Vital Lines. An interview with María Dalli

María Dalli is a line artist from Valencia, Spain. Her art symbolizes the purity of creativity and shows the expressive eloquence of stylization. Dalli, in fact, is able to create harmonious and complex composition through the use of a single line. This kind of work highlights the creative skills of the artist and proves the infinite possibilities of art. Thanks to her artistic production we can discover the universality of lines and colors and explore the shades of minimalism.

The artist María Dalli and a selection of her works

What does art mean to you?

For me, art is a way to express myself creatively. It allows me to stop for a while from the speed of the nowadays life, to reflect on my emotions and ideas, to focus on what I want to create next, to entertain myself. Art is a good therapy for this, similar to meditation or conscious breathing. But art is also very communicative, it is about sharing what you do and how you feel with others. There is a lot of excitement in creating something and in sharing it with other people. In this way, art is very powerful because it has the ability to make people feel something. If my works can transmit something, if people’s attention is caught in a particular way, then that’s the biggest achievement for me.

Why do you do what you do? Tell us about your expressive language.

I would define my art style as line art because all my works start from a line. A line that I play with in order to create shapes, usually human figures and faces. I like the minimalist nature of the line, which allows us to simplify what is more complex and to outline an aspect of it, its essence. I also try to deconstruct shapes, to deform the stereotyped human figure, to make it less realistic and at the same time, paradoxically make it more real, exhibiting human vulnerability, human differences and yet the universal beauty of the human being, finding the beauty and balance of asymmetrical shapes. Sometimes I use a few improvised lines resulting in more abstract shapes and sometimes I only use one line. One line art is challenging and fun at the same time, because most of the times you don’t know what the result is going to be, so it allows me to purely improvise, to just ‘let it go’ and see what happens. One line works can be minimalist if I just leave the drawn line, whilst other times I create paintings from a one line design.

What's your background?

I am self-taught, without formal fine art studies except for some drawing courses. But I have always been close to art. Painting has been close to me since I was a girl, with various uncles and aunts painting as a hobby or professionally. I also have played the piano since I was 9. When I play classical piano, I am the ‘interpreter’ of beautiful music, however I never felt what is creating something of your own until I started drawing. And, although I sketched and practiced before, it was not until 2020 lock down that I actually started creating more seriously. I guess I never had the right circumstances, because there was always something else going on, for wondering, can I do this? My other job, the one that usually takes most of my time is academic research. After studying law, I obtained a master and a PhD in human rights law, and since then I’ve had research and lecturing contracts at the university. So, lock down forced us to have so much time at home and, despite all the negative things it came with, in my case it helped me being creative. And once I started creating, developing ideas, they have kept coming to my head. It is like a part of myself that I never allowed to come out suddenly woke up and it is so exciting and fun. It is a very addictive thing. So now I’m combining both parts of myself, the rational, the academic one, and the artistic which is more emotional. I am not sure what the future is going to bring, but I feel that the combination of both aspects define better what I am like.

How important are titles to your paintings?

I think that titles can help communicating with people about the work, but sometimes they can also condition people to feel about the piece in a particular way. It would be interesting to just let the person feel what the piece is telling them rather than giving them any clues. Other times titles help though, particularly for those more abstract pieces.

What are your influences?

My art style is influenced by different sources. Picasso and Matisse or Modigliani are some of my favourite artists. Sculpture is an interesting source of inspiration, such as the work of Brancusi or the sculptures of Modigliani. More generally, I’m influenced by interior design styles, such as minimalist or Scandinavian styles. I’m also inspired by other artists works, especially now with social platforms being more important than ever for artists to share their works and communicate between them. We go to museums to get enriched from the classics but you can also go on social platforms to see the works of new talents.

What do you think about the future of art?

I’m positive about the future of art. As I was saying before, internet is more important than ever for artists to share their works with an international audience. I particularly use Instagram the most, and it has been thanks to this platform that I have received most of my collaborative offers. I think it is also important to grow from the local though, and being able to communicate with other artists or art galleries from where you live, in person.