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Maliheh Bartolomeo: A Force of Nature

For Maliheh Bartolomeo, the biggest influences on her work have come through her many travels—experiencing different people, languages and cultures all over the world—along with her own lifestyle and dreams. “I’ve seen war [and other] sad things, as well as happy things,” shares Bartolomeo. “Ultimately, it’s my love for our earth, animals and Mother Nature that make me want to create.” It was during her aforementioned travels when the artist—born in Iran to parents of Persian and Turkish descent—met her Italian-American husband and started their family. Bartolomeo, who’s always been artistic, began studying art in college; through years of hard work and dedication, she earned the title of “master artist.” A member of Northern California Arts, as well as the Folsom and El Dorado Hills Arts Associations, you can view her work at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, Blue Line Arts, and Sutter Street Artists Gallery. 

HLB: Do you recall your first painting? 

MB: As a child, I created things out of paper, foil, wires—anything I could find—and made flowers in kindergarten. Back then [people] didn’t encourage you, but I still did it. I completed my first oil painting—an angel—in college, and my professor could hardly believe I did it all by myself. As a kid, I would dream about angels. War was going on at that time, and I worried about other children in the world. I wanted to bring peace into this world, not war. 

HLB: Can you elaborate on your affinity for nature?

MB: Trees and animals are a part of us, and we’re a part of them. Humans get angry just like wild animals, and some are sweet and kind like others, such as dolphins. We need to respect and protect all of life and nature. We breathe because of trees, so if I paint them, I give them a soul.

HLB: What are you currently focused on? 

MB: My current solo show, Mother Earth, in Los Angeles, which has been a dream come true. Every painting has a story behind it; [with each piece], I’m talking to the world and telling them what I believe and sharing my life experiences. I also love music, as it helps to change your mind positively and see more beauty. I use color and music to meditate, and when I have a tune in my head, it gets translated through the brush in my hand. 

HLB: Why is art so vital in life? 

MB: Artists work hard, so try to take time out of your busy life to go see their work. Many also study history and are trying to communicate to the world; without [receiving] support and love, it’s like planting a tree without watering it—they’ll dry out just the same. Art is like the spices in food; without it, life doesn’t have much meaning and is very bland. We need air to breathe, food to live and art for our soul; without the soul, we’re just empty bodies.