Want to know more about some BLACK GIRLS WHO PAINT? Here are some features that highlight collaborations, major achievements, and news about BGWP all around the world.


Name:: Marilva Berrenstein

Location:: Zaandam, The Netherlands

Bio: Marilva Berrenstein is a figurative/fine artist and illustrator who paints, draws and sketches. Particularly, she uses mediums like pastel, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, Indian ink and markers. Marilva’s interest started at thirty and grew into a full art profession. She found her development into a professional artist to be both an interesting and challenging process. It has allowed her to explore her own identity and how it relates to the world. Marilva explores the figurative world to showcase life experiences through people's thoughts and emotions. Subjects like growth, empowerment and spirituality are a vast part of her work.

Email: marilvaber@gmail.com

Website:: www.mcj-studio.com

Social Media Handles: IG: @marilvacj_art; FB: @mcjstudioart

Describe your experience as a current artist

I create art on a full time basis. I started it as a hobby that eventually took more of my time, interest and effort. I started art ever since I could remember and as life took a different rout, so did my art. It become more something I did to relax. It wasn't until till five or six years ago I felt that I wanted to do something different in my life. So art become that different thing.

What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?

My transition happened five to six years ago. I started to paint over a year ago. It is important to have plan that helps to reach your goal. My goals was/is to be a professional full-time artist and to transition out of my profession of a financial administrator. The dream came for free but the hustle didn't.

What was your biggest challenge/obstacle in pursuing art and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is discipline. You cannot make without having discipline and being, sort of, an octopus when it comes to running the art business. Due to the fact that the activities are so diverse, I have to be disciplined to get the best result. 
I'm not motivated so being disciplined is key!

Describe your biggest milestone or project/series achieved since pursuing your art.

On the 12th of April I had my very first exposition. I am very proud this, even though I did not plan for it. It was great success in has led to promotion of my brand, buyers and the exposition of a full body of work.

How does your personal style and identity translate into your artwork? 

I would say that parts of my personality come back in my art. As a melanin women I feel it is important the paint melanin people. Not because we are different but we have the same questions, needs and desires.

What is your favorite art technique and why?

Well, I just explored the splash color technique which basically is the use of random colors in portraits. I love it and see it has a great way to expand my style. Some of my work is realism and at times to goes into the direction of illustration but still with an realistic feel. Although I like to organize my work, it never ends that way. So I have grown to accept that.

How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration?

Through mediation, dance and fitness. It allows the spirit and the mind to 'breath'.

What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals and/or owning her own business?  

  1. Be clear on who you are. I have clear understating with yourself, your value and time.

  2. Be open enough to let people have their perspective of you and your art. 

  3. Value yourself. Never undersell. Yes, money is great and even better by maintaining your dignity.

  4. You are an entrepreneur. That means that you do have to develop, grow and nurture your business streak. If you are not good at that, you could as the help of a business partner. However, you do need to be in it.

  5. Your creative input is valid but do not forget grow as well. Take in as much info that applies to you.

What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?: It means that I get to show human and not just the title.