Artist Spotlight: Mia Watkins

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When I first saw Mia Watkins in class, I could tell that she was one stylish gal, with her vintage leather briefcase, black bowler hat, and trendy ear cuffs. And although I was captivated by her unique sense of style, it was her art that intrigued me most about her. With a collection that exudes raw emotion—anguish, longing, glee—there is no doubt that with her impeccable skill, talent, and most importantly, genuine heart,  Mia Watkins will one day soon become a successful artist.

Raised on Bowen Island, British Columbia, a place she calls “brilliant and depressing at the same time,” it took the local kids 2.5 hours to get to school everyday. It was in this space of time on the water, I’m sure, that Watkins found room to ponder the deep inner workings of the subjects she captures so well.

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When I first asked Watkins for her artist statement, she told me she preferred to hear my own view of her art instead. Some may call that a diversion tactic, but I thought it was indicative of  her cool, collected confidence—she lets her art speak for itself.

For those of us who need a little push to provoke our thoughts though, I’ll share my opinion of her work, as she herself requested. Working from people in her daily life, Watkins paints photo realism works that graze the edge of figurative. Photorealism always intrigues our eyes, but her work does much more than that. Her most powerful pieces are those that start to blend the line between representative and metaphorical. They conjure up feelings that are hard to describe, like ecstasy, or a deep inner brewing.

When I asked her why she likes to paint people, Watkins responded that she is motivated by altruism. As an artist myself, I fully understand the need to devote one’s work to the concern of others. It’s a powerful feeling to be able to depict the truths of how we, as humans, all feel. Watkins’ pieces portray how people think and feel, unearth the roots of why people do the things they do, and seek to explain how they perceive their surroundings.

Watkins often likes to hear why people find her work fascinating. I found her pieces really captured how I often feel something completely different than what my outward actions portray. To this end, I think her paintings bring out the Freudian in all of us (you’ve caught me projecting my own insecurities and issues onto her work).

Freshly graduated from art school, Watkins has already managed to sell some of her paintings for $200-400. I’d say her future as a promising artist will allow her leave the ‘starving’ tax bracket sometime soon. As she enters different stages of her life, it’ll be interesting to follow the evolution of her work. Different people, different places, a different perspective.
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To view more of the artists’ works, click here.

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