Humans of PCC – Artist Spotlight: Belle Miranda

By Juan Lacayo|May 22, 2018Cascade, Humans of PCC, Photo Essay, Uncategorized|

Belle Miranda aka BelleM has been busy honing her craft and expanding her skills in the PCC Multimedia program. She became seriously interested in art about 6 years ago, despite nurturing a passion for art since she could remember, when she began experimenting with geometric shapes and then mandalas and zentangles as a way to keep herself sane. She maintains that all of us are creators or have created art but, “I just kept doing it.”

After noticing the lack of diversity in the local art scene in San Clemente, BelleM started looking elsewhere for a more receptive and open community.

“Since I lived in a beach town, in order to sell or exhibit your work, it had to have a ‘beachy theme’. The most popular works were realistic scenes of the pier, seagulls, the ocean, etc.”

The diverse, often quirky, and always impressive art scene in Portland called out to BelleM as a place where she could nurture her fledgling art career. And it surely has provided as the young artist has participated in exhibitions, has been commissioned for work, and has sold quite a few pieces. Despite thinking she’d never go to college, BelleM “fell in love with the [Multimedia] program,” a place that has helped her expand her skillset and create more connections in her home away from home.

BelleM admits that she “loves experimenting with all different types of mediums and blending them together,” ranging from ceramic and performance to illustration, painting, and photography. Even so, her media of choice as of now are ink and acrylic for traditional mediums; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom for digital.

The 20-year-old artist still draws from her roots, including geometric shapes and mandala-like designs. Zentangles seem to influence the organization of some of her compositions whose parts flow like the intricate inner workings of complex machinery. Her appreciation of the ethereal rings true in the manifestations of her moods and emotions in works like “I Can’t Sleep,” “It’s All in Your Head,” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” Dreams come to life in “The Traveling Wanderer,” a painting that gives form to a recurring character in BelleM’s dreams who has since disappeared. Provocative pieces like “Vanity” and “Magic is Dead” are grounded in observations she has made about the world-at-large.

“Magic is Dead.” Digital illustration courtesy of Belle Miranda.

Following a November exhibition called “RAW” at Portland’s Roseland Theater, BelleM headed to Los Angeles to showcase her work at Monk Space. The theme for the show: “Synonym for Beauty: Love, Time, Death.” The busy artist has another show in the works with a date and venue to be announced. Until then, a short Q&A will have to suffice for new and old fans alike.

TheBridge: From whom and/or what do you draw influence for your work?

BelleM: My pieces are based on the subconscious and visual form of emotion.

TB: Do you intend to communicate specific messages to your audience through your art or is it up for interpretation?

BelleM: All of my works have personal underlying meaning, but I prefer for viewers to take from it what they will. If I can spark an emotion in someone, whether it be negative or positive, then I have done my job.

“The Traveling Wanderer.” Digital illustration courtesy of Belle Miranda.

TB: What does a normal day in Belle Miranda’s life look like?

BelleM: I live in a studio apartment in NW Portland. I have a black cat, Violet; she brings me a lot of good luck. I start my day opening up the windows and brewing a cup of tea. I just love to create. It’s my life.

Violet the cat. Image by Belle Miranda

TB: Do you have a “normal” job and how do you balance all of your commitments?

BelleM: I work as an art assistant at Jones Sculpture in the NW Marine Art Studios. We work on a variety of different projects, such as bringing old paintings back to life, displaying public art, selling pieces, and much more. It’s a very fulfilling job for me at this moment. It’s difficult to balance all of my commitments, but that’s what life is all about.

TB: How did you get your start as a working artist?

BelleM: I made my name through social media. I got my start moving to Portland and being embraced by this lovely community. I’ve had exhibitions, commissions, sold prints. I’m going to work hard every day to reach even further.

TB: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

BelleM: Art is everything and everything is art. Everyone is an artist in their own way, whether it be cooking, surfing, visual, performance, anything. Society tends to make people forget about their creative side. It’s there. My advice is to not forget who you are and keep pushing.

For updates on her new work and upcoming shows, follow BelleM’s Instagram @misocomplex with the rest of us; you won’t regret it.

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Juan Lacayo

About Juan Lacayo

It’s difficult to describe my academic path because I haven’t figured out how to merge my interests into a degree program. I’m currently enrolled in the Multimedia Studies program in the hopes that I can gain the skills to cobble together a career with a Vice News or Radiolab type of organization as a storyteller. My interests include: music (jazz, electronic, hip hop, etc.), cinema, reading deviant or counterculture literature, comedy, social justice, and attempting to understand cultural and individual idiosyncrasies. My passions include: writing fiction, riding and working on bikes, and capturing the world through the “Juan” filter. I’m one of the lead bakers with Blue Star Donuts, which means that I have my hands in just about everything on the production side of the operation. On any given day, I could be making the dough, rolling out and cutting doughnuts, frying and finishing doughnuts, or making the magical potions that comprise our glazes, garnishes, and fillings. This type of position suits me, as I fancy myself a Jack-of-all-Trades, and I like to keep busy. Whatever I’m involved in, I like to have a hand in as many things as my expertise will allow. I love learning new things.