Manuella Holló is someone I’ve been intrigued to interview since first meeting her back in January. Her childlike effervescence and genuine enthusiasm for life are truly captivating and these qualities make her and her art so special. Each painting holds so much energy, passion and colour – they are bold and seem advanced beyond her 29 years. With a new Spring collection showing at Belmond La Residencia, I decided to pick her brains over a cup of tea in the sunshine and share with you some of her journey from a classical music loving little girl growing up in Hungary to a determined and ambitious female artist living in Deia.
So, first question, Manuella what brought you to live in Deia? I was living in Palma for 2 years before coming here and at that time I started to have a strong feeling that I want to get to know more painters and to be a part of an artist’s community. My friend called Ian, who had been a yoga teacher in London, invited me to the Wake Up Dance in Deia and I met Arturo (Rhodes) a famous artist and he told me so many interesting tales about this place and that was the point that I started to think that I too wanted to live here. I am a Christian and I asked for a sign – that if this was the right decision and God wanted me to paint then I would be shown the way. And in my move here all the doors opened for me, a job came quickly, I found a flat and a welcoming community. This was my sign and this was the best decision!
How did you get involved with art, tell me about your journey from childhood to now? I started painting from around 3 years old. My first teacher was my mum Rozalia who taught me about colours. She would show me a leaf and say “Manuella this is not just green…look…it has reflections of blue and purple…. “And in that way I started to see so many colours in things.
In primary school I won awards for art but I also enjoyed classical music especially playing piano so felt torn between music and art and for high school I had to decide. I chose painting and I don’t really remember why at this age but it is what I wanted.
I went to a specialised high school and learnt graphic design and many different techniques. Then I went to university in Pecs (Hungary) which is a huge student city, 30,000 students live there. The university taught art and classical music which was very appealing to me. Sometimes I asked for the key of the music room so I could go and play piano – the guy on reception was very kind and let me do this.
I had an amazing teacher at Pecs called Tolvaly Erno (he sadly died during the course) and he advised me to do a student exchange in London so I went to the University of Hertfordshire in 2008. At the end of university they chose my paintings for an exhibition in ‘Budapest Exhibition Fresh Degree 2010’, they only chose 2 people from Pecs for this so it was a big honour, soon after this I arrived here in Mallorca where I have been ever since.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Mainly from nature but on the other hand I’m also inspired by the sparkly colourful city life. I have a series called ‘Rise and Shine’ and that was inspired by the shop windows of London (these are on the website). My inspiration really depends of the place I live and now I live in Deia, I really like to paint outside in nature and I don’t like painting from photos because I want all my senses to feel… I like to feel the sun, wind, the movement of the leaves. I am vibrating with them and becoming one with them. I go with my backpack and go right into the nature. I’m becoming one with the nature through my painting.
What is your state of mind when painting? I am a very high energy painter and try to really feel like what is happening in the nature… to feel what the nature feels. I express a lot through colour and shapes. On average my paintings take 5-10 hours which is quite fast and I feel exhausted! It takes all my energy. I can’t do anything afterwards!
How does the society we live in effect and impact your artistic expression? Painting for me is like a mission to share hope and express and share the positive energy of natural life – I think Deia is a very healthy environment and I feel energised here and this can go into my work. I would like to encourage people to live their dreams and escape the shackles of society. I would like to concentrate on this eternal spiritual growing.
Tell me a bit about the collection you have just been working on and what it means to you to display this at La Residencia? I am very happy to be a part of this exhibition.! I have 5 paintings showing there which I painted in January. It was very summery weather here then so I could really experiment with colour technique and emotions outside and this was exciting for me in this series. One of the paintings is ‘Terrace Sensation’ this is a new style abstract/impressionistic. I love to always improve my artistic style and constantly challenge and entertain myself in this way. Many painters find a style and stick on it forever and I feel art is an exploration to keep learning and challenging myself.
Do you have a favourite piece and what it means to you? Each one is special to me and is like an emotional diary. For this collection I would say ‘Terrace Sensation’ (pictured above) maybe because of the new style. It teaches me to be brave, free and confident in life. These are important values to me.
What are your hopes for the community that you live in and the future of Deia? I’m very happy to be a part of this community where we can have deep conversations and create together. I hope we can use our resources in an intelligent way to make Deia burst again in a cultural way again. For all to be conscious and creative – these people who are here they care about health, nature and environment and connection. I want this to grow and continue.
Any encouraging words for aspiring artists and how to follow their dreams as you have? Keep positive in all circumstances because your major thoughts will create the reality around you and be brave and step out in faith.
Manuella tells me one of her favourite quotes by Picasso, which is “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” I think this summarises our interview perfectly.. and with that we hug goodbye and I feel a little bit inspired to go and buy some paints and glitter!
Manuella is available to teach private art classes for children of all ages in and around Deia, If you are interested in booking a lesson in the comfort of your own home or sunny garden then please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org +34 602 540 847 and to view all of Manuella’s work visit http://www.hollomanuella.com/
Interview by Gemma Rapkins