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Applause is a weekly show highlighting Northeast Ohio’s vibrant arts and culture scene. From interviews with artists to special musical performances, the show spotlights creative people in our community and beyond. Watch new episodes here or on WVIZ Ideastream Public Media Fridays at 8:30 p.m. Social: Facebook | Twitter

Dinara Mirtalipova's folk art weaves together multiple cultures and influences

Dinara Mirtalipova paints in her studio. [Carrie Wise / Ideastream Public Media]
Dinara Mirtalipova paints in her studio. [Carrie Wise / Ideastream Public Media]

Childhood memories and stories make their way into Dinara Mirtalipova’s art, whether she’s illustrating children’s books or designing colorful patterns.

“I call it folk art, because folk art means art of the people,” she said.

The Sagamore Hills artist draws influence from what’s familiar, whether its old, scary fairy tales or the flowered patterns her grandmother wore.

“I grew up in a culture that had lots of those mixed cultures,” she said. “Uzbekistan is the place where I was born. It's like a crossroad of so many different cultures. It has a very interesting history all the way from Genghis Khan to being under the Soviet influence for such a long period of time.”

Dinara Mirtalipova illustrated "Russian Tales," which called upon her childhood memories of old, scary fairytales.  [Dinara Mirtalipova ]

Living in the U.S. as an adult, Mirtalipova turned to art, from sketching to painting.

“I work mostly in gouache, Mirtalipova said. “My scale is very small, and with gouache it's possible to get those tiny details with the tiny brush. But sometimes when I paint larger, I go with acrylics.”

For years she’s been sharing her art online, initially through blogging and more recently through Instagram. Her online posts have led to all sorts of collaborations, and her vibrant floral designs can be found everywhere from planners and calendars to hand towels and gift wrap.

“I've been mostly sharing my work, my personal work, and to my surprise, I started receiving some requests … everything from like little projects, like stationery, to wallpapers and murals,” she said.

Dinara Mirtalipova is illustrating a new children's book, "Woven of the World," due out in 2023. [Carrie Wise / Ideastream Public Media]

For her latest children’s book due out in 2023, “Woven of the World,” she’s illustrating familiar Uzbek customs, such as how her grandmother wore clothes with multiple patterns.

“Everything mismatched, and it was totally OK by her,” Mirtalipova said. “She liked to just wear things that are colorful, and she didn't really care like if this color goes well with this color. And I kind of find that cute now.”

In “Woven of the World,” Mirtalipova illustrates the craft of weaving through a variety of cultural traditions.

“It's about how we're all like woven, one culture into another,” she said.

Making art is like “yoga for her fingers,” she said, providing relaxation and a way to separate from the stresses of life. Self-taught in her practice, she encourages others to create too.

“If the process brings you peace and you enjoy it, like you call yourself artist," she said. "Anyone can become one."

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