"When I enter my studio, I put on music – it helps me connect my inner world with everything that surrounds me. Inspiration appears and... it is the fire that I keep alive."
Maria Elizabeth Mendes Ferreira was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1956. "I grew up in Porto Alegre," she says. "While still a child, I discovered paints, brushes and pencils with my sister Luiza Olympia, an art teacher where I went to school. When I was 16, I began taking free art classes sponsored by the municipal government and went on to drawing live models with my professor Danúbio Gonçalves.
"Up until 1999, I perfected my own technique and developed a figurative style. By the end of 2000, I discovered contemporary art. I explored its freedom of movement, of volume, and played with space as I created geometric ballets with form and color.
"I've dedicated my life and my time to painting, to my mother, to my life companion and to the friends who are always willing to listen and to offer a friendly shoulder to lean upon."
Versatile, Mendes Ferreira is an artist who works in more than one style. She permits herself to move from the abstract to realism and back. "I've been through some difficult moments in life, but I haven't lost my good humor. I consider 2013 as the year of my rebirth." she confides.
"My life as an artist began at the age of eight when I took my first art classes, and although I eventually majored in communication and advertising and worked in those fields, art was always a part of my life.
"My mother was my 'guru,' a safe harbor in my life. Although my family doesn't have any connection with art, she always motivated me. Mt friends and other artists who liked my work also encouraged me.
"When I enter my studio, I put on music – it helps me connect my inner world with everything that surrounds me. Inspiration appears and is maintained through constant work. It is the fire that I keep alive.
"To take that step and live from my art is a challenge. And that difficulty ends up transformed into a pleasant incentive to finish each painting. Because the possibility of working creatively, transforming an idea into forms and colors, is very gratifying."
Mendes Ferreira is listed in volume 8 of the 1966 edition of Artes Plásticas Brasil (pages 563 and 564) by Júlio Louzada. In 2001, she was invited to participate in the Artes & Artistas Brasil yearbook. She was awarded a bronze medal by the Associação dos Diplomados da Escola Superior de Guerra in 1991, and took Honorable Mention in three exhibits in 1993.