Irenka Dominguez-Pareto is a Barcelona native that has been living, working, and creating amazing art in Berkeley, CA.

Q: Irenka, what got you started on your creative journey?

A: Looking back, I see how I have always craved drawing and making art. I am really drawn to black ink illustration and relief prints and for years my eyes would wander toward these kinds of images, but I never acted on it. I think during childhood, I received involuntary messages that I wasn’t the artistic one and I took that to heart. I have always had a very busy life so lack of time was an issue for sure, but I think that more importantly, I just didn’t even think I could make art.

However, 3 years ago I started doing some printmaking. I remember that for the first time EVER, while carving, I had no “words” in my brain. It was just black and white, on and off, and the feeling was so amazing I lost track of time! But I felt frustrated with my drawing skills. So, this past January, as a new-year’s resolution of sorts, I decided to create one drawing a day for 30 days. I imagined that if I did this, at least I would have 30 drawings, and some might become carvings! But then, by the second week, I was just so hooked on drawing. I couldn’t stop!

Q: Give us a typical day in your life! When do you create?

A: I have a young son and a full-time job doing research and writing on issues of equity and early childhood education at a non-profit organization, so my days are nicely busy. During weekdays, I carry a small sketchbook for sketches on my lunch break. I either finish these or sketch new ones later at night, sometimes watching TV with my husband, sometimes on my own practicing ideas or new challenges or doing homework for class :). I am also sneaking out for night life-drawing sessions every other week or so. I may be getting less sleep, but life is better!

Q: What has your drawing practice taught you?

A: I have a decent amount of experience doing hard things that take time (like moving to a new country, getting my doctorate degree, and even recovery from Graves’ Disease!) and I think my mental attitude with drawing/creating is very much influenced by that. I don’t get frustrated easily by the learning process and I am grateful for something that brings me so much joy and fun times! In addition, this new practice has opened up a lot of new experiences for me, not only about technical skills but about the artistic world around me. I have discovered new places and new communities, and I am discovering a new dimension of the cities where I live (Berkeley, CA most of the year and Barcelona in the summer). Plus, I am enjoying museums in a whole new way. I love it!

Q: Name one book that influences how you create?

A: Danny Gregory’s The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are! I carried that book with me for years, almost like a secret, never really drawing or doing anything and not even talking about it with anyone. But I would flip it open and pour over the pages and feel so excited and motivated by it. I feel that those years of reading the book in secret were getting the soil ready for what I am doing now and for that I am so thankful!

Irenka’s journey started with The Creative License and we’re ecstatic to see where her creativity will take her next!

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