Interview with Cynthia Llanes

Overlooking the Pisgah mountain forest from my porch

“Misty Morning at Reeves Cove”

Interview with Cynthia Llanes

by Rapid River Magazine

We are excited to share important highlights of Cynthia’s  journey as an artist. Here are a few events and new happenings. Here below is an  interview article by  Rapid River Magazine, Asheville’s online arts and culture magazine.

RRM:  What is your philosophy on art’s relevance to modern society? 

Art is an expression of a personal experience that can be shared with others. It multiplies and connects us with each other in an emotional and expressive way. It reminds me of a quote by Cy Twombly (painter, sculptor) “Every line is the actual experience with its own unique story.”

RRM:  At what age did you say, “I’m an artist,” and how long had you been doing art before making this statement to yourself? 

I was 16 years old when I realized being an artist is my true calling. I have been drawing and designing clothes for my paper dolls since I was seven years old.  Then I discovered painting oil on canvas.  So I decided to pursue a Fine Arts degree in college. 

RRM:  To quote Ray Bradbury on talking about what it takes to create, he said, “You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” To create you cannot let fear dictate your art. How did/do you overcome the fear of “I cannot do good enough,” or “I’m never going to be the next (fill in the blank)” or “What will people think of this art?

Often there is fear when I face “the cliff, as I prepare to jump” because I know there is no parachute waiting for me.  The challenge pushes me to go beyond the place of safety.  I learned to love that!  Those moments of boldness to explore and discover are the goals I continue to aim for. To me this is true freedom!  Being authentic to myself is how I overcome the fear of “I’m never going to be the next Picasso.”

RRM:  What art most inspires you? And this doesn’t need to come from your chosen media, and it doesn’t need to be one singular thing, it could be classical jazz and post-modern realism in literature, etc. 

Classical ballet and classical music most inspire me.  The techniques, the rigorous training and the dogged discipline entailed to achieve excellence is mind boggling to me.  The sacrifices and the focus involved to attain great performances are almost too painful.  But these artists are willing to go through it all for the sake of their art.

RRM: How have COVID-19 events changed your creativeness? 

Covid-19 has given me a new perspective, a new appreciation on being isolated. It has actually brought a spotlight to us Creatives. Why did I say this? Because as artists we already know what isolation is (and I still complain about it ). The loneliness of being isolated in the studio to finish a body of work can be overwhelming.  But during this quarantine season, I have stopped whining about isolation.  As a result, I discovered new resources to explore new angles and subject matters.  I have since revisited a couple of art projects that I put aside for a while and I started working on them alone.

RRM:  Some of the best art, across all genres and mediums, seems to come from suffering to some extent. Why do you feel this is so? 

Many great artists have experienced suffering, pain, and rejection. Their painful struggles have given them the courage and the drive to persist and to rise above it all.  The persistence, fearlessness, and the willingness to fail again and again as they do it a thousand times more until it is right, have produced success. Their failures and full dedication to their craft brought them to greatness. 

RRM:  What has being an artist brought to your life?

Being an artist has brought me joy and I love to bring joy to others as well.  It has also brought me confidence in fulfilling my purpose here and beyond.

” I like to capture a moment in time… share my experience and translate
it with colors, texture and light. “