode I talk to her about her struggles as a nude art model, her perspectives as an artist, motherhood, feminism, her life in Ecuador and Germany and much more. 

Follow along and subscribe on Apple Podcast, Google Play, or SoundCloud by using the links below.

Don't forget to reach out and let me know how you enjoyed the episode by emailing me at grant@gtrimble.com.

Scroll down for the show notes! 

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Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • We open up with how modeling was always an experimental journey for Maria, and how, when we met, she was at the peak of that. [2:28}
  • Maria talks about the difference between a typical photo shoot and ours, and how it was a turning point for her. [3:38]
  • Find out the unusual way in which Maria and I met in, and the pivotal role someone in Tokyo played. [5:20]
  • We talk about how rare it is to sincerely connect with people and how important that connection was during a difficult time for her. [6:24]
  • I express how special our shoot was to me, the trust and friendship created, and how it allowed us to create more meaningful work. [7:58]
  • Find out through Maria how our photo shoot shows the evolution of trust and experimentation during that session, and why she wants others to see this work. [8:54]
  • I talk about why I revisit this shoot and what it represents to me. [10:07]
  • How Maria went from being single in Ecuador to being married, with a baby, in Berlin. [10:29]
  • Maria, Russian artists, and Sex mit Dingen (sex with things). She explores what this is and what it means in our virtual world [10:50]
  • Why did this project appeal to Maria as a new mom in a new country? [12:38]
  • She discusses how she is re-learning everything she thought she knew. [14:20]
  • Maria asks "why? why? why?" and how this question led to nudity as a form of liberation for her. [15:25]
  • Maria opens up about her youth, popularity, bullying, rejection and how this made her question what she was doing different. [18:50]
  • The many questions Maria had to ask herself in exploring her sexuality, and whether or not it was wrong. [20:42]
  • We talk about the context of her environment during this time in both Ecuador and the United States. [21:45]
  • Why Maria finally felt relief after moving to Berlin. [23:44]
  • Maria explores the cultural contrasts between Ecuador and Berlin. [24:36]
  • Why does Berlin appeal to her, and how has the culture responded to her lifestyle? [25:50]
  • Emotional baggage, social pressure, bullshit, deception, and how Maria handles her own insecurities as a statement of self-empowerment. [29:47]
  • Find out what content she is trying to generate, why, and her appreciation for the critics as well. [32:57]
  • How people leverage shame to keep women, especially, in line. [34:20]
  • Here I talk about some of my views on what sexuality is. [35:49]
  • How Maria views sexuality, including its role in motherhood. [36:46]
  • Delving into the nuanced nature of sexuality, and how it is about being more conscious. [39:00]
  • I add to her reflections of being present, the importance of meditation, and the unfortunate elimination of the complexity of sexuality.[41:05]
  • In the words of Maria, "for me sexuality is passion." She explores what this means here. [42:42]
  • Is she aware of when she is connected to her sexuality when she creates? [45:16]
  • Fun Fact: Find out why I was once disinvited to a wedding! [46:18]
  • Maria talks about the difficulty, paranoia, distrust, and lonliness she felt in Ecuador and how she realized she needed to expand her life. [47:32]
  • Nude art started as a personal thing, and along the way it became a message to others. [50:50]
  • How did she mold her ideas of nudity and art? [52:11]
  • Maria's first real life encounter with nudity in an artistic context, and the lasting impressions it made on her. [53:32]
  • Maria talks about her love of Sally Mann, and how her work changed her own perspective on nudity in art. [55:30]
  • Why Maria's family responded negatively to her interest in the nude world and how that impacted her. [56:22]
  • How the love of art made her push through the resistence she felt from others. [58:26]
  • I talk about when I decided to openly commit myself to my work. [59:11]
  • Maria shares with us how she realized her committment to her work and who influenced that. [59:59]
  • How feminism and gender theory profoundly affected Maria and helped her realize her connection to it all. [01:01:46]
  • She explores the diversity of sexuality and its richness in the world, the unbalanced treatment of women vs. men, and what she desires for her daughter in this world. [01:04:50]
  • What is the difference between porn and nude art? Maria discusses her thoughts on this. [01:06:48]
  • How does she handle people objectifying her work? [01:10:19]
  • Maria answers a common misconception for those not involved in nude work. [01:11:55]
  • I confront and discuss the misconceptions surrounding the reasons for creating with nudity and the difficulty many have with the process vs. the end product of creating nude art, e.g. the Sistine Chapel. [01:12:37]
  • Maria discusses the difficulty in navigating people's intentions who contact her for nude work. [01:14:25]
  • How Maria relies on her intuition with who she works with, because in the nude art world, there is a dark side. [01:16:35]
  • I reflect on when we met, the struggle to be in a vulnerable place with someone creatively, and how much we have to go through to accomplish that vision. [01:18:00]
  • What is Utopia for Maria? [01:20:28]
  • Find out what keeps Maria going when she just wants to say "fuck it." [01:21:33]
  • We discuss our struggles with art, feelings of inadequacies, being multidisciplinary artists and the
  • pressures to commit to one thing. [1:22:31]
  • Find out more about Maria's endeavors, how she started a market in Ecuador, her thoughts on being an multidisciplinary artist, and what she thinks is most important as an artist. [01:26:54]
  • Maria questions what is art, what isn't art, and who decides? [01:30:30]
  • What is next for Maria? She discusses being reborn and having new goals. [01:31:00]
  • She discusses nudity and fashion and what that has to do with her future projects. [01:32:14]
  • Books Maria loves, including her favorite Argentinian poet, Alejandra Pizarnik [01:33:35]
  • Maria gives us a list of her favorite music, (and I might brag about seeing one of them in concert.) [01:34:40]
  • Fun fact about Maria and the band Dengue Dengue Dengue, and a lesson on perfectionism. [01:35:55]
  • Maria leaves us with what she feels is unique about her contribution to the world, and her desire to inspire that in others. [01:38:16]
  • Visit Maria's IG @reinadelaguacate [01:39:55]
  • Thank you Maria!

People Mentioned

  • Edwin Monico
  • Man Ray
  • Sally Mann
  • Carlos Castaneda
  • Alejandra Pizarnik
  • Radiohead
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Doors
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Janis Joplin
  • Dengue Dengue Dengue