Q & A with Tania Iraheta


What is your background?

I was born in Chile and immigrated to Canada in 1980. 

When did you start painting?

I started drawing and painting from a very early age I guess I was born with it. I took art more seriously in high school when my Grade 9 art teacher took me under her wing and gave me all the support I needed to develop my abilities.

What motives you?

Everything motivates me to paint, my family, nature, people, life in general. I don’t need a reason to paint; I paint when I am happy, sad, relaxed or excited, etc.

What is integral to the work of an artist?

Being true to your art, be yourself don’t try to emulate the works of others. When your art is an honest representation of who you are; that  for me is good art, it doesn’t matter what others think what matters is that you are happy with what you are doing.

Is there an artwork here you are most proud of? Why?

I have a few, asking that to an artist is like asking who is your favourite child but the ones I like the most are the ones that paint themselves, it feels as if they are using me to paint them... they come together very easily as if the work has a mind of its own I often find myself saying how did I do that?

What inspires you?

Life in itself inspires me, everything around me, we just have to look around and we will find inspiration.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most?  Why?

I love textures, colours and the drawn line or marks.

What themes do you pursue?

Right now my theme is non-objective landscapes or landscapes of the mind as I call them, I don’t try to paint landscapes my paintings just have a feeling of a place.


Teaching Art in the community:

Why do you like to teach art?

I like to teach art to expose other people to this wonderful medium of communication and to make people of our community aware of the many benefits that art can bring into their lives.

What is the objective?

The objective is to develop the mind and to better understand and appreciate the world we live in.

What is the importance of art among the community?

There are many benefits that art brings to people's life such as: a way to self expression, improving self-esteem, stimulates creativity and communicates our ideas and values as Latin-Americans in short art connects people more deeply to the world and opens our mind to see things in a new way which in turns makes us better persons.

Do you only teach art classes to people with art knowledge?  Or anyone can take a class?

My classes are for people of all skills levels and ages from 12 years to seniors.

Do you offer workshops for other community or private organizations?

Yes, I offer workshops to anybody willing to learn about art and painting.

I think that my purpose in life is to share the pleasure I feel when painting with my community, I wished I had the support not only of other people but also economically to pursue my dream of making meaningful art.   

When I started to paint more seriously I lacked the professional training necessary to develop my talent.




What do you like about your work?

I like the process of painting the most, I like to experiment with different techniques and materials, I also like that every painting feels like it is the first one, I never know the outcome and with each one I learn something new.

Who is your favourite artist? Why?

 I admire Hans Hoffman, a German expressionist painter who was also an art teacher. Hofmann's art work is characterized by a strong concern with composition, illusion of space, and colour interaction.  Paul Klee is another artist I admire because his paintings combine colour and drawing. His works have a childlike playful appearance that I love.


Is the artistic life lonely?

Not really, if you think of being lonely as not being in the company of people; me personally I like being alone. I never feel lonely when I am painting it’s not that I am antisocial, I am very friendly but I rather be painting and that takes all of my concentration. I also think that we should embrace being alone because it let us reflect on ourselves, it is like having a conversation with yourself to get to know yourself better. Also there is a difference between loneliness and being alone.


Professionally, what's your goal?

In my personal life I would like to show my work locally and internationally.

My dream is to make more people in our community aware of the benefits that art can bring to their life and to develop their talent that is often hidden waiting to come out. I also want people that are already into art to understand that there is always a need to learn because by expanding your knowledge a world of possibilities opens up. We have to be humble and accept our shortcomings, I am always taking workshops and classes, an artist never finishes learning and we learn something new in every class there is so much left to learn.




Visual Artist Tania Iraheta, teaching at Pinceles Latinos. Toronto, Canada
Visual Artist Tania Iraheta, teaching at Pinceles Latinos.
Toronto, Canada

When my children were older I picked up painting again, I wanted to learn more but I found a block, money; art classes are expensive and the ones taught at community centers are very basic, fortunately Ontario Arts Council gave me a grant to study art in a more professional setting and the benefits were tremendous , now I want to share my knowledge with anyone willing to receive it.

Although my problem wasn’t the language for other people in the community is and my teaching in Spanish takes care of that too, what more can you ask for: a friendly and cozy place to paint supplied to us by the generosity of Casa Maiz Cultural Center and a quality art training compared with that of private art schools without the high fees.

Through the many workshops that Tania Iraheta presents during each year at Casa Maiz as well other organizations, she has been be able to demonstrate her tremendous desire to have a positive effect on the lives of people in the community.

Galeria Arte Hispano.com