In a recent episode of the Art & Cocktails podcast, editor Ekaterina Popova had an uplifting conversation with Tania Marmolejo, a Dominican Swedish American artist known for her strong and moving female expressions in her paintings. This episode provides invaluable insights on navigating the current slow art market, finding resilience amidst global uncertainties, and staying true to one's artistic voice.

Episode Highlights

Current Market Challenges: Tania and Kat discuss the impact of global events on the art market and how artists can navigate slow sales and economic uncertainties without giving in to fear. They emphasize the importance of staying calm and focused, even when the market appears daunting.

Resilience and Creativity: Tania offers a new perspective on staying true to one’s artistic voice, preparing for future success, and using this time to develop new and surprising work for collectors. She stresses that periods of slow sales should be seen as opportunities for growth and exploration.

Practical Advice: The episode is packed with tips on maintaining productivity, creating without the pressure of deadlines, and continuing to grow and evolve as an artist. Tania encourages artists to use this time to experiment and refine their craft.

Red Flags in the Art World: Tania shares her insights on what artists should look out for when approached by higher-level galleries and maintaining the integrity of their voice. She underscores the importance of clear communication and understanding one’s value.

The Importance of Artist Support Groups: Both Tania and Kat highlight the value of communities like Art Queens for sharing ideas, supporting each other, and navigating tough times together. They emphasize the power of collective strength and mutual encouragement.

Personal Reflections: Tania and Kat reflect on their own experiences, the ebb and flow of the market, and staying optimistic about the future of the art world. Their personal stories offer hope and motivation to artists facing similar challenges.

Upcoming Projects: Tania shares her plans for the summer, including a break in Spain, a new project in the Dominican Republic, and exciting developments in her work. Her enthusiasm for future projects is infectious and inspiring.

About Tania Marmolejo Andersson

Tania Marmolejo Andersson was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1975. Influenced by her Scandinavian and Caribbean heritage, she studied Graphic Design and Illustration in Norway before returning to the Dominican Republic to study Fine Arts at the Altos de Chavón School of Design.

In 1998, she received the Bluhdorn Scholarship and continued her studies at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, graduating in Fine Arts and Illustration in 2000. She began her artistic career as an illustrator for the fashion and lifestyle sections of Obsidiana magazine (New York) and designed characters and backgrounds for MTV, PBS, Hyperion/Disney, and Scholastic Books, receiving various ASIFA and CINE awards.

In 2005, she joined MadArts Studios in Brooklyn, NY, and District and Co. Gallery in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, participating in several group exhibitions. Her work has been exhibited in numerous national and international exhibitions, including the Iberoamerican Art Salons in Washington DC and international art fairs such as Context Art Miami during Art Basel and Pinta NY.

Tania has also designed textiles for the L’Amour by Nanette Lepore line for JC Penney and Nicole Miller Intimates, and an artistic tile collection for Aguayo Tiles in the Dominican Republic. She was selected to represent the Dominican Republic at the Fourth and Sixth Ibero-American Design Biennial (BID) in Madrid, Spain, in 2014 and 2018.

Her artwork has been part of important national cultural campaigns in the Dominican Republic, such as the Cerveza Presidente campaign “Celébralo con Orgullo” (Celebrate with pride) in 2020. Recognized as a remarkable contemporary artist, she is featured in the book “Dominicanas fuera de serie. 150 mujeres que transformaron la República Dominicana” (Dominicans out of the charts. 150 women who transformed the Dominican Republic), by Geraldine de Santis, 2021.

Sponsor: Create! Magazine - A contemporary print and digital publication highlighting emerging contemporary artists from around the world. Become a subscriber at and use code 'newreader' to save 20% off digital subscriptions.

Follow Tania Marmolejo:

Stay Connected with Kat:

Thank you for joining us! Don't forget to subscribe and leave some love in a review for the podcast to help us continue sharing these insightful conversations. See you in the next episode!


Ekaterina Popova: Hello and welcome to Art and Cocktails. I'm so excited that you're here. And today I invited my dear friend Tania Marmolejo to come and talk to me on the show. We actually have another episode with Tania from a few years ago, so if you want to hear her origin story, you can scroll back and listen to her inspiration, how she became an artist, and more. But today we're going to talk about something a little different. You may have noticed that the markets have been a little bit slow and rightfully so. The world is filled with wars, elections, unrest, and a slow economy. And I love this episode because instead of really complaining and giving in to fear, Tania really offers a new perspective. You're going to love hearing all the ways that we as artists can really lean into our voice, be honest about what we're feeling and experiencing, and prepare ourselves for success in the future. Because, as you know, life is not linear. There are ups and downs and the same thing in the market. So if you're having a hard time with sales right now, or maybe your galleries aren't performing as well as they used to, don't panic. Listen to this episode, get encouraged, and then get to work.

Before we jump in and have this amazing chat with Tania, I want to thank our sponsor, Create Magazine. Create Magazine is a contemporary print and digital publication highlighting emerging contemporary artists from all over the world. Consider becoming a subscriber by going to and you can use the code "inyourreader" to save 20% off our digital subscriptions. Thank you so much for your support. We love hearing from you and we love sharing these insightful conversations to keep you going on your journey. Without further ado, let's go ahead and chat with Tania.

Ekaterina Popova: This meeting is being recorded. Hello and welcome to Art and Cocktails. Today I have a really special friend who's actually been a guest on the show before and Tania is back and I'm so excited to chat with her about what she's been up to. And we recently actually went to the beach together. So welcome back, Tania.

Tania Marmolejo: Thank you so much, Kat. I so enjoyed that weekend. We needed it badly. It was just, it was so magical. The ocean just has, we were talking about how it just has healing powers. And no matter what's happening in your life, you can just look at the horizon and listen to the waves and you just know everything is going to be okay.

