Montserrat Serra - visual artist, art therapist, writer
Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Granollers / Spain
We are beyond thrilled to have interviewed Montserrat Serra - a painter living and working in Granollers (Spain). She is a mother of 3 little ones who push her forward to new horizons as an artist and mother.
Montserrat, I would like to start with your journey into the art world. You studied art and art therapy, but you only started taking your art career seriously when you heard your kids describing that their mummy was a painter to their friend. That must have been a magical moment for you. Can you tell us all about yourself (brief bio/history/backstory)?
I live with my husband and my three children (now 7, 4 and 2.5). We live in Granollers, a small city close to Barcelona. I was born and raised here. I like to travel (when we can) and discover new places, but this is a good spot for living. It's close to the sea and mountains. The town is small but big enough to provide everything you need.
I’m the youngest of six children which shaped my personality. I was always trying to find my own voice among the others. I lost my parents when I was a teenager, and this experience marked a shift in my life and still does, but now with tenderness and love. I studied arts but didn’t finish the degree because I found art therapy studies, which felt like finding my homeplace. I fell in love with the therapeutic approach to art, and I realized that I had already been doing it unconsciously to digest my grief over my parents' passing.
You have an amazing collection of mixed media abstract work. You create collage fiber works where you explore human fragility and natural poetry of life as well as abstract floral pieces using natural colors. Can you describe your creative process and your favourite parts of it?
To get an idea about me as a complete human being, I need to explain that spirituality played a very important role in my life. And now I understand it as a part of my art process too. I used to meditate and write about my meditations before painting, and it feels so good to dive into colors after connecting with my inner voice. Then I have a small idea of colors, and textures but not of the finished painting. I trust my intuition when painting. That is why I use to be in silence when I work.
Originally, you were more engaged in writing and even nowadays, you begin your paintings with daily writings. What is your writing about?
When I was young, I was more into writing than painting, and then collage was the medium that came up naturally. Even though painting was there, it was only after having kids that I felt the urge to use it as my first art media. I felt that I needed to paint to mother my children from my most authentic self. And I’m so grateful to them, because they saw me as a painter, with no expectations, just as it was. And that make myself aware that my painting practice was what made me whole.
I write about my daily life as a mom, a woman, as a human. I also write about my dreams and doubts. I write down a lot of questions that I would love to answer.
You share your studio space with your three children. How do you feel about their creativity? Do you let them collaborate with you on some of your paintings?
Lately, they don’t join me so often as they used to. The little one is still with me two days a week. I love how they create, I can tell that they are connected to their truth, and I adore that there is no place for an auto critic. They paint in the now, and if something doesn't work, they start over. When they were little they used to start all my paintings, I had my studio in my kitchen, and it was so much fun for all of us to collaborate. Now, my studio is out of home, and it is difficult to do so.
What were the most exciting moments in your art career so far?
The best thing was when I rented my own studio two years ago. It was a life-changing point in my painting practice. Another exciting point has been my latest collection, I dedicated it to my mother’s family as a tribute, and it has been like closing a chapter of my life with so much love.
How did you feel about motherhood in the past, and how do you feel about it now?
I felt super excited about knowing a little human but at the same time overwhelmed by the immense responsibility. I still feel a little bit that way, but after seven years and three kids, I can tell that this is the most amazing adventure. With its ups and downs, the greatest days as well as big doubts and fears. Today, I know that being a mother is truly a gift.
What is the message behind your art?
I want to remind the viewer that even if there is chaos or difficulties in our daily lives, we can always find strength and comfort within ourselves. The peace and comfort of an afternoon summer breeze live in our souls. And I would like to create a visual remembrance of that.
What does your art do for you?
It keeps me rooted and connected to myself which is so needed to parenting conscientiously and in peace.
What are your plans for the future (career, parenting etc.)?
About parenting, I finished the early motherhood period. I won’t have babies anymore. Three is a lot, hahaha. I want to enjoy my children, grow with them as a woman and as a mother. I want to let myself be guided by their wisdom. Sometimes it is very challenging because us adults think that we know exactly how to do everything.
About my career, I want to share more about my intimate process. This is spirituality related. I hope that the public won’t be scared of it. And I want to create more art for homes that need peace and comfort in their walls.
What advice do you have for fellow art mums?
Follow your intuition first and only. Don’t doubt your innate wisdom as a mother. Try to create as much as you can next to your children. Don’t expect great art pieces, just be in the process of creating as children do so freely. And take that freedom into your studio practice.