Spanish artist Àngela Maria Sierra, who works as Riso Chan, explores the human psyche through subtly layered foliage.
“I always imagine that they are someone’s soul, what we don’t see, our nature,” Sierra says of the delicate botanical assemblages that she overlays onto her subjects’ faces and torsos. Each portrait begins with a focus on texture and pattern as the artist paints clusters of twigs and leaves with watercolor. She then scans those botanical elements and uses Procreate to superimpose the figure onto the original piece.
Alongside their simple beauty, the pastel paintings, some of which are self-portraits, reflect the narratives and worries that consume the artist’s daily life. She describes her work as “a journal where I express moments or feelings that are important for me during those days. It’s a way to give those feelings space and then let them go.” Tied to both struggles and joys, topics include finding freedom through creativity during the lockdown, growing up in a drug-filled home, and the bravery required to move forward.
Based in Zwolle, Sierra combines her art career with another one of her passions; creative teaching. Since 2017, she ran an art school in Amsterdam called Bloom Art House, which now is closed due to covid. She is currently on maternity leave and waiting patiently to be able to open an art school again.
From shadow to light
In two worlds
The kid inside
Still a kid