Ekaterina Popova: So if you haven't met Tania yet, we do have an episode with her story and a little bit more intro about her work and what she's passionate about in her painting. And I believe it's from a year or two ago now. Time is flying by super fast. I don't even know where it's going. So you can listen to that. But if you could just briefly introduce yourself for our wonderful listeners, for those who may not have heard that episode and want to just jump into the new one right away.

Tania Marmolejo: Absolutely. I'm Tania Marmolejo and I am a Dominican Swedish American artist. It sounds like a mouthful, but I have a Swedish mother. So I was raised between the two places, summers spent in Sweden and the rest of my life in the Dominican Republic until I was about 17. And that really builds a huge background of what I depict in my art. That's a really big influence. And I'm sort of known for creating these ambiguous female expressions, large female faces of characters, and they're basically the characters that tell my story from when I was young, my upbringing with two very distinct cultures, but also what it means to grow up a woman, a young and now in a sort of more mature time, and also sort of navigating our own issues, feelings, but also even the art world. I'm trying to be a voice in a sense for women and a voice for female artists. I did a TED talk about women and art. I've always been very female, sort of empowerment oriented, so a lot of my work has to do with that. I'm considered a little bit of a feminist painter, which I have no qualms or regrets. So yeah, that's right.

Ekaterina Popova: And for those listening, we'll also include some images, of course, in the podcast and blog where I'm everywhere. So you can check out Tania's work and on Instagram. We talk about your work and the emotions behind your work a lot in our first episode. But today, you know, this has been, what, it's been four years since COVID and it's been two years since we chatted publicly on the show. And I want to talk a little bit about some of the challenges that we're all experiencing, both in the art world and the economy. There's a lot going on in the world in general, a lot of difficult stuff, but not to be negative or, you know, to be discouraged or defeated, but rather like, what do we do during this time? And, you know, for many of us, and I love to hear your thoughts on this too, like COVID, as much as it was a really tragic and scary time, a lot of our art careers lost them during that time. We got new opportunities, international shows and new collectors, and a lot of like momentum for those four years is very concentrated. And now, I mean, if you read the news or the art news, rather, you probably see that things are a little bit more quiet and it can be really scary to navigate that coming from such a high for many of us and even myself, like even in business. And last year was the hardest year for me, you know, going from growing, growing, growing, and then just things feel like they abruptly stop. How have you been handling that? And I'll share some of my thoughts as well. And I kind of shared with my podcast listeners before, but I would love to hear like, you know, what, because I know it's really scary when it first starts happening, right? Like, how have you been navigating the changes? And because we know everything goes up and down all the time and it's going to come back up. But just this moment in time.

Tania Marmolejo: Absolutely. And there was one thing that happened when I used to also work as a designer. I had several design positions. And even in that time when design was my main focus, we had to deal with the ebb and flow of markets. And, you know, the design department was affected by what was going on in the markets. People weren't buying as much if there was a recession. And we had to really create, you know, pieces that people would sort of really fall in love with what happened now, I think that after COVID, we experienced this never before. And I think it's really. Probably record breaking boom in art. And that part like it was also, you know, the construction business, it was wood, you know, carpenters, things that had to do with home improvement, with bettering your homes, decorating your homes, because, of course, we were stuck in our homes. It it became this sort of huge obsession to collect art because it was a very tangible place to put your money as an investor. And it seemed to be never ending. There were all these, let's say. Beginning, you know, beginner artist people who were being discovered right there in there. And there was also there was all this excitement about discovering people through Instagram, through social media, and there was a lot of hype. So there was a group that, let's say, enjoyed that huge bubble where things just burst. It seemed like people would pay anything. But what happens? There is always an ebb and flow. And being a seasoned person like in the in the situation of market, I knew that there was going to be a lull after this big boom. We didn't know when. And so people were like, oh, you know, this is this must be so marvelous. You're like, in this huge boom. It was fantastic and it was beautiful. But there was always this little voice behind me saying, Invest well, organize yourself, because there's going to be a lull. And lo and behold, we're sort of in this this time now, where because of different reasons, wars in the world, different elections in many countries, not just, you know, principal ones, but many countries where there is a lot of money in art and collectors, there's there's like this uncertainty. What happens, you know, when there are elections and where there is war in countries, there is an uncertainty. You can feel it in the stock market as well. I mean, if anyone is investing in the stock market, it has not been doing the best. So we're like, I'm telling you, that's a whole other conversation. Yeah, that's the next that's the next part. I guess we'll have John and Mike talk to us about that. We be. Yeah, but, but it's very interesting because what was expected is happening and I'm not sure that everyone was expecting it to happen so quickly. We really wanted to ride that wave. But I've been talking a lot with galleries and I've been talking a lot with artists, and it is definitely a recession in the art market. People are holding onto their money. They're not willing to spend as much. Yeah. Is it a complete stop? No. But galleries who have huge rents and let's say businesses that depend on them investing a lot of money in art are going to suffer. They're suffering tremendously right now. And it's awfully sad because we would love for everyone to do really well. But what happens with artists like we are a very malleable bunch and we are in our core. We're built to transform ourselves, I think.

