Exclusive Interview with Mariana Angulo-Pizarro – Photographer
Mariana Angulo-Pizarro is a bilingual multimedia content creative and musician who has worked with immigrant and high-need communities around the country.
After receiving her Bachelors in Film and Television Production from Boston University, she has bounced around the country working for dance competitions, daycares, and the experiential education company, Envision, where her life was changed working as a facilitation advisor for the National Security program in Washington, D.C. Inspired by her parents’ journey and the youth she works with, she hopes to continue forging her own path towards documentary journalism and learning more about our government, foreign powers, and worldwide human injustices.
Mariana enjoys crying over foreign films, screeching about adorable dogs, swaying political opinions, and embarrassing her friends with jarringly loud singing in any public setting.
NY Glam: Tell us a little about yourself and your career beginnings.
Ever since I was five years old, I was set on becoming an astronomer. Influenced only slightly by my love of Jeff Goldblum and “chaos,” I had entertained the idea of being a paleontologist for a bit as well. It took until I failed my first advanced physics exam in high school to jumpstart brainstorming new career paths.
I ended up at Boston University studying Film and Television Production with a concentration in Psychology. Eager to create content, I checked out a camera from the rental office as much as possible. It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia my junior year, where I purchased my first camera where I truly began my incessant rampage to get in people’s faces and document beautiful moments.
After a few internships in the video production world, I graduated and settled back in the New York City area where I have worked as a video/photo freelancer and employee for various companies and clients.
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I spent December-February of this past year traveling to Chile, the motherland, and Spain, a country near and dear to my heart. I had a 24-hour stop in Paris and a 24-hour stop in Bilbao. I just finished making travel videos for both those days in which I encapsulated the feelings and mood I had walking around all day long in these culturally rich and aesthetically beautiful places.
I also am currently working on/just might’ve finished-my Chile travel video which began with footage from all over with no story, and condensed it to a minute and a half long vignette of holding on for dear life and holding down my breakfast on my uncle’s boat. He’s been sailing for over 30 years and it felt only right to profile his passion with my own.
I am currently and constantly working on rehashing my old videos I never did anything with, as there are many. I am always looking for ways to connect with others and create content that speaks to me and them.
NY Glam: What art do you most identify with?
I grew up in a musical household. Having learned voice, piano, flute, violin, and guitar at early ages—as well as my parents refusal to listen to anything else other than classical music—I hold music as one of the most important, fundamental, and gorgeous artforms that stimulate the mind, move hearts, and encourage human growth. I believe what makes it so healing is the layers of depth that are never said but meant to be discovered. My work takes longer at times to complete simply because I haven’t found the right music.
NY Glam: What themes do you pursue?
I love showcasing freedom and highlighting injustices. Being able to show two contrasting images or showing how everything is connected is a way I feel I’ve succeeded in my work. I want it to show reality and I want it to evoke action. Outside of my video work, I show this best by combining my photos with a short-essay or poem attached, usually much too extra for a mindless IG scroll session 😉
NY Glam: What’s your favorite art work?
If we’re talking about painting: There is a painting that has hung in my parents’ house for years. It’s a woman in a dress with her back turned to us looking out to a lake. There’s a sailboat and a house with a faded red roof in the distance. Everything is painted with a delicate shade of blue and pink—impressionist and impressive. I’ve recalled that painting often when I’ve put my eye to the lens or brush to canvass.
Film wise: The Fountain has been one of the most impactful pieces of artwork I’ve experienced. The heavy themes and troubling reality that we cannot cure death speaks to so many insecurities and fears that have plagued so many, including myself. It’s a reminder to live as presently as possible.
Photography wise: Since I was so fixated on becoming an astronomer for so long, it took me longer than some of my peers to truly feel connected to an image. But it wasn’t too long after 9/11 that I was looking through a stack of old National Geographic magazines my parents had, that I came across the 1985 issue with the Afghan Girl. The piercing eyes and troubled face, I had endless questions for my parents about her. Only eight years old at the time, I knew her face and emotions would stick with me forever.
Music: Air on G String by Bach is arguably the most beautiful piece of music ever written, according to classical music professionals. It is the most beautiful piece of music ever written, according to me.
NY Glam: Tells us about some of your recent exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
While I haven’t had any in-person exhibitions yet, I frequently advertise and post my work on Instagram where I feel appreciated and encouraged to keep creating. And as lame as it may sound, I showed my mom my recent Chile travel video and got her crying in 0.2 seconds. Tears are always good.
