We had the good fortune of connecting with Eliana Miranda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eliana, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age. In grade school, I explored several avenues within the arts such as music, dance, and theater. Somehow while I was exploring these areas, I was always drawing in a sketchbook. I loved my art classes. At one point I was skipping band practice to go hang out with my art teacher in the art room. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a visual artist and I eventually dumped everything else. It made the most sense for me since I found it incredibly challenging and I felt the most liberated to express myself when I drew in my sketchbook. Making marks made me feel like I had a purpose, like I had something to say, and, in many ways, it gave me a voice.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work addresses current human migration issues in the form of painting and drawing. I investigate displacement caused by socio/political and environmental turmoil. My inspiration to make this type of work came from my time in college while I was receiving my bachelor’s degree. It was there that I decided to devote my work to social issues as a way to help others. After receiving my MFA degree in Painting from the University of Dallas in 2015, I continued to develop my work while figuring out other ways to help others. It eventually led me to teaching art courses for Dallas College and being a resident artist at the Goldmark Cultural Center. At Goldmark, I am able to continue my studio practice and I also curate exhibitions for the Norman Brown Gallery where we aim to exhibit artwork by local artists. Not only am I lucky enough to continue to make the work that I do, but now I can give other artists the opportunity to exhibit and that excites me the most.
All that being said, it was quite the challenge to get to this point in my career. I grew up in an environment where a lot of people didn’t get an opportunity to go to college. I had to figure out how to get there myself and with very little money. Thankfully, throughout my school years, I had many art teachers who became my mentors. They challenged me creatively and made the dream of becoming an artist a reality by giving me the best advice along the way.
Along with what I’ve learned from others, one of the major lessons I’ve taught myself in recent years is the value of self-care. It took me several years to realize that if I wanted to perform to the capacity that I wanted, I needed to take care of my wellness. It’s very easy to lose sight of that when you have a tight work schedule. Juggling various projects and having to think creatively all the time, you forget to take your breaks and devote time to show your body some love. Exercising, eating well, meditation, and yoga keeps my body prepared and ready for the work I have to encounter throughout the week. Another major lesson is to always be considerate of others. This career path can be super competitive and intimidating, you can often become blind to the world and others around you in that mindset. I meet new people constantly and I try my best to treat others the way I would want to be treated. As artists, we need to support one another and learn together. I’ve met several interesting, talented people and I’m thankful to have established lasting friendships with them. For me, the bonds I’ve made with people in my community have made everything worth it.
The main thing I want people to know is that it is possible to achieve what you really want to do. I have had many people throughout my life tell me that I couldn’t pursue an art career. I’ve been laughed at, underestimated, and not taken seriously. I still pushed through though, achieving my goals and living my life by my own terms regardless of the life-styles others expected of me. Remember that being yourself and brushing off those haters will go a long way. It’s also not just about self-determination but establishing relationships. I enjoy people very much and encountering so many great personalities has enriched my life in many ways. What I do isn’t just about my artwork, it’s about how I want to experience my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First off, we have great art Museums and galleries in DFW. I would suggest the DMA, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas Contemporary, The Crow Museum, and my favorite the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. As far as food, I recommend Locura Small Bites for some awesome Elotes. For great street tacos, Taqueria El Paisano on Lombardy in Dallas is fantastic. For Thai food, Thai Thai on Lower Greenville is incredible and it’s BYOB! For breakfast the AllGood Café in Deep Ellum has excellent food and great live music performances at night. For a solid burger check out my favorite dive bar the Lakewood Landing. Another great bar is the Twilite Lounge in Deep Ellum. It has a laid-back elegant ambience, and they have a killer drink menu.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My art teachers who taught me what I know and made me the artist I am today. I couldn’t have done this without you. I also want to thank all my friends in the DFW art community for always being supportive and giving me the best conversations that challenge me in ways that I couldn’t imagine. The Goldmark Cultural Center for being a second home and giving me opportunities to grow as an artist and person. And of course, my family who taught me how to laugh and enjoy the company of others. I wouldn’t have made it this far without their support. My mom and dad who have been by side throughout every artistic success and failure, through every weird, embarrassing fashion statement I wanted to make, and always provided the comfort and encouragement I needed. Love you!