Miami-Based Artist Masha Ermeeva Discusses Art and Purpose

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MP recently spoke with Masha Ermeeva, a multimedia artist based in Miami with a diverse educational and cultural background. She was born in Russia, where she went through intense traditional training at the Art Academy. After relocating to the US in 2011, she graduated from FIU with a BFA before earning her MA degree in Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in New York. Her art translates the atmosphere through loose, expressive brushwork, guiding the viewer by offering cues such as hands and gestures. The rest is left up to free interpretation.

Painting by Masha Ermeeva Miami-Based painter
Painting by Miami-based artist Masha Ermeeva / Photo courtesy of Masha Ermeeva

What is the purpose of your art?

ME: The purpose of my work is to connect with the viewer, evoke memories and thoughts, and express my feelings, identity, and experiences through art. If my art is honest, it will always find a link to someone’s heart, as we all go through similar emotions and experiences in life.

You say that every painting is a living piece with a story and message behind it. What do you mean by this? 

I mean that every piece was derived from pure emotion and artistic intuition. It has my story behind it, yet it is also relevant to someone else’s through visual vocabulary. Transforming states is about human connection and transformation, I wanted viewers to associate with these paintings, so I decided not to paint faces. I translated emotion and a story through hand gestures, body movement, and relationships between human forms.

How have you had to reinvent yourself to keep moving and adjust to the world around us? 

When the pandemic started and our lives slowed down, I realized that we live in the most unstable, unprecedented time. I decided to reprioritize my life and make it more content, looking for stability within myself. I was looking for something that stayed unchanged from my childhood- the love for creativity and artmaking. I believe that children are more intuitive and fearless, so child’s dreams are the purest and honest. Reinvention included my thinking and habits and such steps as closing my business and dedicating time to the art career, yoga, and studying- things that I truly enjoy.

Painting by Masha Ermeeva Miami-Based painter
Painting by Miami-based artist Masha Ermeeva / Photo courtesy of Masha Ermeeva

How has dance influenced your painting? 

I have always loved dancing and watching people dance. The movement inspires me. I see beauty in the geometry of a human form. I see dance as a universal nonverbal language. Lots of my paintings were inspired by dance and aerial shows. 

Your series “Transforming States” focuses on sensual abstracted figure compositions, exploring relationships, love, duality, transformation, and movement. Why did you choose to develop this series at this point? 

The past year and a half were full of events, experiences, emotions. I went through personal growth and transformation. I started with one piece, which led to the next, and so on. It was a natural process, and I found it meditatively expressive my range of emotions on canvas. I wanted to portray a feeling, make it esthetically pleasing, thoughtful, and intuitive.

Painting by Masha Ermeeva Miami-Based painter
Miami-based artist Masha Ermeeva standing with one of her original paintings / Photo courtesy of Masha Ermeeva

How can people find their voice and their truth during these turbulent times using an artistic expression?

Indeed, times are turbulent on many levels. In my opinion, life was never as overwhelming as it is now. It is important to disconnect from the outside noise and connect to your true self. We are being influenced all day, every day. Many people started practicing meditation, and I believe art is a form of meditation as well.  To find your voice through artistic expression, allow yourself to be creative, think differently, perhaps non-logical, and put it into canvas, paper, or any other medium you may use. You must release any judgment and expectations towards your art for it to speak the truth.

Painting by Masha Ermeeva Miami-Based painter
Painting by Miami-based artist Masha Ermeeva / Photo courtesy of Masha Ermeeva

What are three obstacles you’ve faced as an artist, and how have you overcome them?  

In my opinion, every obstacle in art or life stems from fear. Fear to start, make a bad painting, fail, fear of judgment, fear to be an imposter. To overcome that, I had to listen and believe in myself. I know that I started painting at an early age, and this is what I love doing and want to bring into this world.

Cover photo courtesy of Masha Ermeeva.

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