I’ve never been sure where I come from, or where exactly I belong. I was born in Madrid and at the age of 10 we moved to the North of England. My father died when I was 6, so when a few years later we moved to the UK and I became anglicised, I quickly distanced myself from my 'spanishness’. I was at that awkward age where all I wanted was to blend in and fit the mould. 

I quickly lost any trace of Spain, but my roots remained strong within me, and as we travelled back to see my father’s family a couple of times a year, I was consistently reminded of my heritage.

Academically, I did well, and as an 18-year old I was nudged towards an academic degree at Durham University. My passion, however, was drawing, and I had creativity bubbling inside me all my life, but the advice was very clear: a degree from Durham was the safest route to take. I studied Modern Languages, and after graduating (and following a few interesting temping jobs in London!) I started working for a small London publishing house selling publishing rights. I became International Sales Director, and travelled the world. My speciality was opening up new markets in far-flung countries, so my thirst for adventure and different cultures was quenched.

I met my husband Michael in 2005, and I decided to leave my publishing job and join him in running his online e-commerce business. By 2009 we had 2 children and had built the company to a stage where we could manage things from afar and move to Spain. We hankered after a simpler life and I felt our children would enjoy a better quality of life in Southern Europe.

We settled in Vejer de la Frontera, near Cádiz, a magical Moorish town where we were captivated by joyful people, cobbled streets and mind-blowing views of Africa across the Atlantic. It is here that I had my epiphany: Michael suggested I step back from the company and dedicate myself to my passion. This was a tremendous turning point, and I will always be grateful to him for pushing me in that direction. I went on to found Arte Vejer, an artist's cooperative based in the Castle of Vejer, and the Vejer Sketchers group. It was an exciting time of creative collaboration and a celebration of the importance of art in local communities.

After 8 years in Vejer, we decided to hop across the border to another paradise: Silves in Portugal - so different from Spain!

There, we were surrounded by nature - the Serra de Monchique, the hills of the Barrocal, orange groves in the horizon, and wildlife everywhere you looked.

By then we had three children: Deia, William and Lola (born in Vejer). In 2023 we decided to move to Santo Tirso, just outside of Porto in the North of Portugal. This is a very culturally dynamic part of the country covered in oak forests, rivers and hills - the earth's elements are powerful here. I feel rooted... artistically and spiritually I feel an affinity to the land. It is magical.

© Copyright Sol Muniain 2024