Ekaterina Popova: Absolutely. I think that this is not a time to panic. This is actually time to, you know, bring ourselves down to our core, to think a lot. What do we really want? What do we want to do? What do we want to spend our time on? What do we how do we see things going in the future? If everything is as you hoped it would be before, take this as a time to really kind of develop who you are. Rarely do we get a chance to have the time where there's not so much pressure to really investigate who you really are. And I know that that's you know, the panic button is right next to that because I'm one that if I don't have a deadline, I start kind of so somewhat panicking. I work well under pressure. If there is no deadline, I'm like, what am I going to do with myself? So what happened was I think I started saying, okay, there were. I'm one of the ones that had a canceled show. You know, many of us had canceled show or postponed, let's rather say, postpone until the market picks up again, because it's a big responsibility for a gallery to carry a full solo show if no one wants to pay, you know, money. So I'm like, okay, so what do I do? I start figuring out I'm going to work on my on my, on my paintings, trying to find a new path I want to once this market picks up again, I want to be able to surprise the the buyers. I want to come up with something fresh. That's obviously easier said than done and it takes a lot of experimenting. And so I've been a little bit quiet. Because I've been working in my studio. Some things I'm kind of loving, some things I'm not. But what's happened, which is interesting, is that I've entered the same frenzy of creating like a pace of creating than if it would have been with a deadline. Because I'm getting something and I'm like, not not that's not kind of it's not I'm not feeling. And then so I started another painting of this feeling something something more interesting here. And then I start another painting and there's no rules like just go for it as an artist, take, take, maybe take this time to kind of do that. The thing that I think is really, really important for an artist is to think that this is not a time to lower your prices. No, it's not a time to throw in the towel. It doesn't mean that that's what's going on. Do not lower your prices if you need to. Pivot and feel that there is something else. Like maybe your your paintings were large and the prices were high. Try painting smaller paintings, make a small collection, make a small capsule collection that you title at a specific time and know, and make that the correct price for that. But an opportunity for collectors to still acquire your work without paying huge sums. And it doesn't mean that they bought a smaller painting that they won't buy a larger one. They probably will because they're going to support you 1%.

Ekaterina Popova: Yeah, I tell that to my community all the time. I think there is. We all, of course, want the large, beautiful, multi-thousand dollar sale, but sometimes it just isn't happening for many reasons. It's not your fault. It's not that you're a bad artist or you need to give up. It's like, I love what you said. It's not a time to freak out, even though I think it's okay to freak out a little, just to let out some of that energy. And then, like, I let myself spiral and then I like, I'm like, okay, time to go to work. But like, processing and acknowledging it's scary and uncertain and it's definitely like a stress response in the body to like, you know, basically have the rug pulled from under you that your use the cushy rug that was there for us for four years is gone, but it's going to come back. But I wanted to read this quote. I recently posted it by Toni Morrison, and I love this quote, especially for now. This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. And I think that quote is perfect for what you're saying, because we do have a voice. And even though like I want to talk about this next, because like for me, this is a big turn off. And I can't say that I've directly experienced this because I don't let like I just don't let things get there. But I know, especially as you get higher up and working with galleries, there's more expectations and like almost like gatekeeping of the artist's work in a way, like what you can do, what you can say, and you being a very outspoken and bold and passionate person and wonderfully so, like we need more artists to use their voice, whether it's for feminism or whatever. You're, you know, you want to talk about how do you navigate that? Because I know, like you're an ambitious person. I mean, do you want to grow? Do you want to continue working with higher level galleries? But how do you preserve the integrity of your voice when it feels like someone's saying, you should do this or you shouldn't do that, or you shouldn't paint like that? Like I don't know if you've ever heard. I'm not saying that that directly say that, but the vibe sometimes can be like that and I've experienced some of it myself. So just love to hear your thoughts on that.

Tania Marmolejo: Absolutely. I I'm 100% with you. There's like an expectation, right, that comes once you are an artist that are sort of established and you've been with with certain galleries for a time, there's an expectation that you're going to join a different gallery group, that you're going to sort of ride higher and your prices will be higher. And collectors will expect that the money that they've invested will come back to them, you know, twofold. And and that's perfectly okay. And and as a collector, I'm sure that that that is a big motivator. But I think that what is not fair is for the pressure on that artist to manifest itself where the artist cannot should not collaborate with galleries that they deem worthy or because there is a friendship. Or if the artist has a set price and if the gallery has contacts that are worthy, there to me should be no reason why you cannot continue our relationship if we're here to enjoy our life. And what my biggest motivators for having switched from being in design to having to becoming a full time artist was the enjoyment of the time that I spent in my life. I'm not spending it for anybody else other than for myself and my family and those close to me. And I want to have control of my time and I want to have control of who I get to interact with. And this is important because it can become very, very stressful to deal with, very high end galleries. And I'm not saying do not do that because I'm one that obviously I'm very open to. Yes, I would love to to work with the hiring galleries, but I do not want to sacrifice this sort of enjoyment of life, this piece of mind. When I say yes to a gallery and I'm going to work with them, I want them to understand that when I say yes and I say I will do a project that I am true to my word I'm known for that I don't want to be an artist that cancels, shows that flip flops, because I want to get to this higher, higher, higher place. There is a danger in that because. You also lose credibility with the galleries that had in the beginning contacted you and trusted you. When you start canceling all their shows because you have a higher gallery that contacts you, and I learned this basically from firsthand experience, and I'm struggling with this right now. When do you say no thank you? I I to a smaller gallery. I have to cancel this because this bigger gallery is calling my name. Or when do you say, may I please finish the projects that I have with these smaller galleries? Will you be there next year and we can continue? I don't believe in this exaggerated rush that we are a part of now, as if every single, you know, week adds or takes away from your monetary worth. As an artist, I really, really, really wish we would all slow down a little bit and hope for the time where when collectors collected work, it was because they wanted their children to inherit it. It's become such a crazy time, and I think that that's part of why the art market right now is in such a craze where we haven't seen maybe in 20 with the, you know, the collapse of the housing market. We had people panic this much for I don't think that there has been such a panic in an art world because I don't think that there has been so much money invested in art suddenly, so immediately expecting such a huge return in such a short time pressure and so much pressure when what other industry like, even stocks like, even when you buy a stock, you don't put that much pressure on a company to grow like, you know, people invested in Twitter or whatever. And things have been slow. They have not turn a profit for ever. Probably still them. But yeah, you're told to hold on and think of the long run. Yeah. Think about the future. Think about the story and the history. And it's not fair for especially single artists who don't have we don't have unlimited time. It takes time. You, no matter how fast of a painter you are, it takes time and mental space and regulate a nervous system when you're not freaking out or feeling so much pressure. There's a lot to talk about here. But I want to go back and ask you if you were to go back, because I know, you know, you've grown so much and you had so many amazing experiences and accomplishments. But when someone like, let's say, higher up comes to you and says, you know, cancel everything, we want to work with you, what are some red flags that artists should look? Because here's why I'm asking. When I started and a gallery would reach out to me, I just almost didn't care. I didn't do my research. I was like, Yes, yes, yes, I'll do what I will. I'll pay you tomorrow. I'll hand delivered to you like I was a yes girl. And that really paid a toll. And I think in the beginning that scrappiness serves you because you you show up, you get all the whatever opportunities come your way, you do it. But as you get older and you don't have as much energy and you have more responsibilities and more collaborations, more galleries, more clients, how do you know? And what should we listen to when someone comes to us? Like, What are the red flags we should look out for? For our own best interest as artists or, you know, even as business people? Because let's be honest, like we we're in it for business, too. We're not just losing. We're we're not just loving what we do. We make a living off of it. And we have to think as business people, we have to our art creates our business.

