Exclusive interview with award-winning contemporary art advisor, art collector, creative designer, public speaker, author and curator Maria Brito
What is the full name and ages of your children?
Daniel Souza is 9 years old and Oliver Souza is 8 years old
Could you describe yourself in one sentence?
Fun, warm, passionate, intense.
What was your life like before motherhood?
A lot more selfish, a lot more reckless. I think once you are a mother you never are the same as before.
My heart is outside my body, it belongs to my kids. My actions are thought twice because of them. I am their example but they are my teachers.
My life before my kids was about me, then when I got married it was about all about exploring, going out until 4 am, traveling and experimenting. We still do all those things but they are more calculated, there’s less spontaneity, more plans, less crazy, more maturity.
When your parents divorced how did that affect you?
The break up of any family is really hard on everyone no matter what they say, but it is truly rough on kids. When you are so young and your brain and emotions aren’t fully developed, you don’t know exactly how to cope or how a divorce affects you. At the time, I was sad, but I always had both of my parents very close to me, physically and emotionally so I moved on seeing that my glass was half full, all things considered. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I started to realize the very deep scars that my parents’ divorce left on me. In a way, I believe I created an armor, a survival mechanism that allowed me to function really well for decades. In hindsight, I now see I was only trying to protect my heart from suffering and from witnessing the disintegration of my family.
I read a quote from you: “My mother told me only creative people starve.” Did you experience any financial hardships in the beginning of your career as an art advisor and also having to raise a family?
The answer is no, I never had any hardship. I worked as an attorney at one of the most prestigious NYC law firm for many years and had lots of savings, my husband is a self-made top bank executive so we never faced any financial hardship.
Did you struggle with postpartum?
Yes and no. Yes because with my first, I really had no clue what had happened to my body and all those hormones fleeing my body suddenly after giving birth was like being under a cold, furious waterfall. And the lack of sleep, really was adding to it all. However, the opposite is that no, I didn’t struggle as much because I had to go back to work as an attorney and had very little time to dwell on my own emotional, psychological and physical drama. My postpartum resolves itself out of circumstances. With my second it was very different, I was extremely busy with my own business and very, very active during my pregnancy even with a high-intense exercise routine, but then after I gave birth, the madness of having two kids under two, the juggling of it all, the pressure to succeed as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, wow, that was really hard. Mostly created by myself but influenced by physical and psychological changes which at the time were so difficult to understand.
What has been the biggest learning curve with your brand identity?
There is always reinvention and a new thing to do and a new thing to add and a new marketing platform and something else that has to be added fast. The fast pace of how we need to do things. change, tweak and adapt to the times. This is true for everyone in business and if you live in New York, multiply by 100.
Before launching your own company you were a lawyer. Do you feel that gave you the upper hand?
I don’t think necessarily that being a lawyer gave me an upper hand in front of people like clients and galleries and press. I think that it gave me an exceptional training, a way of thinking that is logical, truly fast and a consistent approach to solving problems that is unique to lawyers. For many years I didn’t even disclosed to my clients or even gallerists who didn’t know me that I had a career as a lawyer, I thought that would not add anything since I was becoming something completely different.
You graduated from Harvard Law School, in what moment did you decide to shift your career as a lawyer?
After eight years as a lawyer, when my first son was born and I realized I couldn’t spend the rest of my life doing something that was so not me. I realized I owed it to myself and to him the opportunity to be truthful to my creativity, my talents and my passion.
What has been your most exciting opportunity to date as a art advisor?
I have had so many. I’ve been extremely lucky. I have worked with Sean “Diddy” Combs for seven years, I have worked with Gwyneth Paltrow, I have gotten two books published, I have curated exhibitions around the world, one very close to my heart in Greece, I have been called by museums in París to consult and write about their shows, I’ve traveled the world to places as far as the Middle East invited by clients to develop their art collections. I really have a dream business that I’m so proud to have built from scratch.
When buying artwork for your home what do you look for?
Young artists who have a fresh but acute approach to dealing with current cultural and social issues; a strong technique and great use of color.
You feel most beautiful when?
When I’m on the beach, when I’m happy, when I’m with my husband – he really makes me feel beautiful, sexy and sexual.
When you get a quiet moment, what do you like to do the most?
Meditate. Pray. Find my center.
Favourite new artist?
Too many! Nina Chanel Abney, Allison Zuckerman, Reginald Sylvester II, Raul de Nieves and the list goes on
Who is your Mother Muse?
Can you give a quote about Mother Muse coffee books?
This is a great and special initiative and a beautiful project, to show the world a sexy and authentic side of women who are mothers without giving up on everything else.