The premisse There’s beauty in the Darkness may seem a bit heavy for those who want to escape darkness and seek light. The truth is that th...

Rena Natalia, aka Mimi N, describes images that abound on her soul through the Sun Project

The premisse There’s beauty in the Darkness may seem a bit heavy for those who want to escape darkness and seek light. The truth is that there is no balance without the two, as Haruki Murakami said:

“Where there is light there has to be shadow and where is shadow there needs to be light.
There is no shadow without light, or light without shadow.”

For life to evolve there is a need for obstacles and if they don’t exist life would be like Disney world, an illusion enclosed by stone walls.

Rena Natalia uses the moniker Mimi N and describes images that abound on her soul through the Sun Project, much of those images deal with social realities that happen inside and outside walls. Boyfriends who offer bouquets of flowers, but who eagerly wait to throw the first stab, pill addiction, the lack of intellect promoted and stimulated by social alienation, betrayals in friendships, child abuse, and suicidal ideation; and a whole lot of other issues of social and personal order that occur all around the globe.

She self describes as an animator and scenic designer, dark art hobbyist and manga idealist. Even though the Sun Project can be considered a hobby, she dedicates itself to it with passion and authenticity and she will never be a mercenary because an idealist never sells her talent for her soul.

© Mimi N - Sun Project

The themes you seldom choose to develop can be considered activist, since there is always a subtext of social critique or commentary. How do you develop your ideas, are they commissioned, or do you have total freedom to develop them?
A lot of people has been asking for the reason behind the project, and honestly it’s nothing more than an artist’s daily daydreaming, feeling and wondering. There’s no ulterior motive such as mentioned. I like drawing it, especially the characters.

There are also very engaging poetics in your work. For instance, in the Sun project, the painting “I am Not Crying”, the title is an antithesis to the image itself. You play a lot with paradoxes. Do you believe that when those oppositions are drawn to the more poetic side, their meaning achieves another value?
It’s not that high of a level, but I believe irony in humanity is quite strong even if we don’t realize it. What we say and act might be different, especially in internet era right now.

    I am Not Crying © Mimi N - Sun Project

There is some pain in your work. In what way can an image minimize that pain and make the spectator identify with the object and feel a sense of belonging?
I’m not sure how to answer this, since I just draw what I want to draw. It’s good if it can ease people’s pain, but I’ll be happier if they can move forward and be happier in the future.

Do you feel you have more acquired responsibility in the sense that images can speak louder than a thousand words?
As long as people knows I mean no harm, anything is fine.

The west and the east that is influenced by the west are afflicted by many social problems. That is more evident in your Sun Project drawings. Were you always an observant and critical person or did that side of you became to involved as you focused more and more on the project?
Rather than observing or critical, I always wonder that as a normal human, it’s hard to feel alive, even with the privileges I have, and I am like "what about people that have it harder than me?". Pretty much like that.

Which are the artistic references that consciously or unconsciously you apply to your work?
I’m not sure how to answer this… but the models on the drawings are based on my original comic and they like to wear scarfs and more fashionable clothes.

© Mimi N - Sun Project

How have you been dealing with this pandemic? Have you been active?
Pandemic doesn’t affect me much except I can no longer hang out with friends, so probably lack of real life socialization.

You self describe as a common and idealist artist. How do you portray your idealism?
My idealism is revealing the truth of beauty and ugliness (of humanity). People tend to see me to lean towards negative side. Ironically, ignoring/forgetting all other ‘positive’ images I make, including non-Sunpro arts. And that’s also the truth of the world. We’ve been focusing too much on negative news. Probably my arts as well.

How much time do you work around a character or a comic?
Comic is most time consuming, not sure how many hours I spend for it. As for characters, depends on what art you are talking about. It varies between half an hour and a month.

Do you have any connection to music? What have you been listening to lately?
Depends on the mood. Sometimes I listen to classical pieces, sometimes 90’s pop songs, instrumental/cinematic ost or anime/game/vocaloid songs.

Intro and Interview: Priscilla Fontoura
Interviewee: Rena Natalia
Translation: Cláudia Zafre