Tania Marmolejo: I think that a red flag is when you do not receive answers to your emails when you're sort of ignored. I should have seen that with with one of the cases. Well, with the case that has been my little Achilles heel, you know, pain in the butt. Yeah. Because it's it's interesting because we are so ready to say yes, yes, yes, I will do what you want because it's a well-known gallery that you don't realize. Do they ever send you a contract saying, we're going to hire you and this, you know, please let go of your other how do you say your other relationships with other galleries? Because we're going to represent you know, I did not receive a contract saying we'd like you to sign this and say from 2024 on, you will belong to basically us. We will be the ones who represent you. We need to pay attention to the small details. And when a gallery approaches you and says, I would like to work with you to really realize that you are as important, if not more, than the gallery. The gallery is going to be your voice and they're going to put you out there, but you're the one that's going to create the work. You need to know who you're creating with. You need to feel comfortable. You need to be assured that you're going to have this job with them. They need to either put it in writing, maybe make a contract if it is going to be such a definitive let's such a definitive decision that you're that you need to let go of other relationships that you are with. That's huge. I mean, you make wonderful relationships with galleries and they're asking you to not have these relationships anymore. I think it's very, very important for you to realize who you are and what your worth is and put your stamp down and say, okay, but these are my conditions. I would like to have this in writing because I have other galleries interest in me. I am enjoying my current situation, like you have many A, B, and C reasons as to why you would need something in writing and also in the back of your mind know that nothing is 100%. So be careful. Do not burn your bridges. Do not just quit. Do not just you know that horrible to you that absolutely. I don't think anyone should work with any situation gallery person that makes them absolutely miserable. But if it's just because it's a gallery that is not as big as another one, I mean, times change. You never know when where this gallery will be in a couple of years. There's a lot of ambition. Young people starting new businesses and galleries may be the next big thing. And it's a wonderful thing to have a good relationship with your galleries, to have only this sort of one thing.

Ekaterina Popova: Thank you for sharing that. I think that's one thing that really bothers me is the kind of like hierarchy or judgment of who is deemed worthy or, you know, who is up there and who's not. Because I don't think it's fair. And I know from a collectors perspective, like I was reading this book, I shared it with you by Bianca Barker, get the picture. And it talks about like the higher parts of the art world and how a gallery owner specifically said he doesn't want any Josh modes or regular collectors in a space because he only wants museum level collectors. And that kind of like, that's fine. I'm trying not to judge little judgey, but I really that bothers me because I'm like, why? Why can't a normal person buy art? And also from the artist perspective, you know, you can wait ten years for a museum level collector to stop by. Like, what are you not supposed to eat or pay rent until then? Like, and that creates this elitist culture where you almost once again have to come for money or connections to be part of this game where that's just not true anymore. Like the past ten years with social media and like whatever COVID, we don't need that kind of elitist attitude. And it really turns a lot of people off and it prevents artists from getting paid. And I just that whole thing just really, truly bothers me.

