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Cony Madariaga


Cony Madariaga 2023 Headshot
Cony Madariaga Photo by Stewart Whisenant

Visual Arts: Painting

By: Gail Obenreder

A lot of times I will have an Idea of what I want to paint. Other times I just let go and see where my hands take me.”

Born in Santiago, Chile, painter Constanza (Cony) Madariaga has strong memories of “running the streets with my brother, going to our local corner stores, and talking and playing with our neighbors.” Her family of five moved to Delaware when she was seven, and she grew up in the First State, but those childhood impressions continue to deeply inform the vibrancy and variety of her work.

While the Emerging Artist has an educational background in behavioral sciences, Madariaga has always “gravitated towards art,” constantly drawing and painting and taking “all the art classes available.” Her parents and teachers supported that artistic drive, and she especially loved the art room at Alexis I. DuPont High School, where Mr. Boyce, her art teacher, provided her with myriad opportunities to try new mediums and “grow in my artistry.”

“Red Lip Stick,” 2020, acrylic pen on canvas, 3 x 3 feet
“Red Lip Stick,” 2020, acrylic pen on canvas, 3 x 3 feet

“Outerspace,” 2022, acrylic and acrylic markers on canvas, 5 x 5 feet
“Outerspace,” 2022, acrylic and acrylic markers on canvas, 5 x 5 feet

“Papa,” 2022, acrylic and pastels on panel, 1.6 x 1.3 feet
“Papa,” 2022, acrylic and pastels on panel, 1.6 x 1.3 feet

Inspired by the works of Frida Kahlo, Madariaga cites contemporary Wilmington artists JaQuanne Leroy (“the mentor I have longed for after high school”) and Lauren E. Peters (a 2023 Established Artist Fellow, “my modern-day Frida Kahlo”) as influential. Working in this supportive artistic environment, Madariaga has developed the confidence to become an independent teaching artist, working with Delaware Art Museum’s “Healing through the Arts” program and at Wilmington’s Latin American Community Center.

Painting challenges Madariaga both technically and emotionally, and she has discovered that “feeling confident, losing confidence, loving the piece completely or disliking it” is a necessary part of the studio process. But her greatest rewards are being “able to do something I love every day” and share it with others through teaching and peer interactions. “I am the happiest girl at Art Loop [held monthly in Wilmington],” meeting new people and viewing a wide range of artworks. She also enjoys traveling and being outdoors with her dog, Faith.

Like many other creatives, during the pandemic Madariaga was, by necessity, able to spend more time in her studio, allowing her to “intentionally create more space for my art.” She was also able to change to a job with a flexible work schedule that accommodates time for painting. At some point, she hopes to fully transition to a career that would allow her to teach art full-time and return to school to acquire a degree in Fine Arts.

The Division’s Fellowship “means a lot to me,” both in encouragement and in the new opportunities it will provide toward those goals. Madariaga plans to expand her current practice, taking art classes in painting and exploring screen printing (“something fairly new to me”). Her goal for 2023 is to produce an entirely new body of work during the year, as she continues to expand her artistry. “I am just looking forward to making new art!”

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