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Mother and daughter Karolynn and Alisynn Mata have made art their family business. Together, they are Mata Artworks, a colorful, vibrant artist duo working in a variety of techniques and styles.
Thanks to their familial ties, there’s a strong sense of motherhood that affects their craft. From Alisynn’s ties to mom Karolynn, to Karolynn’s relationship to her own mother, each woman has played an important role in the other’s artistic voice.
Art Born From Tragedy
Karolynn’s mom is a guiding influence in her art career. She explains, “On September 3, 2014, my life came to a screeching halt. On that day, I lost my best friend, my mentor, my teacher, my cheerleader… my mom.
“In the days after her sudden and tragic death, I feared that with time I’d forget my mother. I feared forgetting her beautiful smile, her joyous laughter, her voice — everything. So, that’s when I decided to pick up a pencil and draw a portrait of my mother from memory. I felt like if I could just recall her face, her smile, I’d reassure myself that there was no way I could possibly ever forget her. When I was done I was shocked at how well it came out, because I had never been able to draw someone’s likeness before.
“My mother was an aspiring artist, too. She loved painting still life, flowers, and landscapes. After she died, my father gave all of my mother’s art supplies to my daughter Alisynn, since she had been painting since she was 8 years old. My mother’s art supplies stayed stored away for months in our garage. I think we both felt like we would be invading my mother’s space if we touched her treasured art supplies. Finally, after much convincing from my father, I opened up her treasure trove of paints and brushes.”
“I surprisingly found great comfort and peace in painting. I loved being able to create beautiful images with the tools that my mother so loved and that once were in her own warm and loving hands. And, I still find so much comfort when painting, especially when I paint flowers, the feeling is euphoric! While I paint, I don’t dwell on my mother’s absence nor my pain of missing her so much; all is clear, and focused, and all I can think about is making Mom proud.”
Encouragement, Support & Balance
Alisynn’s artistic journey is also influenced by her mom. Karolynn was first to hand her paints and paper when Alisynn was eight. Now, what started as an effort to redirect a “very energetic” girl has turned into a passion.
Today, Alisynn works in a spontaneous realism style full of vibrant colors. Even now, her mother still influences her work. Says Alisynn, “I love working with my mom because I have a partner to give me support and encouragement. My mom and I have different styles in art, so it is nice to see her work process when she paints compared to mine.”
The feeling is mutual. Karolynn also seeks her daughter’s opinion on her art. “When painting, I rely on Alisynn’s feedback,” she says. “I know she will always be truthful with me. She’s not afraid of hurting my feelings, but she also offers me balance when I think my work is just plain ugly. Alisynn also loves using bold colors in her art, so she usually offers me great advice on combining bold contrasting colors in my works.”
Being an Artist in Fresno
Aside from the critiques they give each other, both Karolynn and Alisynn have found Fresno to be an influence on their art. Karolynn explains, “I love that Fresno has so much to offer artistically, especially for artists who draw or paint. Visiting the Art Hop events has helped me build confidence as an artist, because at Art Hop I can see how different types of art appeal to different types of people. Not everyone will love your art, but that’s fine, because at least you caused a reaction, and that’s what art is all about.”
Additionally, Alisynn found a lot of affirmation when she entered her art in the Fresno Fair. Alisynn says, “To see everyone’s entry at the art exhibit was encouraging because I know I’m not the only one who loves art.”
Where to Find Mata Artworks:
If you like what you see, Mata Artworks does have art available for purchase.
• Alisynn will be at the Old Town Clovis Flea Market May 13-14 selling her postcards, prints, and original artwork. You may purchase tickets to Old Town Flea here.
• Find them on Instagram at @Mata_Artworks.
• Find them on Facebook here.
[All photos courtesy of Mata Artwork, used with permission.]