Tania Marmolejo: I agree. There was a moment where, you know, artists, because of social media and the platforms that started, had a power to sell their art through the non-conventional methods. And then there were so many of them that collectors started going back to the galleries saying, Who should I collect? Because there's just too much of these platforms. So galleries became important again in the sense that they're going to guide this collector as to where they're going to go. But what happens is too often the not the galleries, the art reps, the curators, I'm going to say, quote unquote, because there's so many people calling themselves curators now Yeah, they're all following the same pattern that they see because they go to freeze and they go to, you know, to the art fairs. And yet there's just there's so much more interesting art happening outside. And I'm dying for that to become known again. Like, what else do we need to do to have this? Status quo of the same people, same like it's the same artists, same group of galleries, reaping and you know, and even even like within artists because of like the algorithm. That's like the downside of social media people. I noticed people are starting to paint the same type of way even, and it scares me. I'm like, I come to this to discover something fresh and new. Why is everything with like a carbon copy a worse carbon copy of the other thing, and I agree with you, I think we do need we need like a renaissance where artists use their voice and it can include galleries and curators. But we all got to like stop trying to find a, like you said, as a pattern or blueprint or whatever. It just becomes so washed out and boring. Like every time I go to no offense to Miami, but it like every year it's the same exact there. Like there's nothing changed in the booths and it's like Marilyn Monroe glitter painting and I'm like or Damien Hirst and I'm like, What? And I haven't been a part of the fairs for a long time because of it, because I just don't feel that there's going to be anything new that's going to stand out. The galleries that I work with also have been shy about fairs because also it's very costly, very least 100 grand for some of these things if you want a large booth. Yeah, well, I think that one of the very best things that one can do, and I think that you are a part of this cat, is to join like the support group for artists like the art queens the the different because in a time when there's a lot of uncertainty when we come together with similar questions and similar feels, that becomes a powerful group. It's not like a group for, you know, just unloading your know or a group for sharing ideas. What can we do? What should we do? There's many a project that has started with this kind of support group, and I think that they're super important. We can do this alone. Like, you know, I think that that to talk to other artists, to talk to galleries, I talked to the galleries that I work with constantly. How's everybody doing? How are you guys doing? I want to feel it out. Like, are they also going through trouble? There are some that are going through more trouble than others and you start to get a feel of what's out there. But I would really be sad if I saw that all the progress that I felt was made after COVID, where there was this huge chance to be seen and to matter, disappears because is going back to like this old way of thinking where only a few artists get to kind of be out there. Yeah. Hoping that because there's nothing is ever 100% bad, this is also a chance for opportunity like a low market. Even in the stock market. If you're smart, you start looking for where you know you should invest. That isn't the most typical. It isn't one of the big companies that's losing, let's say. So in art. We were talking about this before even huge artists there now in. Auctions that are not selling for very expensive. Those collectors, those collectors who ever wanted to pay something for or ever wanted to collect certain artists. This is actually the time to do it and to know that every market. It's never forever. It's going to come back. And to think, well, which artists do you think will make it and invest in those artists? This could be your best time ever. I mean, you will have very good prices because the auction market is not doing as well as they would like. But that's that doesn't mean that that's not an opportunity for somebody else, for another collector and a collector that wants to begin being taken seriously. Like you say, it has to be almost museum quality for you to qualify with certain galleries. If you start buying at auction certain pieces and then show the galleries that you have these pieces in your collection, that's a way to get in to the art world. There's a little bit of opportunity for everyone, for sure. For artists, I think it really is. It kind of like getting back to your roots. Who am I? What am I going to represent? Plant your flag down. Be strong. Develop your. Your next move. I think that one way of doing it is to think of something that might surprise your collectors when you're starting the next chapter when this art market picks up again. You have this map with, like, something interesting and different, and that's hard. That's easier said than done. Obviously, you have to really work with the time. We don't have distractions. We don't have like for me, I mean, I purposely got rid of a lot of my schedule because I'm just a little burnt out. But I gave myself the next year or two and I have that luxury and I can talk about that in the moment. But I was like, I, you know, right now, nothing. There's things happening. I had opportunities, but I'm like, I'm just going to say, I want to take the slow time. It's like the winter, right? In the winter you like the seeds are not. They're just dormant and they're not dead. They're just going to they're going to come out. The trees are going to bloom again. But this is not the time to, like, try to force the tree to produce fruit. It's not going to happen. I know in some cases it will. There's other things we can do, but I'm like, why not? Just like you said, go back to our roots, go back within. And I asked myself recently, like, What do I want to say next with my art? I said what I wanted to say about the last body of work. I feel really satisfied with that. It's like a closed chapter for me and I'm like, There's something else new and there's like a new chapter and it's exciting. It's not a time to be scared. It's a time to, like, listen to yourself and spend more time, like reflecting and looking at art and talking with artists, like you said. And it can be a really wonderful because I look back and honestly like during hard times we don't enjoy it. Like, let's be honest, we all want more abundance, more money, more sales. Like, who doesn't, right? Like no one is. Like, I can't wait for things to be slow, but when I look back on my life and some of those like more poor struggle city periods of my life, there's some of the most magical, creative times where new ideas came out because I wasn't distracted. I didn't have like, you know, I couldn't indulge in vices, like, so little bit like I'm an incubator. So, like, I think this is a beautiful time to incubate both your career and your practice. And I think there's still a lot of business opportunities, even though it might not look like what it looked like two years ago. Right? Like we can still make money, just isn't going to look the same way.

Tania Marmolejo: I think that the the detail here is to be 100% honest. If you look at our history and you think of, oh, you you can imagine these gorgeous times where things were lovely and beautiful and you have like the impressionist paintings of gardens and people in cafes and having a lovely time. And then you have these harsh paintings of reality and war, like with the German Expressionists and everything that was we're talking about. Kathy Cole It's just that like and who do we like that basically? And I've always said that like to me art is like this thermometer of humanity. It shows us what we're going through. And that means personally as well, this has to be a major event. Isn't the be that your country is at war, but what are your insecurities? Paint them pink, your insecurities. It doesn't all. If you're used to painting flowers and beautiful landscapes and you're going through a tough time, what is your heart telling you to do right now? Is it stormy clouds? Is it like a dark, dark void? Do it. Don't even question it. Just everything that you're feeling, put it out there because you never know what path that's going to set you on. And it can be a very interesting one. One is that I've always said that. Which is why I don't pay a lot of attention to galleries and gallerists that would love to see something, something else coming. I left the paint a year on from art. Yes, I can, but it's not what I'm feeling at the moment. And it is. I always really, really want to do things honestly so that when I look at a piece, I know where I was at that moment. I can know that time. And it is a conversation with the viewer that you're having. You're sort of telling them something. And what's more interesting than not is when you are going through something personally. More often than not, it's a collective experience and you look at things broadly later and you see that a lot of artists have been going through that as well. And who knows that this dark, you know, market time, uncertain time, brings out a certain time period in artists lives where we sort of end up in a, oh, this is the in, you know, and I'm going to say impressionist, but it's not really that like introverted something, something period of art is like I'll just name it might be a time where we're sort of reflecting and more often than not where we're grouped because we've got two things simultaneously. And it'll be interesting to see what we all paint in these times if we are honest and not just go with our set things.

