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Marika Vaaranen is the gallery owner of Carré d'artistes Sedona, in Arizona.

She previously taught figurative art creation techniques at private art schools in Los Angeles. She is mostly pleased about the aspect in her job where she gets to accompany, all those who enter her gallery to find their favorite artwork. They will remember this unique experience forever and this helps support the artistic creation.

She is particularly sensitive to impressionist paintings, where the artist leaves enough room for mystery for the viewer, to create his very own story. She also likes figurative painters for their perfect mastery of the technique, as they manage to create magic by breaking certain rules...

Discover her interview





How long have you been working at CDA? What does your job involve?
I have been the Gallery Director for Carre d’artistes Sedona Gallery at Tlaquepaque since July 2020. I run the gallery with the help of the main office and also work the sales floor with my amazing assistant Jessica.

What do you like best about your work? Where does this passion for art come from?
I love creating positive experiences for everyone who enters the gallery.  Not everyone is ready to buy the first time they visit, but I am confident that their experience and our art is going to leave a lasting  impression and they will either return or visit the online gallery when they are ready. It feels good to be able to make a customer happy, enable artists to keep creating more and to be able to keep our doors open. Art heals! It helps to have been educated as an artist to have more passion and respect for the artworks and their value.

What were your first steps in the contemporary art world?
My first experience working in the contemporary art world was teaching children the techniques to create representational art at a chain of private art schools in Los Angeles. I was trained intensively for a few weeks, then kept taking weekly, three hour art classes for the duration of my four years with the company. I was also being trained to instruct adult classes before we moved from California to Arizona. Before I left I had become Director of Children’s program at one of their flagship studios. 

Do you have an anecdote to tell us? With an artist / a client / a collaborator? Something you will never forget?
I have had clients visit the gallery and actually cry tears of happiness when they found their :”coupe de coeur” and were able to take it home. One customer was so moved by one of our larger  paintings, that she froze in place and stared at it for a good few minutes with tears in her eyes before we proceeded to have a really wonderful conversation about art and its importance in our lives. 

Which style touches you particularly, why? What does it provoke in you?
I am personally drawn to more impressionistic paintings where the artist chooses to leave enough mystery so that the viewer is invited to create along with them.  I have the utmost respect for representational painters with a solid grasp of technique who then create magic by choosing to break some of the rules.


An artist from Carré d'artistes whose work you particularly like? 
It is hard to choose just one or two artists, we have so many amazing ones with very different styles and mediums, hence there are paintings that are my favorites from each artist. I   do particularly love and respect our artist from Ukraine, Tetiana Bond. She can paint any subject and make it sublime. Currently we have mostly palette- knifed cityscapes in oils  from her but for the summer we ordered and sold her beautiful seascapes as well.  She is currently  working on horse  paintings for us and I can’t wait! I am hoping to have those in the gallery before the end of the year. 
Another outstanding artist of ours is Isabelle Seruch-Capouillez. Her watercolors of Sedona are sublime! She knows how to respect the white of the paper but also paints the dark and bright colors very vividly. Her paintings glow from the inside like magic. Cindy Carrillo is our most local artist, she captures the red rocks of Sedona and beautiful Arizona skies beautifully painting En Plein Aire with her light and loose, feminine brushstrokes.

If you had to describe Carré d'artistes in three words, which would you choose? Why or why not? 
Love,  community, healing
Love because I see the love in people’s eyes when they find the right painting. 
Community because the artist needs an audience to share their art with .
Healing because simply making art is healing but also sharing the art and helping it find new homes and spread happiness is healing.

Rather small or large formats? For what reason?
I can’t choose. I love smaller formats for creating interesting groupings of art, finding delight in unusual pairings. I’ve had customers have so much fun spending a few hours choosing 9 different smaller  paintings that they plan to hang in a big square in their home, but...
The larger paintings have the power to command  a room, to grab your attention and make a powerful emotional impact.

Why do you think art is important?
Art is important in so many ways:
-  Making art helps develop our brains.
-  Sharing art creates community.
-  Art makes us think outside the box.
Art is like windows to other minds, other cultures, other ways of seeing the world. My selection is a little all over the place, kind of like my painting - I seem to have trouble sticking to just one style or medium, I like them all.

Unique art for...

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