It’s always great to unearth new talent around the web, particularly when you discover that it’s from your own country. A random click led me to Duma’s website and when I found out she was a fellow Portuguese, I just had to reach out to her, to let her know how much I enjoyed her work. A few emails later (yeah, well even though we’re physically close, at a click away we’re even closer and in the uttermost of comfort :) we had setup a small conversation, where I asked her some questions to find out more about the girl behind those elusive and glamourous paintings.
How did you start painting? Was it something instinctive from childhood or was it something you tapped into along the way?
From as far back and I can remember, I liked drawing and painting.
I’m an only child and spent many hours in my room, playing by myself and a good part of that time was used drawing and painting.
I moved on with my studies and eventually graduated in Advertising, which further developed my love for design, illustration and photography, which are big influences on my work.
I then studied Fine Arts which made me more consistent on a technical and compositional level.
I’ve worked in others areas related with advertising and IT, but my love for art was stronger than any other job and since 1998 I’ve dedicated myself exclusively to the arts.
A common trace in all your paintings is that you never paint the eyes, or then they’re covered by sunglasses. Why?
I was always very attracted to representing the human shape particularly portraits. However, the kind of portrait I want to convey, isn’t of anyone in particular, I don’t want to provide a specific identity, I just want to represent an overall feeling of femininity.
By taking away the eyes, I surround the character in mistery, making it more abstract, forcing you to create a story around it. That’s complemented with the framing I chose and a simple and clear background. It’s like each character was captured in a photo shot or a film frame. Each one allows the viewer to use his imagination and provides a unique and individual experience of the painting.
You usually resort to a subtle and discrete color palette. Is there any reason why you shy away from brighter colors?
I always liked subtle colors mixed with some details of a stronger color and this is something I use in my paintings and also in my life and personal style. Still, the colors of my paintings are used in such a way that there’s harmony and an even composition, to transmit a smooth and soft sensation, focusing in some specific points of a composition that require a stronger color. I like to use neutral tones as a basis and then spread some red, oranges or other tones that pop out.
How do you come up with the ideas for your paintings?
I’m very influenced by the images I see on the movies, fashion, advertising, dealing with other people, anything can inspire and give me ideas. I love graphic design, illustration e photography and all of that influences the creation of my dolls. I can work from photos I’ve taken or images of other sources that I use as anatomical basis to create new characters. I like simple poses but I also like some more complex ones provided they’re always very feminine, whether with a classic or more contemporary twist.
If you had to chose one of your paintings as your favorite, which one would it be and why?
That is a very hard question, to which I can’t really answer.
Each painting is an experience and an adventure that gives me great thrills. I can’t really chose a specific painting. Obviously there are some, with which I feel more emotionally involved and that satisfy me more at certain levels than others, but it’s very complicated to just pick one, it’s like picking a favorite son!
You can tell you like glamour, who are your role models?
I’m not really inspired by anyone in particular. What inspires me are styles, eras or ideas. I’m very inspired by past eras, with a certain retro glamour, but I’m also into contemporary styles.
I like to present women that you can fit into several eras, but always with a very appealing femininity.
What about in real life? Are you as glamorous as your characters or are you more laid back in your personal style?
In real life and particularly in my everyday routine, since I spend a good part of my day in the studio, I have a more practical style, which I may describe as vintage/punk rock/doll ;-) but whenever I get a chance and in some special occasions, I like to add some glamour to that style, which I find quite fun.