Inspirations, Success and Mental Health: A Conversation with Artist Rita Isabel

Inspirations, Success and Mental Health: A Conversation with Artist Rita Isabel
Credit: Rita Isabel/Rita Vilhena.

Rita Vilhena, who goes by the artistic name Rita Isabel, is a Portuguese painter, digital artist and photographer. She has won awards for her work, including a 2023 honorable mention by the Tokyo Foto Awards in the Editorial / Fashion category. In her interview, Rita shares her unique perspective on success, her sources of inspiration, advice for aspiring creatives looking to share their work with the world and her passionate advocacy for mental health.

How did you get started as an artist?

I started creating my art at 14 years old using Photoshop and doing self-portraiture due to a lack of models. Only later on did I find out that Frida Kahlo was a self-portrait artist, and I got inspired by her work.

Credit: Rita Isabel/Rita Vilhena.

How do you define success for your creative business?


Where do you find inspiration?

In myself, in my own feelings, in everyday conversations and in reading. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to begin selling their art or creative product?

Keep trying, no matter how many “nos” you receive; never give up on yourself. Eventually, it will be your time, and a “yes” will come. Don’t ever, ever give up on your dream. 

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I started drawing perfect circles at 2 years of age.

Credit: Rita Isabel/Rita Vilhena.

As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

Nowadays, I handle it more easily than in my young days. I try to have more compassion for myself and have more empathy towards myself. However, I always aim for perfectionism, even if we are still imperfect. 

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

That I was actually strong enough, especially mentally strong enough to run one. I never had self-love, and it took me years to love myself and understand the concept. It’s been quite a journey. 

What advice would you give to someone about handling the highs and lows of running a business?

It’s life; there are always up and downs, just never give up on yourself and your dream. Always go for it, no matter what others tell you. Follow your intuition. 

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

Yes, when I was very young, I would handle it very deeply and I’d be very hurt. Nowadays, I do not take it so personally. Usually, people that do not give you a constructive critique are projecting themselves onto you. Someone who gives you a constructive critique wants you to evolve and improve yourself in many ways. Make sure you know how to differentiate each.

Credit: Rita Isabel/Rita Vilhena.

What’s a cause you are passionate about and why? Please list a link to a website where our audience can learn more about this cause.

Mental health because I struggle with major depressive disorder (MDD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD). I always cared for this because it’s been present in my life very vividly. Here is an article on BPD that I found helpful:

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just love—one that makes running your business a bit easier?

Adobe, Ponto das Artes for art supplies and Taschen for books and research.

What brings you joy?

Life itself and little things. So many things bring me joy nowadays that I don’t know how to specify it properly, but every day, I try to thank God for being alive and be grateful for a new day and everything I have in life, even if it’s not a lot, but it’s enough for everyday life. Always be thankful for what you have; it will bring you more joy in life and increase your mood. 

Thanks, Rita! You can learn more about the artist at

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length, grammar and clarity.

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