Ekaterina Popova: Yeah, that's one of the gifts too, is to be able to create work. Of course, you know, when we're making work for sale, there's always that little voice in our head. But I think to really develop as an artist, that's part of the reason why I'm also taking time off is just to make work that don't have pressure on sales. You just want to say something, right? And that's really what art is about. And it's a nice sense of privilege that we're able to sell it and connect with people that way. But at the end of the day, like, why are we artists? And I find myself, you know, this kind of broke my heart, I think when when the market really slowed down, I seen in my community, I just I see it a lot. And a lot of artists shut down doors. They moved out of their studios and they said, we're not making art, but I invite all of us to be a little more scrappy, like, sure, maybe we can afford a 2000 square foot studio, but we could make little paintings, grab a sketchbook, draw. You can make art. There's people who are in prison that think that we have to get incarcerated. But, you know, there's always a way. And I think, like, we've really got to own that. We don't need a ton to say something important and make it beautiful.

Tania Marmolejo: On the contrary, we have to realize what kind of creatures we are and who we belong to. We're artists like we have been the toughest, you know, humans from the beginning of time. We're the ones that that relate and tell humanity stories. We tell our personal stories. We paint on cave walls and who knows what those cave and Paleolithic men went through at that time? But we prevail. And we we drew, we painted, we sketched. And it's not the time to kind of throw it out and say, I can't do this. It's a time to realize who you belong to be proud of being an artist. Be proud of saying like this is I belong to this really tough group. I mean, the ones that. Hopefully less now, but like we're famous when we die. Yeah, that's enough. We'll be famous before that. But it's sort of like this thing where we chose this. It's not the easiest to choose. And it's why parents roll their eyes. Or it's like the meme with the it's like, forget about drugs. Just think, you know, hard school and you'll never have enough money for drugs because yes, we did well after so many artists did. But that isn't like let's remember that everything really is a back and forth ebb and flow and like grab on to something. Monetarily, do not invest. Everything leaves in cash, cash and don't make too much money or the government will take all of that. I'm just kidding. But it is. But it is true. It's like that's a whole other check. Just like learning to math, because it's such a crazy, you know, you might make a huge amount one year and then the next year you have for nothing. Very interesting field that we are a part of. But it is it's I think that, you know, so many people say like, oh, you have such talent and you have such, oh my God, you're such a talented person. It's like, yeah, you know what? It isn't really about the talent. Yes, the talent is there when you're born is something that makes you want to do something and you become obsessed with it, like play basketball, draw, you know, whatever it is. But it really is about grit. To me, it's grit. Talent is grit. When times get tough, half of the people that are part of something will drop off, start something new, and that other half not even have, I'm going to say like 10% is going to stick with it and they're going to know that this is a flow and that there's a curve and the things will look up again. But it takes a lot of grit. It takes six so much strength and it takes grit. And I'm actually very proud to be a part of that group. I'm proud to be an artist.

Ekaterina Popova: Yeah, me too. I'm happy that you are. And I thank you for sharing that. I think you're right. Grit. And that's you know, people ask me sometimes like, well, why do you keep going? And how? I'm like, I don't have a choice. This is what I want to do. And like, I might not. Look, I think that's the misconception because I think people want and we get those rewards right occasionally every few years, like good things happen. It's exciting, but we don't do it for those times. Those times are just like a cherry on top. Like, I can't imagine not being able to doodle or paint outside or like sketch or I don't know, like, I just can't imagine. Not like I wake up and I want to, like, just, I think an impulse. It's like a tweet, like, you know, something? Also the picture of Colby in his, you know, Victorian mansion. And I had to draw it and I do it and I gave it to you as a first thing in the morning thing. Those are impulses that we we do because we absolutely love. Nobody asks us to. I'm not getting a cent for that little drawing. You do that I can. I would be happy to purchase it. So it is it is just a joy to be able to do what we love to do. And I think that we need to remember that and remember that nothing is forever. And the times that are difficult, they will, you know, ease up better times. And I also like something I thought about recently is that like when something that used to work is no longer working or temporarily not working or whatever, things change all the time. You got to remember that we are so adaptable. We've adapted. I didn't have Instagram growing up. I didn't even have I had a like a spinning, you know, I didn't even have a phone in my Russian apartment. We got a phone when I was like probably six or seven. Wow. And now we have technology. We have a computer. I could if you told me as a kid that I was like seeing someone on a screen talking to them. I'd be like, you know, like we adapt. And so the the methods that used to work, it's sad when they don't work. Well, we got to remember, there's going to be a new method. There's going to be something like Instagram that comes up or, you know, something new invented. So I think just keeping an open mind is so important as well. And not not giving up like most of us won't give up anyway. Just like it's nice to talk about it because I think we just feel really lonely when we get struck with the hard times and it's just good to hear as a collective. It's not been the greatest, but we can get through it. I want to I have a question for you. So if you could go back to before the COVID boom, like I know you were obviously already exhibiting and selling your work and stuff like that, just like not at that like pace. You know, it was really intense for you. You had shows like every month. If you could go back and let's say right now is that time again where we are in that quiet time and we're getting ready for the next big boom in the next few years, things are going to like pick up again in a different way and we're going to be part of that. How are you preparing and what do you think artists should do? Like aside from what we talked about, like, you know, expressing their where they are right now, Nick, what are some ways we can set ourselves up for future success?

