Passion and effort. Those are the two driving forces that made NATÁLIA GROMICHO a figure of international recognition within contemporary art. Born in Lisbon, where she currently devotes herself to her art in a new concept of gallery that she has conceived, Natália’s expressionist style has taken her to Italy, France, Australia, United States and Russia for more than seventy exhibitions. The LICE (Lisbon International Contemporary Exhibition), an annual exhibition that gathers artists from all over the world and is organised by Natália’s gallery, took place last month in the Portuguese capital.

FLIC: At what moment of your life did you decide you wanted to dedicate yourself to painting?
NATÁLIA: I started painting when I was a little girl. I think everybody starts at that time because we all have that wish to paint, but it was when I went to school that I made the decision to become a professional artist. I can’t do anything except express myself on the canvas.

When reviewing your work we can detect an evolution from a more figurative and landscape style to abstract expressionism. What are the reasons behind this?
Well, I think it has to do with my trips. I started to travel early, so I came into contact with other cultures and other people and this improved the way I expressed myself. Now I’m more interested in colour, and thanks to colour I obtain form, and that is how everything comes to be! It’s a completely different process that takes more time, but I’m very happy with the result. I’m constantly learning, every day I learn something new. To be honest, it’s as if I was beginning from scratch every time I start a new piece.

Where lies your source of inspiration?
My source of inspiration is the day to day that I see and feel all around. When I walk from home to the atelier, everything inspires me. I also feel a responsibility to express myself when I see disasters, but especially when I see stupid wars on television or innocent people suffering. I have the duty to leave my testimony and direct everybody’s attention to injustice.

Is there any painter you are devoted to?
I have two masters for whom I will always feel a special devotion. One is Picasso, who, for me, is one of the most inspiring artists. I love all of his phases, he is a complete artist. The other, for personal reasons, is Van Gogh.

What made you create a gallery with such an original concept as the meetiNG art Gallery?
I created the meetiNG art Gallery last year because I felt that art lovers needed to be closer to the artists somehow and not create barriers between them. The concept is to have my doors open to anyone who wants to see me in my creation process, or just talk to me, or see my works and ask me about them. I always have an exhibition of my latest works on and I also organise two major international exhibitions once a year: Downtown Chiado (DC) and Lisbon International Contemporary Exhibition (LICE). This way experiences are shared, you get to speak with artists from all over the world and, of course, Lisbon gets to show new contemporary art.

The LICE took place last October. Can you tell what it is and how the idea came about?
The LICE was the first international exhibition we ever had at the MeetiNG Art Gallery. It’s an exhibition that shows the most recent works of contemporary art from all around the world. For example, last year we had twelve artists from Korea, Spain, Brazil, Netherlands, Finland, Ukraine and the United States. This year, we had a lot more.

What do you believe to be the biggest achievement for a painter nowadays?
I think the biggest achievement for a painter nowadays is to be rewarded for his work. This reward is none other than to be accepted and recognised for his or her devotion to art. More than selling a painting, I think an artist needs to be reviewed, be seen and, of course, they also need to be in constant production and in a continuous learning process.

To be a famous artist within the broad world of contemporary art is not an easy thing to accomplish, and you did so by creating a unique style. Do you think the road that has taken you where you are now has been a hard one?
All my life it’s been hard to be accepted as an artist here in Lisbon. Next year will be the twentieth year of my career and this was the first year I got some recognition here in Lisbon but, as with other Portuguese artists, we first need to be famous outside our country in order to be famous here… If I’m now being recognised, it’s thanks to Spain (for one of my first reviews done by Ramón Casale), Australia (for the amazing exhibition where they were able to sell half of the works just on the opening night), Italy (for having been selected three times by Roberto Ronca for the biggest Human Rights exhibition), United States (for the Creative Concept which sold one of my pieces for 25,000 $ in New York and for the excellent exhibition by Nina Torres in Miami) and, more recently, one of my favourite cities in the world, London, for carrying out my solo exhibition at the Hay Hill Gallery.

And lastly, do you have any dream yet to fulfil?
Yes, I have a lot of dreams, but for now I’ll just go on painting and hoping that my works will someday have a place in history. I think this will happen, but only when I’m no longer here. Until then, I’ll keep on painting…

The dedication with which Natália makes her own world out of expressionism and leaves her voice engraved on every canvas is what makes her a successful artist. With the satisfaction of being able to live off her own art and the way that art rewards her constantly, the Portuguese painter embarks on future projects filled with excitement and determinism.

Natália Gromicho_Post1A ENTREVISTA PARA O AGORA – 90x90cm

Natália Gromicho_Post2A MUSA ESFINGE – 100x100cm

Natália Gromicho_Post3COLORS OF LIFE – 140x150cm

Natália Gromicho_Post4JAZZ AO LUAR – 100x100cm

Natália Gromicho_Post5LIBRARY – 100x120cm