Born in Ibiza but resident in New York, artist Aída Miró has spent all her life dedicated body and soul to painting and butoh dance. Her interest in combining painting with performance led her to study a postgraduate degree in Scenography and Costume Design in Bristol (UK), where she worked non-stop in theatre, circus, cinema and TV. Since 2007, Aída Miró has been travelling and learning the art of butoh dance with different teachers, combining performances, live painting, oil painting and murals. Her work has been exhibited on an international scale, including Mexico City, Oaxaca, Naples, Athens, Hamburg, India, New York, Miami and San Francisco.
When and how did you know you wanted to dedicate yourself to painting?
I guess painting is something I always did. I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I started painting graffiti on the streets of Ibiza in the 90s. I then studied arts in college and went on to study Fine Art, where I learned how to paint using oils and I started to exhibit my work, while I continued with the graffiti. Although I decided to train in circus and dance, I never wanted to stop painting.
If I went any time without painting, I yearned for it. When I was living in other parts of the world, I was always painting and tried to put on an exhibition. I’ve always tried to do what I enjoy and dedicating oneself to doing that is the best way to find happiness.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Music and dance have always been my source of inspiration. I’m interested in mythology, the dream world, anything related to femininity, mysticism and the unknown. I enjoy painting images of strong, empowered women and portraits of mythological goddesses. Travelling and exploring new places and cultures is always a source of inspiration.
How do music and dance inspire your artwork?
In my eyes, music, dance and painting have always come hand in hand. From painting musicians while listening to their music, to dancing and painting based on dance. I need to dance just as much as I need to paint. I try to bring the two together by doing butoh dance performances at painting launches and at live painting events that bring together live music with painting and people dancing. It creates a very special atmosphere for painting and socialising.
Recently you had the opportunity to take your work to New Jersey with an exhibition named “From Eivissa to New York” and show the cosmopolitan spirit of the island. How did the people of New York react to your work?
Well, they were both very enthusiastic and curious. It was a very large-scale, varied exhibition consisting of 45 pieces. One part of the gallery included pieces created at musical events, which I painted live in NY and the other part included larger and more elaborate oil paintings, self-portraits while dancing butoh, portraits of mythological goddesses, geishas and women.
At the launch, I painted a portrait of the goddess Tanit, live, with lots of people watching. They drank Hierbas Ibicencas liquor, which they had never tasted before. It was very intriguing and lovely to see that the pieces they liked the most were the women draped in traditionally crafted chains (emprendades) and seeing them in such a different context awakening interest and curiosity. They also really enjoyed the pieces based on bodies underwater.
What is life like as an artist in New York?
NYC isn’t an easy city and I didn’t know anyone here when I arrived. But little by little, as is the case with anywhere, you start to find your place. It’s a city full of artistic stimuli with numerous calls that you’ve always got to be aware of and presenting projects. Everything is very fast-moving, it’s a very different rhythm to that of Ibiza. Living here allows you to see plenty of interesting exhibitions, there are opportunities to take part in others and learn more, much quicker. Having such a frenetic lifestyle and then slowing down to do an oil painting is a great challenge.
Let’s say, you need to connect with yourself, immerse yourself in painting and time needs to stop. Creating something that moves so slowly in contrast to the speed of your surroundings. Sometimes I paint live at art events. This has changed the way I paint; more quickly and thought out as if it were a performance.
You also offer classes to pensioners in the Bronx…
The painting classes I give to pensioners in the Bronx is a very enjoyable and rewarding job that allows me to make contact with and provide a service to the community, as well as being well paid. It’s a prize from the Artistic Residence, organised by the Bronx City Council Department of Culture for artists in the area. My students are from Puerto Rico and we speak Spanish in the class and paint while we listen to Spanish songs from their youth: Julio Iglesias, Rocío Jurado, Raphael, El Puma, Joan Manuel Serrat, Concha Piquer or Peret.
They’re very happy and fun people and I’ve connected greatly with them. I want to organise an exhibition for them outside the centre so that they can show their creativity to a wider audience. They are individuals with very interesting lives and they have discovered painting as a means of expression to which they can dedicate their time. It’s never too late to learn.