Tania Marmolejo: I think do not stop creating like creators though. You have a show but without the pressure of a deadline. But to think about what you want to say. And I found that I now am creating realizing that as I'm creating, I've got these two voices. I'm creating things that have two different. I don't know why, but a characteristic there's one that's definitely leaning in one direction with some sort of color palette and the other one that's going in the other. And I'm not fighting it. I'm just going to I'm going to try and see who wins in the sense but I don't I don't think that I need to cancel. I'm just going to continue to create. And like I said, it's sort of creating a frenzy because it's my own mind saying, okay, I like this, but I'm going to I'm going to start another one. I'm going to start another one. I think that we need to create as though we have something, you know, if you don't, don't worry, just continue to create. Because even if some of them will not be show able and you will decide that, and I think that you should add it and say, I'm not going to include this. This is you know, I'll pay over this on later. Nothing bad can come out of continuously working. Think of the 10000 hours if you ever read. You know Malcolm Gladwell. Yes, Malcolm and good old buddy. The 10000 hours is 10 hours. I mean, it really is. There's something about that, about putting your work, your time, your energy and your focus and things start to flow. So if you're continuously working, even if there's nothing set in a calendar, it will flow. It will continue to change and create and and sort of modify itself. And you will be surprised at what comes out. I'm surprised even though I do have something that I'm supposed to be working towards, there is no pressure for a date supposedly like that. This this thing needs to be done by. So I have creative freedom and that's very overwhelming for me because I'm used to dates, you know, like looks. And I'm thinking, oh my goodness. And so it really is kind of delicious. At the same time to be able to say, I'm not going include that one. I'm going to put this one in. That one looks like that other third one I made and start, you know, creating like this, this conscious, curated group. I think that that happens when you continuously create. Yes. Think of and take a breather everything but I think that and don't stop creating and doing what you do because you should be doing it anyway. It's what your soul needs is what your best art. And it might be the thing that gets you through when the market picks up. It might be what gets you seen. Once the market picks up a little bit, maybe someone sees you on Instagram and says, What? What do you have? And you've got all this incredible work to show. So I definitely think to continue creating without the crazy, huh?

Ekaterina Popova: I love that. And I think for me I'm like a little bit opposite. I've learned that I really don't like deadlines at all, like it. Just to me it's like I'm already thinner. And does that added pressure just doesn't make I'm already like I'm good at like creating my own deadlines. And I think like next chapter, like, I know. But like, I had to learn it the hard way because it just created so much chaos for me. And I'm like, No, no, no, I'm not doing this again. So to your point, I think I work better when I have a thought in intention and I see the picture and I'm like, okay, this is what I want to create. And when it's done, then I'm like, Cool, the opportunities are going to come, you know? And I'm like, I'm a little bit more seasoned too. Like, for someone just starting out, this isn't going to be the case. But like, I can reach out to pretty much like five galleries if I really want to show. I'm like, Hey, I made this. You like this? Is this a good fit? So like as you get a little more seasoned like you have those opportunities anyway. So I think, yeah, I'm excited to just give myself a year to see what the hell is just going to be paintings of could we be like lounging with, like like with, with little leaves and palm paintings. But like we're saying to someone who's starting out, this is an interesting time to be starting out. And it's something to bear in mind is that no one who is starting out, except for very few, you know, a lucky few, but even they have to go through a lot of pressure and change while they're suddenly cast into the limelight because they got picked up by a fabulous gallery. Those that don't get suddenly picked up by God, 99% of humans need to work at it and to not be afraid of putting in the hours and the work. I mean, you know, 70% may not see the light. It doesn't matter just now. Yeah. And is part of what we do think about like if you're a fashion designer and hours are spent putting together mood boards and collages, you're not going to sell that collage. That collage isn't going to go anywhere. So as an artist, you put in the hours by actually creating, maybe that doesn't quite fit what you're doing at the moment that you're creating. But in a way, put it aside. It doesn't have. It'll be thrown out. But just know that part of all those hours that you're putting in there, nothing is wasted. It's all towards the bigger good and towards the experience and letting loose. Let your body create without you really having to think so so hard. I think that's what we all want to go get to this and do that.

Tania Marmolejo: I love that analogy too. It's like an athlete. Like when athletes are at the gym, 90% of their training is failure. They can't do something and they keep doing it until they can do it. Like I watch the girls at the gym who are like in it in a more professional way, and they're just putting in the hours, they're just beating themselves up. And 90% of it is just them screaming and yelling that it's not working. But one day clicks and it works. And that's how we have we have to be less precious about the things we create. Not everything is like a final product, and if you think about it, like people are afraid of, well, I put the money in and I bought the products. Well, an athlete puts the money in towards a gym, you know. And other people put it towards like you have to spend money to later make money. And so yours is actually creating and who knows if later that work will get shown in a retrospective or something like that. If you feel that it is good and special but it's not quite there or what you want to say, put it away, put it aside and keep work and keep working. This is the best time to do it without the full pressure of having to 100% sell at the moment.

Ekaterina Popova: Totally. And one of my sorry to interrupt one of my teachers, he passed away. Now one of the first like online courses I've ever taken. I was just like, I just quit my job and I was like, I just want to, like, play and try something new. Well, I don't think he sold a lot of his originals, but he was a brilliant teacher. His work was beautiful. But like, I just don't think he was like, you know, in the art world, he was just more of like a self-taught painter, but he was an amazing impressionist painter, and he made his money through teaching. So it doesn't mean that it's not valuable in some way. Like it might not go to a New York City gallery, but he had a gift and he was able to monetize his work that he put in through passing it on to others who like not trying not to be closed minded about it too. Because it's like especially if you're starting out, you may not have that gallery knocking down your door. No one does when they start out. But there's so many options between teaching and selling products. And, you know, if you're a designer, there's so many things we can do and just not putting pressure on that art, which is like that's our voice. Like, why would we get mad at it and say, honest thing we can do, right?

