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Female Artists of Jacó

Conversations with a Creative Trio

One of the best kept secrets about the coastal beach town of Jacó is an art scene that takes many unsuspecting visitors by surprise. It runs the gamut from live music to live art shows and artist’s expositions throughout the year. 

Within this vibrant corps of local artists is an amazing subset of strong women, leading the way.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with three of these remarkable female artists in Playa Jacó. Here are some highlights of what they had to say.

Paula Simons: artist, photographer

Originally from Sweden, Paula Simons moved to Costa Rica in 2013 after spending time traveling throughout Central America. Inspired by the surf and the local people, she quickly got the feeling that Jacó felt like home.  

 

From the time she was a young child, Paula always had a fascination capturing unique images through the family camera. As a teenager, having received her first point-and-shoot camera, she was able to start exploring her passion further, inspired by nature and creating art from the photos she took during walks around her garden.

 

At the age of 18, Simons did her first lifestyle/fashion photoshoot with one of her friends who worked as a model. This was only the beginning. Building her skills shooting different genres over the years, Paula found herself back to shooting fashion photography after moving to Costa Rica, where a close friend had recently launched a swimwear line. Things took off from there. One job led to another and slowly but surely her passion grew into her profession.

 

Simons noted how much the art scene has grown since she first moved to Jacó seven years ago. This expansion has occurred by default as more artists from around the world have settled here. With that has come a unique sense of support within the Jacó artist community, especially among the women.

“We are fortunate to have so many female entrepreneurs and artists in this town who are extremely smart and forward thinking,” Paula told me. “As we individually step more into our power, taking a stand for our individual paths, other artists see that and give themselves permission to do the same. They see that it’s ok to push a little further and take it to the next level.” 

 

Much beauty can be found in this fulfillment of highest potential by her peers Simons noted. “As we rise individually, we help those around us rise and together we are even stronger. I believe that this is

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetwhat has helped create this beautiful force of female artists and entrepreneurs here in Jacó and also around all of the world.”

 

She went on to say, “I feel blessed to be part of this community. Marjorie and Ignacia inspire me so much — they are my sisters and my muses. I have worked with them a lot and we have co-created many projects together”

 

As for Paula’s current endeavors, a silver lining belies the pandemic-related adjustments imposed on her over the last few months. With many projects put on hold for the time being, she has had a chance to reflect and bring a deeper focus to her photography business. 

“Recognizing what was working in my business and what wasn’t, I can now decide how I want to move forward, with intention,” she said. “Perhaps that will mean finding more ways to generate income online.” 

 

Simons is also considering the other forms of self-expression she enjoys, including poetry and music, specifically singing. 

 

“I am looking to create a balance in my life for all of the things that I love.” 

 

Stay tuned for Paula’s website being launched in the coming months. You can always keep up with her latest work or contact her for a photoshoot on Instagram.  

 

‘As we rise individually, we help those around us rise and together we are even stronger.’

 

Marjorie Meplon: visual artist, painter, muralist

Born in the seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the north coast of France, Majorie Meplon moved to Jacó in 2017 after spending time traveling around the world. 

“Costa Rica has always made me dream about the jungle canopy, beaches and animals,” she revealed. “I bought my flight after quitting my job in France. The Costa Rican lifestyle blew my mind in all its aspects! I had no idea what would be the plan, but I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be.” Marjorie explained. 

When asked about her background as an artist, Marjorie recounted, “I have always found myself drawing, throughout my whole life. I also met a lot of artists while traveling, which continued to inspire the artist inside of me. I used to sketch a lot of women’s faces and portraits from photos; that’s what I liked the most. I have never attended art school but was fully inspired by artwork I would see from the streets.” 

 

Meplon’s venture into painting really started after her move to Costa Rica.

Describing her artwork as “kind of urban, tropical and mostly feminine,”  Marjorie found live painting to be very challenging, involving lots of preparation, but also very satisfying.  

“I felt the freedom and inspiration to add colors to the drawings,” she explained. “I started painting on paper, carton, and canvas. Then my friends Gabo and Nacha invited me to participate in the Live Art project and we started a beautiful adventure for almost two years. I learned a lot through live painting and found my style.”

 

Describing her artwork as “kind of urban, tropical and mostly feminine,”  Marjorie found live painting to be very challenging, involving lots of preparation, but also very satisfying.  