NY Glam: Tell us about one of your projects which you are very proud of.
Miles To Go was a very personal video project I made. My sister and I had just mended our relationship and we went to Ithaca, New York—her old college stomping grounds. Fixated on living in a city my entire life, I never enjoyed the rural drives and long hours it took to get there when I was younger. A little older and a lot more well-traveled, I was inspired after my trip here to make a video of what I did and how it felt. It’s kind of jumpstarted my series of travel videos that follow that same theme. While there’s a lot I would change about the video now, it stands as a transformative piece I’ve created.
NY Glam: What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative is natural. It’s frustrating. It’s beautiful. It’s the only thing I am sure I want to “be” for the rest of my life. It can mean creating videos, taking pictures, and playing my guitar. It can mean collaborating with team members to find ten solutions for the one problem. It means innovation and the future and something I will always want to be a part of.
NY Glam: What are you trying to communicate with your art?
The beautiful, the bad, the ugly, the truth.
NY Glam: What role does the Artist have in Society?
NY Glam: What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
I’m so thankful to have grown up with parents that supported my siblings’ and I’s crazy, passionate love of creativity. But there exists more opportunity for artists with money. There’s more opportunity to fail and try again. I’ve seen artists compromise their dreams simply because it wouldn’t support them. I’ve also seen artists committed and stopping at nothing to accomplish their goal, but sometimes sacrificing their relationships and mental health along the way.
I have made a living of my art, no matter how difficult it’s been. My brother and sister have made a living of their art and are thriving. And as underprivileged as I thought we might’ve grown up, I know millions of others are never able to truly discover and stoke their artistic side simply because survival is the priority. But we all will find a way to be creative, whether that is through a joyful street dance, a graffiti’d wall, creating drums out of pots and pans, or playing with stuffed animals. Stories are always going to be told and it’s incredible we have so many outlets to do that with now. The only thing I hope we change is the format in which mass audiences “need” to consume content. I like taking my time and incorporating slow reveals but I’ve only got so much power and beauty before a thumb scrolls past my post.
NY Glam: How has painting influenced your life?
I went to a lot of museums ever since I was a kid. My parents’ place was decked out with prints of Monet and Renoir. I looked at those pieces and it informed how I expressed myself the first time I held a paintbrush out of my own volition, which was just a few months ago. But when the brush met the canvass, I couldn’t stop thinking how this was a whole new arena of expression I had never really investigated. I’m eager to learn more.
NY Glam: What art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?
Darren Aronofsky has been a favorite director of mine for some time. His films made me realize it’s okay to focus on the heavy stuff and sob hysterically after watching Requiem for a Dream five times. “Chivo” Lubezki ruined my life after seeing his immaculate images both on screen and in photographs, it’s not a competition but will I ever be able to do THAT? Alfonso Cuaron needs to be mentioned in the same breath. Him and countless foreign film directors have influenced me the most the older I’ve gotten because of the realness they bring to their films by just having the camera and audience sit with the characters for a bit; less dialogue, more emotion. I’m for that.
NY Glam: What can we expect from you this year?
While I’ve spoken a lot about what I’ve done and the passion I’ve had for my art, I have yet to mention how passionate and dedicated I am to incorporating my art with my love of working with underserved and immigrant communities. Having a personal connection to these both, I hope to collaborate with non-profits and leaders for minority voices to shed light on their adversities, triumphs, and ensuring they are seen as visibly, treated as fairly, and given as many resources as others have been given in this country.
On a personal note, I’m hoping to to pick up and move these cameras and goals to Washington, D.C. I find that’s the best place for me at this point in my life.
NY Glam: Can you share with us three favorite things about your city/culture?
My entire family lives in Chile. One of my favorite things I’ve always loved about this culture, and all latinx cultures, is the warmth one feels interacting with others. There’s nothing like a hug and kiss on the cheek from every single party-attendee.
I grew up going to New York City every Sunday. As a child, I hated it. But we started going every other week and I started missing it. Then we started going once a month and I decided this was where I needed to live forever. To this day, despite all the international cities and forests I’ve trudged through, it’s the endless energy and constant buzz of intellect, culture, and opportunity that New York City gives off that’s intoxicating. I’m addicted.
There is nothing better than Chilean food. Periodt. I heard it every time we sat down to eat from my—only slightly bitter—parents that the mango wasn’t juicy enough or the tomato wasn’t sweet enough. When I was finally able to visit Chile, I was like Augustus Gloop in the chocolate factory but eating all the seafood, avocados, and alfajores I could find.