Eric is the kind of person that instantly gives you good vibes by his easy going attitude and friendly energy. Dig a little deeper and you will find out that he is a detailed oriented, very accomplished and extraordinary talented figurative artist. He studied his craft in Toronto (York University) and NYC (New York Academy of Art) – some of the best art schools in North America and has been recognized with many awards. Eric Mannella has a skill set that we are lucky to have in Montreal. He is also a source of education for many as director and co-founder of the art school, Atelier de Brésoles, located in Old Montreal. His award winning talent is focused on the oil painting of the human body but his skills are not limited to that!
Mannella is also a talented musician. Currently part of the band Space Base, his music can make you want to dance but has enough depth that you can listen with pleasure drinking an ice cold beer by yourself. His lifestyle includes practicing all of his passions which are inspirational, to say the least! He surrounds himself with influential people (his wife is an impressive artist herself) but stays true to his genuine style and cool natured personality. The interview below sheds light on who he is.
When and how and did you decide you wanted to be a figurative artist?
I first decided I wanted to be a figurative artist when I was a young child about 7 or 8. I was drawing Spider-man and aspired to be a comic book artist.
Why did you choose to study Figurative Art at the New York
Academy of Art in New York City?
The New York Academy of Art is one of the only schools in the world that offers a master’s degree that specializes in figurative art. This plus the fact that the teachers were all world class artists and New York being a major hotbed of the arts made this school my first choice for graduate studies.
Having a wife that is a similar kind of artist – do you think it
affects your overall work, if so, how?
I am lucky to have a wife who is an expert in anatomical drawing as well as many other subjects. We always bounce ideas between one another which really contributes to our artistic output. We are comfortable critiquing each other and inspire one another to push further.
I know you are also in a band and play the guitar. Would you say that having many different art forms is beneficial to you as an artist overall ? If so, How?
Playing music has allowed me to understand how our senses are connected and how perception can be honed through constant practice. One art form definitely feeds the other and allows for a greater contemplation. I couldn’t live without having both music and visual art as mediums for personal expression.
What makes you the most passionate about figurative art?
Figurative art allows me to become aware of the world around me in a very unique way. You can see more which allows you to feel more and this heightened sense of awareness is very special to me.
Our school that we founded in 2003 is dedicated to figurative art and has become an important resource for professionals and beginners in all aspects of the arts. We attract people in the video game industry, tattoo artists, fine artists and people who have a love for visual art and are passionate about learning.
Is there a painting you are the most proud of ? Which one and why ?
I recently painted a portrait of my five-year-old daughter that I am really proud of. It has a feeling of a particular time and place that makes it timeless for me.
What are you the most proud of in your career so far?
Receiving a scholarship from HRH Prince Charles and a travel grant from Forbes while being a teacher’s assistant at the New York Academy was one of my favorite accomplishments. Starting our school with my wife Allana Benham is the other one that formed our livelihood.
Do you have any tips for someone interested in becoming a figurative artist?
My advice for anyone looking to develop their skills in the figurative arts is to be patient with one’s self and to enjoy the practice because it takes a long time!