Nice to meet you..
Cleise Vidal, 33, Brazilian and living in Bali with her husband, Hero Aditya, and their adorable daughter Maya, 3. Cleise is an artist/illustrator.
Mostly I put the spotlight on beautiful souls, who I know in real life, but I actually never met Cleise (at least not yet in this life), I don’t know her personally. I just got the feeling I do know her a bit, because of her amazing art.
I met her on instagram when I just arrived in Kenya and I could relate somehow to her life, as she was also living in another country as a mom. Beside that, my Indonesian roots are drawn to her beautiful style, that reflects Bali in an unique way, and of course I love Bali..have been there several times and even got married over there.
Anyway, I somehow knew that Cleise’s answers to my questions would be very inspiring. I hope you enjoy reading this q&a as much as I do. Thank you Cleise for your inspiring words, art and good vibrations. Keep on shining! And say ‘hi’ to Bali.
What is the most fulfilling part of being an artist?
‘Being able to put my whole self into it. Expressing myself through images. Being able to illustrate feelings or things that I cannot explain with words.’
Can you share a bit about your artistic journey?
‘I studied Graphic Design but since I was little, I was the girl who was always drawing the teachers at school, and doodling all the time in my inner world. I realized making art is the way I can communicate with people so I took myself more serious. Once in Bali I was part of the art collective “Asu Art Attack” where I could explore and spread my art.’
How would you describe your signature art style?
‘Primitive and sensible. Technique comes after that.’
Femininity plays an important role in your work, how come?
‘I associate women with nature, Mother Earth gives us support and life. We are alive, we are sensitive and we care. I see people digging, looking for gold, extracting their natural way to grow or underestimating their power.
I use this metaphor in my art to spread a message that we should stand together on this; we live on the same ground and we depend on us, brothers and sisters, to look after each other. We are wild and uncontrollable, searching recognition and respect.’
Are there any artistic greats whose work you particularly admire?
‘As a teenager I read something about Frida Kahlo, and I was amazed by her courage and beauty. She made me understand what makes a great artist behind the canvas.’
What inspires you?
‘I used to be a dreamer, I used to sketch my dreams. But when you find out is possible to make them reality, you have to pass the message. So that’s what has been inspiring me lately, the fact that we are able to change anything and build anything, from our true story.’
What made you to decide to move to Bali?
‘Haha. I didn’t even know where is Bali before I step here. I guess Bali has chosen me.
I met Hero when we work as photographers on a cruise ship. So I came to Indonesia to see him again, and we got married straight away. Here we are 5 years later. No regrets.’
How is living on Bali influential to your work?
‘It was a big change. I was amazed by the colors and the ceremonies and the mystical energy. The land is alive, I got much closer to nature and animals. By living such a cultural contrast, I started mixing black and white, with the super colorful hues. High contrasts.’
What is most wonderful about Balinese life?
‘The spirituality. Yes, now I know, we are just spirits. The simple way to live.’
Would you ever live anywhere else?
‘I can live anywhere, as long as I have Maya and Hero beside me.’
Tell us something about your daughter.
‘A gift. Made with so much love to the world. I feel so blessed every time I look at her, she is one of the dreams I could realize. She came at the perfect time and place. She is so real.’
What is the story behind your daughter’s name?
‘It’s just an easy name to say in any language. Not like mama’s name.’
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
‘All started to make more sense. I got closer to my mom, and now I don’t hesitate to say how much I love her. Still it is a challenge each day, being a direct example to someone so pure is an important job. I have learnt the real meaning of gratitude.’
What is your philosophy when it comes to motherhood?
‘Respecting my kid as a human being.
I would like to share this poem by Kahlil Gibran that explains exactly what I mean.
“ Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
What excites you most about being a mother?
‘I just feel this was one of my missions, and I am doing it with so much passion and dedication. She motivates me to keep fighting and being a better person, once you are good to yourself you are ready to help others, that’s exciting!’
Anything you find challenging as a mom?
‘I find it challenging to manage time, time for self-care and time for a good sleep.’
How do you combine your work with motherhood?
‘From the moment I was pregnant I have never stopped working and kept on doing things I used to do. So Maya is growing up in this atmosphere of art, and now she knows when I am working, she sits and draws with me. And also I got more connected with the kids and started to do art workshops, which is easy to work together.’
Do you have any mom icons/role models?
‘Every mom is my role model. I like to take the good things of each one. But my mother is the Queen forever, she is from Paraguay, and fought very hard to give the best for us, me and my three brothers. I love her so much.’
What does an average day look like in your (family)life?
In Bali, everyday is a holiday. We basically have no routine; working with art makes us move a lot. Searching for new possibilities, collecting dreams and people’s histories to keep us inspired. Always looking for the real purpose and contentment to continue our journey. Little Maya is happy anywhere, in her fairy style she remind us to slow down.
What does happiness means to you?
‘Being surrounded by good people to share the good moments. Being healthy is already a great joy!’
What is your life motto?
‘Just be. For there is nothing more beautiful than being who you are.
Being a human makes my heart smile big time.’
Anything else you would like to share with us?
‘I want to share my love with you and everyone who appreciates and shares my art, giving me the strength to keep moving forward. Thank you!’