Snake Lady

An Interview with Maria Rios.

I am from and currently live in the wonderful Region (Northwest Indiana)! You can expect to experience all four seasons in a day, see lots of familiar faces (if you're from the area...everyone is connected in some way), enjoy quiet time near the lake (if you run off to the dunes) or find something fun to do just 40 minutes away in beautiful Chicago.

I discovered my interest in drawing whilst living in Mexico at the curious age of three. One of my earliest memories is "borrowing" my sibling's markers/colored pencils and using them to scribble all over my mom's notebooks (I also remember leaving a few Maria Rios originals on my dad's important tax documents). Any who! I would draw people and personify random things like numbers (#1 and #2 were a couple, #3 & #4 were sisters). A few of my siblings (I have five of those) also drew but I feel like I loved it the most because I never stopped. This is probably because I didn't have many toys or other things to distract me, but I always had pencil and paper to keep me busy. It's like a "high".

I’m working a pretty "normal" 9-5 in banking (of all creative things to work in). I don't get to be too creative in my role but I am still very happy because I am learning a ton about my job and others all whilst "expanding" knowledge (I love learning new things and problem solving...aka going down the rabbit hole). My routine is very routine but I love to stop and smell the roses. I look forward to being with my favorite people, my loved ones during my free time. I also enjoy working out and eating but not at the same time. #dadjoke. I love a good hangout but also truly appreciate the days when I get to lounge around. I will say, some of my favorite days, and this will never change, are the gloomy quiet days. I look forward to the rainy, sleepy days where I can just set up shop near a window, drink coffee and draw. My cat also loves when I do this.

Though I'm not fully versed in art movements or artists, I just like drawing and being inspired by cool things. I find inspiration in everything I see, but my favorites are faces, statues, animals, and all the beautiful renditions of typography found around the globe.

I like drawing to random chill Lo-fi hip hop beats. Anything without distracting lyrics that makes me feel like I'm relaxed enough to make interesting things happen. I feel like chill beats take me out of the current environment and into a random floating space of creativity.

The simplest and calmest way to pull myself out of a creative funk is to  just make stuff anyway.  When I want to be creative or finish a drawing for someone, I start by drawing random things I like animals. Nature is so cool. I guess you can call it a warm-up? I do warm-up drawings that just suck me in and get me in the drawing mood. Sometimes I end up loving warm-ups so much that I get sucked in for hours!! These sometimes give birth to good old fashion passion projects. @_@

When it comes to my work, snakes, chaos, reality and...the powerful MIND are themes that can be seen. Life really inspires me. A lot of subjects in my drawings are nature and people. I think I do this subconsciously. I put pencil/pen to paper and these subjects just roll out. After I'm done drawing, I analyze what I drew and connect it to a deeper meaning, usually it’s something I’m battling or thinking about a lot. All of this connects back to my emotions. Fear, doubt, happiness and triumph.

I’m thankful for my creative friends. They’re creative in creative and non-creative ways. With their thoughts and words, although they are not poets, they’re creative with their lives. They overcome hardships and things I couldn't imagine. They’re creative in their knowledge and abilities, although they may not see themselves in that way. They’re re fun, adventurous, and brave. These are all qualities that I think make a cool artist. My friends Crystal, Angela, and Anthony are a few I know who’s names jump out at me almost immediately.

There have been a few times when I get the honor of someone asking me to elaborate about myself, submit work or just when anyone stops and says, "Hey...you drew this?!". Sometimes I feel my work is powerful when people try to figure out the "meaning" of a piece. I've had a few people look at my "snake lady" drawings and talk about the expressions used and the ways I've positioned the snakes. I guess what it comes down to is that at the end of my days, I want to be known for being happy, loving others, making people laugh and making cool things.

My name is Maria Rios. I'm a Mexican American artist who is just doing her best at life and always doodling.

©Alchemy & Elegy 2020