Mixedmedia artist Martina of Isla Del Se talks about her art and life.

Martina Lerede is a creator behind the name Isla Del Se. I have an enormous pleasure to talk to Martina. A very sensitive and self-aware mixedmedia artist. She is creating very thought provoking art-pieces. Her collection is called The Temposcopium and consist of variety of wearable watches and wall clocks that convey a message about time – giving a chance for a receiver to focus on the present moment. Martina is also creating calligraphy in the form of series of letters. These are part of a bigger mysterious story – the one that you can find on her website. Also make sure to visit her instragram.

Image by Martina Lerede. All images in this post © 2019 Isla del Se

How did your life path influence your art?

I started creating since I was born. Reality is a partial experience I have always felt a bit tight. Art is for me primarely a way of living and experiencing the world, it’s my vocation, and a vocation is not something you choose, it’s something which calls you and the more you ignore it the louder it calls you. Actually this is what has happened to me. I have always had a vivid imagination and a genuine pleasure in creating what doesn’t exist, yet growing up my relationship with art got a bit complicated. I have always heard everyone saying I could have never made a living with art, and that choosing to become an artist would have condamned me to social failure. And I ended up believing this. Attending an art academy after high school was what I most longed for but also what scared me the most. I was not strong enough to believe in myself. Then I chose to attend university and study psychology: I felt lost and I thought that way I would have figured out what to do with my life at least. Maybe that had been a pavid choice of mine and admitting it is not pleasant, but still it is not a choice I regret for, at all. Studying psychology has really helped me knowing myself, and this is what has made me stronger. At the end I dedicated my degree thesis exactly to the study of the psychological procesess involved in the creative process: I wanted to understand who an artist really is and why I felt so much scared to become one. Psychology has also given me precious tools to look into the depths of life, where I usually find the raw material par exellance for my work. So we can consider it an example of a bad choice bringing you to the right place. There is a time for everything in life.

The Temposcopium Panta Rei has been embroidered entirely by hand with carefully sourced and upcycled materials. https://www.isladelse.com/artworks/temposcopium-panta-rei/

What is your creative process? What are your self-care routines?

My creative process teems with demons. I call demons those unflattering voices into your head, which have always something to say about your value, the value of your aims and your ability to pursue them. The more valuable is something for you the more mercelessy demons speak to you. My demons, for instance, burst out when I am in front of a blank page, because the possibility of expressing myself creatively is deeply bond to my identity. When I experience a creative block it never happens because of a lack of inspiration; I usually never run out of ideas, I have too much of them instead, an unpleasant situation if demons turn every effort to start something out into a pain, filling your head up with insecurities: the fear of failure, the fear of an undeserved success, the fear of the result not being as perfect as your expectations, and so on. I’ve spent so many years believing that what my demons was telling was my own belief about myself, but knowing them all and giving them all a name I realized this is not true: my demons are part of me, of course, yet they don’t complete me, so when I hear them chatter I know I can challenge them and prove them wrong about my value and what I am capable of. A tireless inner search is what had helped me and is still helping me a lot in doing this. I believe the solution to our problem is always within us; we just need to believe we deserve it.

What is your advice for young artists that are on the beginning journey of finding their path? Who inspires you ?

When I started being serious about the perspective of “becoming” an artist I firstly dealed with the difficulty to legitimate myself to expressing me. Our society has an ambivalent relationship with art: the artist’s work is admired but also often considered useless, unproductive and quite selfish. Internalizing these beliefs is mortifying for an artist. But I think an artist is someone who has the gift of accessing to a more symbolic dimension of life others tend to neglect, and being able to channel it into something tangible others can experience, creating the chance of an emotion and awareness which didn’t exist before. This is why you shouldn’t believe to those saying the world doesn’t need art. Having an artistic talent, anyway, doesn’t mean being able to pour visions into reality without any effort. This is the hard part instead. It’s easy for a young artist to loose motivation, comparing to other successful past or present artists. When I look at other artists’ work I look at their body of work in its entirety, following its development over time; looking at how other artists had started out, how their art has been influenced by their life reminds me that finding your voice is a long process, where it is ok to experiment, to fail. You need to experience yourself to find your voice, and experience asks for mistakes and recurses.Art, by the way, is the movement by which humankind rise toward the spiritual dimension of life, so it is a tension, a continuos quest, maybe endless. I think no artist has ever found his or her voice once and for all, he or she had looked for it restlessly and this is what has made him or her an artist. Beyond your effort’s outcome, if you choose to dedicate yourself to realize your vocation you are inspiring other people to live up their own real self. This is not selfish, because the world needs happy people, because frustration leads to many problems otherwise. Moreover, only when you do what you are born for you can give others the best of yourself.

What is your perspective on artist career? Is a career really important? Should artist sell her/his art?

Monetizing art is an unsettling topic for me. On one side I would like to not need to sell my art, because I would prefer to experience art as a purpose in itself, without the risk of making it a mean for a second purpose, which most of the time is money. It would be mortifying. Anyway everybody needs money to live; knowing that I could make a living with the work of my hands, heart and all of my spirit, surely would make me happy and fullfilled. But, honestly, I am still very bad at selling myself. I have spent the last years finding the courage just to show up my work and being able to do so fullfils me itself, because is an opportunity to make my work send its message, which is what art is for. Buying art anyway is not only about get to possess something, is about supporting the artist’s work, is a way to say: “I appreciate what you do, please keep on doing it”. This is nice.

What do you create as an artist? What is your artist statement? What’s the meaning of your art? Do you have some kind of artist mission statement? What is your ideal lifestyle? What would you change in your life/ in modern human lifestyle?

I consider my art a psychological and poetic exploration of life. I am naturally inclined to look at what lays beyond the surface of life, in its most forgotten details, I tend to question what exists and experiment new symbolical connections, I mostly make metaphores with any medium I get to work with. My work is fostered by the idea that what we are conscious about, even about ourselves, is just a small part of what exists, yet very often is all we limit ourselves to experience. So we live only partially, since we live upon the surface of life and of ourselves, neglecting what lays beyond, secretly shaping our choices and determining who we are. This lack of awarness often protects us from pain but also impoverish us, makes us live coarsly, incomplete. When I sterted taking seriously my desire to devote myself to art I’ve found motivation into the urgency of giving voice to this submerged world, forgotten and denied. Every Temposcopium, for instance, is an occasion to question about the real meaning of Time, beyond our common belief. We are accustomed to experience time as a measurable dimension, this is why we all keep a watch at our wrist and a clock in our homes; we consider time a donkey harnessed around the millstone of our life and so we believe to own it. But is Time really this? Is this the best way to make use of it? Every Temposcopium is a question, every artwork of mine is a question, a chance to doubt about reality to find it always richer and deeper, with the aim of realizing it in its entirety with our aware experience of it.  

Thank you Martina for the wonderful piece of inspiration and insight into your perspective. I can’t wait for to see your new artworks and letters.

Justyna Wołodkiewicz