MHAF Featured Artist | Mahlia Amatina: The Abstract Colourist Painter
Mahlia Amatina, Painter
My vision is colour. My heartbeat is rhyme. My mind expands with bursts of line, shape, and form. And my hands tell my stories. I paint from an intuitive, visionary space, compelled to tell stories through art that can heal, transform, and transcend boundaries.” – Mahlia Amatina
Mahlia Amatina, the Abstract Colourist, is a visionary artist on the autism spectrum with an international background that inspires her passionate abstract art. With roots from lands afar, her artistic inspiration stems from the varied landscapes and flavours of her global travels. Amatina’s wanderlust and love of the world fuels her mission to strive for understanding and continued kinship with all earthly beings.
Amatina developed her signature style of Abstract Colourism through her search to merge expressive colour with a narrative element. Painting intuitively from her own pulse of acute emotions, she creates storytelling through abstraction that transcends language and can speak to all. Using acrylic paint, oil sticks, Indian ink, and all manner of mixed media on paper and canvas, Amatina explodes through traditional boundaries of style and purpose.
Mahlia Amatina’s work can be seen at both fine art venues and community venues, as she pushes for artwork to be experienced by a wider variety of audiences. Amatina’s work has been presented at Alliance Healthcare, the NHS, Epoch3 Gallery, Reading Town Hall, Jelly, Watlington House Hall, as well as a variety of outdoor venues including art trails scheduled for 2016. A passionate advocate for service and volunteering, both in her community and abroad, Amatina has volunteered with children’s arts organizations in Nepal, Lithuania, and more. Amatina recently took part in ‘Art on the Street’ in Maidenhead.
Please continue below to read Mahlia’s story in her own words.
“I am from a town called Reading which is based in England, the UK. It’s about 40 miles west of London and is most famous for its huge rock festival that takes place each summer. I have been painting formally for about a year now, but I’ve been creating art since I was a small child. I’ve always had a strong imagination and feel for creativity, and growing up I’ve applied it to all aspects of my life – whether I’m thinking laterally or designing an outfit that I have in mind.
I got involved in art quite simply: I was made redundant in my job at the start of last year and decided to spend a bit of time doing things I enjoy before applying for a new role. I did a weekend course in abstract painting, and it all took on from there really. I felt super-compelled to paint and create vibrant, colourful art with stories behind them. Apart from the weekend course and the odd day of learning, I’ve pretty much just taught myself through practise and experimentation … It really is quite intuitive. I would simply ‘look’ and ‘feel’ to get a sense of what colours will work together and complement the theme, emotional connection and message that I am trying to convey in a painting. It’s actually quite hard to put into words! I feel focused. In the zone. Nothing else exists – or cares to matter. Total immersion as the art form becomes an extension of me in front of my very eyes …”
“My personal artistic inspiration comes from landscapes I’ve seen around the world and the people I encounter along the way. Everyone has a story to tell, and my art starts way before I pick up a paintbrush – and carries on long after the paint has dried. It evokes discussion and is based around social issues and causes that are important to me. This is ultimately what drives me. For instance, my recent solo exhibition was fuelled by the earthquakes that took place in Nepal last year and helping the people affected by them. This was a huge achievement. The exhibition was inspired by my time spent volunteering, living and travelling the land. I was devastated by the earthquakes that took place and this propelled me to do an exhibition and raise hundreds of pounds for the surviving victims who are still continuing to rebuild their lives. It meant a great deal to me.”
(View a Q&A with Mahlia below)
“I’m actually quite new in terms of receiving a ASD diagnosis: in the last six months. It came about through observations from other healthcare staff, which led to extensive assessments that then produced my diagnosis. Because it’s such a new diagnosis, I suppose I just haven’t been able to reflect too much on it yet. The dust is very much still settling, to say the least. My next art project will be based on Asperger’s, which I hope will enable me to process the diagnosis and understand it better.
There are many challenges! As we all know. But the greatest one by far is the complete unpredictability around a career as an artist. There’s no sense of control in terms of how things will go. The time or effort you put in does not necessarily create a positive correlation in relation to your ability to succeed and earn a living from art – in the same way that other careers may do. Additionally, and although I try very hard to create one – there is often no structure – and it can all feel like navigating an arbitrary minefield at times.“
The Mountains Are Alive
“I am currently working on ‘Around the World in 80 Washing Lines’ which is a social art project pegging us together, around the world, irrespective of who, what or where we are. Washing clothes is an everyday task that binds us, and is a universally accepted notion and task that we all understand and undertake. The project is about culture and diversity; the differences and the similarities between us as human beings.
The aim is to create 80 different pieces of artwork, each featuring a washing line which has been inspired by people from all over the world, who have told me their stories and passed on photos from 80 different countries. I’ll be running community workshops with people from all different cultures and backgrounds in my local area to help inspire the work too. Each piece of art will feature a mini-blog alongside it to showcase the story behind the washing line.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the project and would even consider supporting the cause, do please take a look at my Kickstarter campaign here.
My next project will be based around Asperger’s Syndrome with one of the aims being to raise awareness of it, as well as to provide people with a perspective of what it’s actually like. It would be so fantastic to have input from you guys on this! It goes without saying that if I have any funding leftover or money made from ‘Around the World in 80 Washing Lines’ then it will absolutely be ploughed into this project. I’m excited already!”
“My greatest hope for my future is that I can stay well and continue to work as an artist; and that my art can have a have a positive influence on people either through its aesthetic or social messaging qualities.”
To Elevated Heights
We look forward to following Mahlia’s artistic pursuits and wish her the best of luck with her “Around the World in 80 Washing Lines” project. If you would like to contribute to her Kickstarter campaign, please click the button below.