Luciana’s Story: An Artist in Pursuit of Combining Passion And Starting a Business - Demola Participate in creating a better future.

Ana Alcântara

Luciana’s Story: An Artist in Pursuit of Combining Passion And Starting a Business

4 Sep 2020
by Ida Riikonen

Luciana, naïve art painter with business background, took part Demola program in the summer. The program was organized in co-operation with the ELY Centre of Pirkanmaa, TE services and the city of Tampere. The program was targeted at unemployed, highly qualified immigrants.

At this point, success also needs to be a meaningful and artful endeavour.

I am a painter. And when people say "Oh, you're a painter", they see it as a profession. For me it is about who I am. I have been a painter since day one, I think, because my mom is a painter too, and my family is filled with artists. But still I have always heard that being an artist is not a profession and you can't do that for your living. And I believed that firmly.

I grew up, I got a Bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing, and I worked with that for about ten years. At the end of that time, I was managing a group of 400 women in a big cosmetics company in Brazil. It was very stressful because I am a workaholic. I was not working 8 hours a day, not even 12 hours a day. I was waking up and sleeping at the office, basically. Eventually I had enough of it, I quit and said I would never go back to corporate. And then my therapist said: "Paint. Relax your mind, get out of this situation."

By that time, everything I had ever painted, my whole life, I had destroyed right after. I didn't want anyone to see my childish paintings (which is a style, it's called naïve art!). But after leaving the corporate world, I painted enough, quick enough, to be able open an exhibition. And I was selling my paintings, but I was also selling images for books and making merchandise with my sister who owns a small company. And I cannot say I was making a luxurious living, but it was decent. For an artist, having a meal twice a day is already considered a success! (laughs)

Then in 2018 I moved to Finland. I met my husband the year before and we decided to get married. In the beginning of the integration process I was painting and trying to find contacts. I wanted to do something that way because that was something that made me happy. But then I was told I could not be an artist if I wanted to participate in the integration plan. So I stopped painting, I would only paint on some of the weekends but I had almost no production at all. It is hard to find the balance between implementing yourself as an artist and making a living in Finland, as well as in many other countries. But artists contribute to society, as well. Art is very important to society. The system of benefits is great, but how could we support artists and other freelancers more?

The idea of a start-up

I was pretty much on my own before applying to Demola team. Due to the pandemic, I could not apply for jobs because there were none available. When I started in the Demola program, the idea of founding a start-up company became more and more appealing to me. Our team was developing a product and we saw how this product should be marketed and developed and distributed. And I thought: "I do not feel qualified or excited about data collection or technological work. I want to do something in art, I do not want to be seen as this lazy artist who only wants to paint." This is my society now and I want to contribute to it. The idea of a start-up made more sense to me. It wasn't really the subject in our Demola project.

The idea is still very raw but I would like to offer merchandise products with my and other artists' art on it. And it doesn't even have to be about merchandise only, it could involve events as well. I think it has potential, and Demola helped me visualize it. It would benefit me and all the artists who face the same problem with no support. And it would benefit the companies as well. Companies could use this beautiful art and bring color to the life of their customers. It's a chance for the companies to make their values match the layout.

It is both exciting and scary to be almost 50 and start a new life in a different country. But even more so to start a brand new business and make it successful. There is less time for failure and I must use my experience to achieve the expected results. At this point, success also needs to be a meaningful and artful endeavour. I am happy I have supporting people and institutes to guide me through.

Luciana Mariano

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