Colombia-born Los Angeles-based artist Maria E. Pieres uses traditional needlepoint to create intricate works of modern art. Her portraits of people are comprised of detailed stitch patterns. Each of her subjects, which range from close friends to new acquaintances, sat for the artist as she stitched their portraits. In the piece above, entitled Leo, Pieres’s godson is seen staring at the viewer while one of his eyes is masked behind his long bangs. On his shirt and shorts are different camouflage patterns and he sits on a a camouflaged patterned chair.
When we asked how the artist fell into stitching as an art form, she said, “Portraiture has always been one of my favorite subjects in art. When I first started needlepointing, I did some portraits but they were very simple. I came back around to doing them recently, I think now that I know the medium better I can experiment in a more painterly way which makes it challenging.”
What’s her creative process like? “I pick my image, usually from a photo sitting I’ve done,” she explains. “I will sometimes tweak the color and contrast and play with cropping in Photoshop. Then, I print it out to size. Once I splice the canvas together, I lay the print over and I cut away at the print as I figure out color and patterns to block in the areas.
“I try to use big areas of solid color to either invent or copy old traditional Bargello and Florentine stitching, tying it back to a traditional practice. On the more detailed areas, I first focus on color. Where I feel it’s essential, I combine up to four different colors in one strand to get it right. Also, the direction of the ‘stroke’ follows some anatomical form.”
Pieres is currently exhibiting her work in an exhibition titled Sittings at Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles. The show will end on May 23.
Thanks for the tip, Bridget!