Tania Marmolejo: Never get mad at it. And like I said, we're privileged that we belong to this gritty group of people and we can do this. We can pull through. Nothing is forever. The market will change. Let's be ready for it with work. Let's be ready for it with the right attitude, like you're willing. Okay, let's do this. I've created some work with Start. Yeah, I think that that's kind of editing. That's the plan. I'm excited. Envy trips, my trips to the beach and working out. And now to visit you in Spain. Tell us what. Thank you so much again for being so open and for being encouraging. I feel like we all need this conversation more. I think my commitment this year is just to be really honest, like in a respectful way because there's, you know, like these are like, oh, this is bad, this is good, it's just life. And like, we're just navigating all these things that are happening. But tell us, what do you have going on? What's coming up for you and how are you going to enjoy your summer and what are you working on right now? Part of my plan was to take a full break. I'm going to go to Spain and spend my summer there. And I was planning on not painting at all. That was supposedly, in my mind, going to be fantastic. But something came up in my native and Dominican Republic and a project with a show was going to come up and suddenly it's like, okay, I've got something to do, which makes me very happy. But what I love is that and this little time that I've been working in the studio, I've kind of come up with some slightly different treatment to the to the paintings and my gallerists. The Dominican Republic really loved it. So I'm going to explore this other route and have fun with that. I might take some canvases with me to Spain and paint there, but it's a it's a good thing to kind of pivot a little bit from what I'm usually doing. Change, place, change, environment, take a break, give yourself some air and see what comes up. And I'm I'm in no rush. Like, I'm just going to do this and I will let him know when I'm ready. So I'm I'm excited about it. Let's see what let's see what happens. But I'm super excited. It's a great thing to have knowing that the market is weird. I think that Latin America, Dominican Republic respond differently to the market. They have their own market. They're like not we still have parties in our houses we want to show or, you know, we want to show our house. So luckily, I think that that hasn't changed too much. And I'm able to, you know, focus on that. And then Asia, Europe, let's see what happens. It's it's like that. It's like this balance of there's I have an art fair in Korea. There's a solo show in New York. No, no solo show. Sorry, a group show in New York in November. So there's things happening in the fall. Let's see, how are we going to play? So I'm just excited to just be able to have like things to do and and something to focus on. I think that's fantastic.

Ekaterina Popova: Yes, I'm amazing. You take a break. I am. I told our listeners I'm taking a sabbatical, but I'm not like not doing so. My idea of a sabbatical, it's just I'm not doing like anything with deadlines. I just well, when I'm finishing my fiction book, which I started last year and I just when I got crazy and just working on my business, you know, my car's great magazine and. Just painting some oceans just really into the beach right now. That's clearly manifesting a beach house in Cape May. So we can like have retreats there. I love your beach paintings and your relax paintings I like. And I can see when you're sketching, like when you're at a beach, how it's a little bit different. There's like this relax ness about it. Yes. I am looking forward to seeing more of those little sketches. And when you like your break, quote unquote paintings, I'm actually sure that they're going to be pretty awesome. So thank you. I'm excited. And that's like I knew in my gut I needed like, space. You know, it's not even that I don't want to do anything. It's just that I need mental space and no like expectations. And I think part of it is like, I'll be honest, it's not nice is like, if I only did Art, I think I would be okay with deadlines. But because I also manage so many other projects and I love them and I'm not willing to let them go at all like I love magazine to of our community Like I just can't have everything, have pressure and deadlines. Like something has to be more open and spacious, otherwise it just all becomes work. And then you just feel like you're always grinding. So and I'm not saying never. I think I'm definitely like when a Yeah, I want to show like when I'm ready and when I feel like I have something to say. That's another thing. I can't wait to see what you're going to come up with. I think it's going to be beautiful, no doubt. And I think it's super important what we're going through, where we have to kind of take a breather, refocus, rethink. It's also super important we can just go through life automatically. It's going to be interesting to see if we see much more. And I'm hoping to see much more exciting stuff out there, too, you know, like, what's this going to do? What our page is going to do is, are we going to see new painters? Are we going to see new artists, sculptors? You know what's going to happen? I think it'll be exciting to see how it changes things. So I think because there's not such a rush or like, you know, with the things that you make. For example, during COVID, I could literally like spit out something. And it's not that I ever do that, but, you know, like, it just felt really effortless. Like, I can make anything and someone's going to buy it. And it's just not like that right now for many people, like some people maybe like the top 1%. But I think this is a great time to experiment and to go off and do something new. And there's no pressure because there's a great time. I think it's going to be awesome.

Tania Marmolejo: I think so too. I'm very hopeful. I'm always hopeful. Optimism is my and I'm gonna keep going. We I just wrote about that this morning in my substack I was like like we talked about artists are super greedy and it takes a person of a lot of faith to even go to art school and pursue this crazy life. You know, it's nothing's guaranteed. The world is definitely not set up for us at all. So we like we find a way to make it work. And that's exciting. We are weirdos. I think us and musicians and writers, we we enter this similar realm where we don't have to do what we do, but we choose it. And in doing so, we make the world a better place because it's pure human creativeness. We sort of we dictate what people are going to listen, to, read, look at, like we're the ones that kind of steer humanity in a sense. I think the this is the time, to be honest. This is a time to, like, really be honest in your soul and what you're going to create right now, do it from your soul, not because you're going to sell it, but from your soul. Even if it's scary, even if it doesn't sound like it's going to sell, you're going to be look at it. You're like, This is some scary stuff. I'm looking at that. I'm kind of excited now, like, oh, let's see what's happening. Well, I know it. Oh, my gosh, girl. Well, this is such a pleasure, and I'm sure we'll have you back again. Let's check in in a few months. I think the world is going to shift in a good way. I have a good feeling about it, and if not, we'll figure it out anyway. But I'm working.

Ekaterina Popova: Our listeners find you. Where do you hang out that they can follow your work and what you're up to?

Tania Marmolejo: Absolutely. On Instagram, I'm still there. Even though I am, I've been very bad about posting. About posting. And I was going to say that is one of the things that we should not stop posting on post anything. Don't don't be perfectionist about posting. I'm telling you, post whatever you want, don't even curated anymore more. I realize and I think the algorithm and Instagram, my people are losing me. But anyways, it's very important to kind of keep a little diary, just post what's inspiring you, things like that. But yes, I'm on Instagram at funny time as per usual and and that's the best place to find me. That's where I'm at. That's where you can contact me. I usually answer everybody if I see you. And yeah, I'm always conversations and and our conversations are always so fun and I'm so grateful for you.

Ekaterina Popova: Well, thank you so much, love. And I am so excited to see what's next for you. Thank you for coming on the show.

Tania Marmolejo: Thank you for having me.