Artist Marthalicia Matarrita and her work are the product of cause and effect. To the naked eye, her artwork is a combination of beauty, innocence and decay. Beneath that, her "history, relationships, negative energies [in her] environment and life lessons" are aspects that mold her work.
Like most artists,Matarrita explored art as a child with a box of crayons. Art became her refuge in her formative years."I wasn't good with Math and it affected how I learned. I usually doodled in class".Matarrita moved from doodling to painting when she started classes at La Guardia High School. Outside of the classroom, there was tension at home.Her mother struggled with alcoholism. To escape, she left home and lived in a shelter for 6 years. She later entered the Army National Guard to help pay for college. Matarrita's investment in her art career has also been an investment in herself. "In college, I learned how to express and share my darkness, but also how to use it as a platform to heal myself. Through my work, I can relate to people. I can reach out and communicate with others."
Matarrita's healing has given her a rare strength; The ability to transform the negativity of her naysayers into fuel to help her grow into a multifaceted artist. "Many relatives would tell me 'Don't invest your time in art unless you're rich and have a lot of time on your hand.'" She began to experiment with photography and video. "Working with video allows me to share the process of artists. It lets me explain why we, as artists, do what we do".
This experimentation lead to her creation of the "Basement Art Sessions". Through the "Basement Art Sessions", Matarrita created an art community in the Bronx in 2014."The Basement Art Sessions is a art party designed to inspire and celebrate life. Evolving last year after planning a birthday party planned for her brother and friend, Marthalicia invited a DJ, and applied canvases on wooden doors she collected over the years. After a successful night and realizing the effect the party with those in attendance,[she realized] a lot of people liked getting together.'It wasn’t just me, it was a bunch of other artists that needed it.Each session is very unique. I don't like to dictate anyone on their creativity. It's a sense of freedom, happiness and a feeling of home.'"
Behind the canvas, Matarrita is an old soul. Her capability to look life in the face and rise above its challenges is a true testament to her strength and perseverance. For fellow artists who find themselves trying to tackle the high and lows that life throws their way, Matarrita shares this: "Break away from fears. Put yourself out there and doors will open. Harvest a positive way to understand the negative. We're all fragments of one another. ".