Maria Camila Bernal Toro – Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

Allí estaré Acrylic con Canvas 76 cm X 122 cm 2014

Allí estaré
Acrylic con Canvas
76 cm X 122 cm

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My work doesn’t have the intention of making a change in the world nor in peoples’ way of thinking, my work only seeks to transmit a sensation of plenitude and tranquility, for whomever finds themselves in front of my work to be able to forget reality for a few minutes and for them to give themselves a moment to not think.

My concept remains the same independent from the material, however, each tool and surface will always produce different results and I really enjoy exploring new materials because it gives me the sensation of discovering something new and this makes it so that art never becomes monotonous.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

For many years, I lived in a town in Colombia called Villeta de San Miguel. Growing up in such a tranquil environment, surrounded by nature developed a fascination for it in me, I could spend hours drawing. I can say that I loved introducing myself in a fantastical world through drawings. 

I moved to the city, studied graphic design. In the University I learned many concepts about image in relation to harmony, proportion, functionality, and color, however it was all in favor of someone else’s project, all of the design was done for a client.

I worked many years as a graphic designer at advertising agencies. I was art director for one of them. I got to Panama in 2011 to work for Converse All Stars, but I knew I didn’t want to design commercially anymore and that I wanted to focus all my acquired knowledge on making personal work as an artist.

So once again I moved from the city, I lived at the beach for a couple moths and for another couple of months in a magical place called “El Valle de Antón” or “The Anton Valley” where I went back to that sensation of tranquility, which allowed me to grow even more in my work.

Habitar en El Valle por siempre - 05 Acrylic con Canvas 55 cm X 76 cm 2015

Habitar en El Valle por siempre – 05
Acrylic con Canvas
55 cm X 76 cm

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

At the present time I have my studio in Panama city, which I share with my husband because he’s also an artist and we grow a lot through producing work together even if our work is very different. “Being in the studio” I think is a concept that goes beyond the barriers of space. Being in the studio is a moment with oneself, a moment to isolate the world and focus on the work, either in the city, at the beach, or in the mountains. 

I definitely like being in a comfortable place where I have my materials and books at hand, however my sketchbook is like a “portable studio” to me.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?


When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

It is always the right moment to make art, everyday I work on my projects without a schedule, however I do prefer working at night because I feel that the city is more tranquil and I can submerge myself happily and without interruptions in my work.



How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

It was  only until three years ago that I decided to surrender myself to art, and making that decision took me from the informality of occasional drawing to the production of art seriously and in series.

My work has definitely acquired a higher level of maturity during this period and I know that it will keep growing, I feel that I keep taking the first step.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My parents have definitely been my greatest incentive and my husband who I not only adore, but admire as an artist. I think that people and moments that generate impact in my work are constantly coming, to list some of them: TierraBoca, Yann Tiersen, Wes Anderson, Salman Rushdie, my art history teacher at the University, art nouveau, Owen Jones, William Morris, Rebecca Dautremer.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I can’t say that studying design was a bad decision, because it taught me really useful things for my work as an artist, and I think that with different purposes, both careers depend on the same connection with image.

There are hobbies that I would like to dedicate more time to, learn to surf well for example, but I can’t conceive my life doing something other than art.


headshotVisual artist and graphic designer from Bogota Colombia, resident in Panama City. Since 2005 works in advertising agencies and in the Imprenta Distrital de Bogotá. In 2010 he comes to Panama to design for Converse All Stars prints of the female wear.  Founded in 2012 “La Tienda de Remedios” virtual platform that functions as a design studio while developing personal projects as a visual artist. Her  work is based on admiration of nature, the small details and the fantastic stories derived from everyday life.


All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.  


About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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