We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Helman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diana, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is part of human life; not accepting it is not living a life worth living. The risks of not taking risks are stagnation, anxiety, and frustration that don’t fit in the wonderful gift of life. It doesn’t mean that this process will be easy. There are hard moments when you decide to take risks, not everything goes as planned, and sometimes you will take the risk and fail, but you can always grow and learn from it.

I have always felt a calling to paint and express myself through art; I would do it even if no one would ever see my work, but pursuing a career in art, becoming an entrepreneur was a huge challenge for me. Everytime I had to show my work, talk to someone about it, or go into sales and marketing, I would feel so nervous, the fear of rejection and failure almost paralized me. However, I don’t regret taking risks and facing my fears, because this journey brought me so much joy and opened so many doors that all the pain that I had once felt became small. I was able to travel to Paris to exhibit my work; I met so many special people; I was even able to move from Brazil to the USA because of my art. There are so many great things that I would never be able to live without risking. I love what Elizabeth Gilbert once said “I think every brave thing I’ve ever done, I did it because I just had to ask myself: what’s the alternative? And the alternative usually sucks more than the danger of doing the thing.” . Not doing it wasn’t an option; as a person of faith I had the obligation to try, and I’m so thankful I did it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I like to think about my paintings as visual prayers. I am inspired by the beauty of Creation and my spiritual experience. My process combines the spontaneity of the stains formed on canvas or paper, the overlapping of colors and texture, and the movement in a visual weave that hints at the underlying feelings and complexity of a life where Heaven touches the Earth. My current work draws almost entirely from the metaphorical, lyrical, and abstract that reveal a transcendent reality, rather than the representational art that defined my previous work. 
 Despite having an Argentine father and a Brazilian mother, I was born in Mexico. At the age of 4 we moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to be near my mom’s family and I can remember me drawing since then. At the age of 12 I did my first painting exhibition in a small gallery in Copacabana. My parents loved art, my mom was a ceramist and a sculptor, and visiting museums and galleries were always a part of our weekend, but my most favorite art tour was to visit my mom’s aunt’s studio. Ione Saldanha, was a brazilian visual artist well-known internationally, and those visits were like magic, being surrounded with all those colors and art supplies inspired me in all ways.

When my father passed away I was 16 and I had to take care of my sister and of my mom who was very depressed, so pursuing a career as an artist seemed crazy at that time. I Graduated in Visual Communication in 2001 and worked as a graphic designer in agencies and publishers until I opened my own business in 2003. I had great clients like L’oreal and Petrobras; I was happy and for 15 years painting became just a sporadic hobbie.

During those years, I had the most amazing experience when i had an encounter with Jesus; I also got married and became a mother of two amazing children, but the dream of living doing art was still locked inside me. In 2015 my mom entered in a advanced stage of Alzheimer and we moved to PetropoIis, a small and calm city in the mountains. I still had my graphic design business, but as the city was much smaller, had less traffic, the kids were bigger, and my mom was taken care of, I found more time for me. At this moment everything changed. I felt a calling to start painting again. Once I took my brushes and paints out of the boxes, I knew it was time to dedicate myself to it. I met many artists in the city that helped me find my way, and quickly I was exhibiting and selling my work. Of course it wasn’t easy, It was an enormous step of faith; I struggled with abandoning my previous career, and with having to deal with selling and marketing my own art. I was walking in a totally different path; i was scared, but the calling to paint and do art boosted me and gave me the strength to overcome my fear.

At the beginning I was working part time as a graphic designer, but little by little I could dedicate myself entirely to painting. At this point, I was invited to exhibit my work with 11 other Brazilian artists in Paris at the “Le Centre Paris Anim’ Maurice Ravel”, which was a remarkable moment that opened many doors.

Then suddenly, my mom passed away and another big challenge showed up. My sister was living in the United States and we wanted to be together again. So Finally, Me and my husband decided to move to the US in 2019. Since I got here, I was able to do my first solo show in the US at the Miami Beach botanical Garden, I was awarded by the Coral Springs Art Guild in two different exhibitions at the Coral Springs Museum of the Art, I made illustrations for book covers, children books, and dinnerware, and this month I’m doing an amazing project at the Riverside Elementary School in which I am painting 8 outdoors murals.

The process of change, risk, fear, and the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, coexist within my faith and hope that permeates my work and my life. I could have never experienced all the great moments in my life, if i didn’t go through the bad ones. Everything was important and helped me to be where I am now.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start the day going to Laudardale By The Sea Beach that has clear and calm waters perfect for snorkeling, than we would have lunch at Sakuras Sushi for a delicious japanese food. The Corals Springs Museum of the Art always has incredible art and is a must-go place, than we would go for a coffee at Crocante Bakery, and finally, go for a walk and watch the most beautiful sunset in the Sawgrass Trailhead at Atlantic Boulevard.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout First of all to Jesus and also to my husband, Gustavo, and my sister, Andrea, that have always encouraged me in all possible ways. I have met so many important people in this journey, but I could not forget to mention the Brazilian artist Beto Pereira, that as a mentor showed me that it was possible to live doing art.

Website: https://www.dianahelman.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/diana_helman/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianahelman.arte

Image Credits
photos from Vitoria Maciel

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