 

“Soon after the live shows began, people started buying my artwork and I started accepting commissions,” she recalled. “Sebastian, my boyfriend, motivated me so much on my journey and gave me a lot of advice on how to promote myself as a growing artist. He is the best!”

Majorie echoed Paula Simons’ sentiments about the art scene in Costa Rica and Jacó, especially among her female contemporaries. That includes both of the other artists featured in this Howler spotlight.

 

“I met Paula and Ignacia when I first moved here and I always admired them for their energy. They are real artists fighting to live from their passion. They are women — sisters — who have a real message to deliver to the world through their art, music and photography.” 

 

Marjorie values the close friendship the three women have formed within a larger collective movement they are all part of.

 

“I remember many sweet afternoons together, where I sat drawing while Paula and Ignacia were singing,” she told me. “For me they embody and reflect the modern day woman. I love them!”

 

Meplon has also been influenced and inspired by her two friends individually. 

 

“lgnacia is so fearless and has so much to share. She inspires me a lot and that’s maybe why a lot of my paintings end up looking like her! Paula is like my wise goddess girlfriend, strong and spreading such a positive message to the female community. She also writes wonderful poems. We need more Paulas in our world.” 

 

As pandemic restrictions continue easing throughout Costa Rica, Marjorie has found herself receiving new requests for murals and commissioned art, and for reigniting the Live Art shows alongside Ignacia. She has also taken time to update her website with new paintings. 

 

I am looking forward to adding an online shop including some prints between $20 and $60, so people can buy artwork internationally at affordable prices.”

 

For mural inquiries or more information, contact Marjorie Meplon: +506 6011 2841. Visit her website and on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Ignacia “Nacha” Tellez: artist, DJ

 

Ignacia Tellez came to live in Costa Rica in February 2018, after completing studies in events direction and production in her hometown of Santiago de Chile. 

Her training and work experience as a DJ started in 2014 when her friends got involved in electronic music and club life. At the time, Ignacia was an audiovisual arts student at the National University of Arts of BSAS in Buenos Aires. Opportunities to attend many high-caliber shows in the Argentinean capital motivated her to study electronic music production.

“At that time I had DJ teachers and artists who were nationally renowned, who inspired me a lot and shared their tasteful references, mainly in the genre of deep house music.”

 

Having access to school equipment for improving her practice was an added advantage.

After moving to Jacó, Tellez started spending a lot of time with her new creative and artistic friends. Enjoying afternoons together in one of their homes or at the beach, they would paint, sing, play guitar — you name it. They would sit for hours, chatting and sharing their passions.

Performing at the 2018 Perfect Garabito Festival was an early turning point for Ignacia in Costa Rica, she recalled.  

“It was one of the first big shows in which I had the opportunity to participate.” 

The same year, she co-created the Live Art project with her then-boyfriend. After a few changes were made to the structure, Majorie Meplon was brought on board and from there, the project took on a whole new dimension.  

“We saw in Marjorie a great talent in drawing, and her elegant and French air was a perfect ingredient for the Live Art shows to succeed,” Tellez said, reflecting on the hundreds of such events held in 2018 and 2019.

The creation of La Aldea, an outdoor electronic music event in Jacó, brought Live Art to a whole new level at the beginning of 2020. The idea took hold when the organizers managed to rent a privileged property on the way to Bijagual, alongside a river with the jungle as the backdrop.

“It’s the perfect spot in nature, with no neighbors to bother with the music and having direct contact with a river and the jungle,” Ignacia said.

Although most of this activity came to a halt when Costa Rica’s pandemic control measures were implemented, the recent reopening of restaurants finds Tellez optimistic about renewed interest in the Live Art shows and other local DJ gigs. Otherwise, in the immediate future she is focusing on her greatest loves besides music — acting and the performing arts.

”I have had the happiness to act for more than 10 years in different films and commercials. Here in Costa Rica I appeared in a campaign for Banco Popular and Tropical. I will also be preparing a show for when I can perform again, in which I can mix and use my voice at the same time — something I dreamed of years ago. We look forward to resuming activities with Live Art and La Aldea as soon as possible and coming back with more strength and dedication than ever!”

Keep up with Ignacia Tellez and her latest projects on Instagram.

 

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