About the artist

A portrait of the artist, Ileana Montaño

This week we meet Ileana Montaño. Ileana lives in Mexico City, where she works as a graphic communication and advertising professional. She has a profound artistic calling and intense feelings for painting and photography and is continually trying to satisfy her creative craving. She aims to make images with emotion that communicate visions of harmony, beauty and aesthetic pleasure, and to share the joy she feels while creating them.

Ileana desires to develop a particular and unique style and to pass on the idea of appreciating and rejoicing, not only in what one sees but also in what one feels. She wants the observer to be inspired and excited with the interwoven images and stories layered through her emotions.

How did you first get into digital art?

It all started with a Nokia N95 with a fantastic Karl Zeiss lens. Taking pictures at any moment had never been easier!

Why did you choose digital art as your medium?

I chose digital art because of its convenience; suddenly, I had a camera and an edit room wherever I went. All my downtime became creation time!

What artistic styles are you particularly drawn to?

I’m really into painting and photography. I admire the richness and voluptuousness of the Romantics, starting with William Turner’s art, which set the stage for the Impressionist movement; my absolute favourite, especially Monet’s work.

Tell us about the process you use to make your art.

While creating, I do it intuitively; I will often find myself looking for ways to portray feelings, emotions and thoughts through shapes, colours and textures. I do not stick to one theme only; instead, I like to experiment further when I feel the idea is flowing. The subject matter of each piece, the evolutive progression and some fortunate accidents at times, determine the tools I am going to use and the direction I am willing to go.

What inspires you?

For my artistic street photography, light, movement and colour are my inspiration. My self- portrait work is much more personal and intimate, since its influences are my concerns, moods, feelings and ideas.

What is your artistic motivation?

Mainly, the joy of creating and the opportunity to share my vision. Also, being led by my art while I’m working.

Of all your images to date, which is your favourite and why?

My favourite image is a self-portrait entitled ‘Depression: What I can’t see. What I can’t say.’ This image was a cathartic way for me to channel my grief after the death of my mother, and to my surprise, was awarded First Prize Winner of the 2018 Mobile Photography Awards. It is an image that for me, is impregnated with much sadness and yet, much joy as well.

Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?

Dreamy, emotional, contemplative.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?

Don’t let the self-doubt about the output of what you’re willing to achieve and not meeting your high standards override your inspiration.

What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?

I use an iPhone X and an iPad Pro.

Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites?

I use a lot of apps. But, from a vast collection, I regularly come back to Snapseed, iColorama, Formulas and Superimpose X.

Do you use images from stock sites as well as your own photos and if so, which are your favourites and why?

Not really. I try to use my pictures as much as possible to create my work; this is a way to keep it honest and real for me.

And finally, do you find that people dismiss digital art as a valid art form?

Sadly, yes. I think there’s still a mental barrier against the idea of photographs taken with a mobile device. Although it makes me happy that every single day, with everything we accomplish as artists and curators, we are paving the road for the medium to be considered more seriously.

Thank you so much for sharing you thoughts and images with us, Ileana!

Discover more of Ileana’s artwork using the links in her entry in our artists’ directory.


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