Faces of Prague: Chilean painter and midwife brings color to her new home

We spoke to Paz Sepulveda Vilo about her new life in the Czech capital, including her favorite places, her work as an artist, and much more.

Melis Karabulut

Written by Melis Karabulut Published on 08.03.2023 18:00:00 (updated on 09.03.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Melis Karabulut's series features the kindred stories of ordinary and extraordinary people of Prague, highlighting how they contribute to making the city a better place with arts, storytelling, and healing communities. In this article, we introduce Paz Sepulveda Vilo, an artist and midwife from Santiago, Chile.  

Her friends call her Pez, which means "fish" in Spanish. That's what Sergio Vergara, the famous Chilean painter (and Paz's favorite) named one of his most famous paintings.

''I was introduced to art from his paintings that were showcased in children's hospitals. I was five years old. My sister grew up with a lot of health issues, and while spending a lot of time in hospital corridors, we always found some joy in Vergara's paintings. For me, the best one was the Pez.''

Now 27, Paz has filled her life with many endeavors: painting, taking care of dogs, teaching Spanish and embroidery, acting in movies (watch out for her on "Extraction"), and hosting her podcast Pez Fuera Del Agua," (Fish Out of the Water), where she records her reflections on making a life in Prague, and traveling the world. 

Paz's house

The eldest of three siblings, Paz grew up in Santiago, the capital city of Chile. ''People usually imagine Chile as another exotic Latin American country with beautiful beaches and warm weather, but Chile is very different from other countries in the continent. Culturally it is very rich, it gets bits from Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and the whole continent. And… the sea is actually cold!''

Her early interest in arts found a direction at the age of 10 when she started attending an arts-focused school.

''For seven years I practiced many types of arts, but I knew that making a living out of painting in Chile would be very difficult, so I was looking for a new field of study for my university education. At that time, I witnessed several girls in my high school getting pregnant, and since abortion is illegal in Chile, they gave birth to their babies. Something within me got triggered by this social issue, and I wanted to help spread awareness about underage pregnancy, or at least help make it go as painless as possible. That led me to [study to be] a midwife.''

Paz and one of her works

Paz completed her university studies, volunteered for a year as a Spanish teacher in Venice, Italy, and moved on to become a full-time midwife in the south of Chile.

''I worked in a big hospital and helped deliver babies for three years. Even though the experience was great, the work was extremely intense, especially during the pandemic. I developed burnout. Only then I decided to go back to painting to release some stress after work. When my colleagues started complimenting and buying my paintings and embroidery, I got reminded of my talent, and what I enjoyed the most in life.''


These all sparked her craving for another European getaway. As luck would have it during the difficult days of the pandemic, the Czech embassy was the only one taking applications for the Working Holiday Visa, which allows non-EU citizens to stay in Europe without a full-time job for a year. 

''It all happened very fast. I sold everything, got the visa, and moved to Prague. My English was limited in the beginning. For a whole year, I worked as a waitress, cleaner, babysitter… I couldn't work as a midwife here as I didn't speak Czech. I took this as a new challenge to try something new. I launched my arts-focused website, printed many business cards, and stuck it in random places around. The tram seats, tables at coffee shops, bus stops, building walls… People started noticing and supporting my art. Now, I support my life and travels with painting, and I've found my community with other Latin American artists as well.'' 


In her art, Paz has a colorful, vibrant, and multidimensional style. We can see her combining acrylic, embroidery, and beads in one painting; always using bright colors.

''In art, I believe that it is always better to find your own unique style and not follow the artistic trends that go viral one day, and die the other day. I do what I think is beautiful, and I think it is connected to colors. Colors represent who I am, too. As a child, I was always wearing very colorful clothes. In my midwife job, I was wearing regular hospital clothes. No make-up, no nail art. The palette of colors you wear has an effect on how you show up in your mood on a daily basis. Unlike before, now I express 100 percent of myself, and it makes me and my inner child so happy!'' 

The artist's paintings are full of vibrant colors
The artist's paintings are full of vibrant colors

Finally, when it comes to her living experience in Prague, Paz says that she finds it convenient from three angles: inclusiveness, healthcare, and security. ''Prague is very expat-friendly. I'm lucky that I never faced anything discriminatory from society, and neither did my two siblings. Oh yes, they both moved to Prague after I did, too!''

The Czech Republic is a great country to be an artist – always full of things to do and to get inspired by.

- Paz Sepulveda Vilo, Chilean artist living in Prague

''A couple months ago, I had an accident and broke my spine. As a person who worked in healthcare, I believe that I was treated well here. First, I spent the gray days of winter, bed-ridden, and painting all the time, somewhat like what Frida Kahlo did. That made my house almost turn into an art gallery! Then I switched to wearing a spine corset, and got better in time. I decorated my corset with colorful stickers. I guess I try to find some colors in everything!'' 

Artist or not, we all have places that inspire us in the city. When I ask Paz what those places are where she gets her inspiration, she puts on a big smile, and says every corner of Prague is an inspiration to her. 

Working in Prague

''I love that modest, local coffee shop in Lucerna. I love parks; Stromovka, Grebovka, Riegorovy Sady. I love those pubs, far from the center that you can't find on Google Maps. I order a beer, sit for hours, people-watch, try to understand what they say in Czech, and sketch, or paint. I even bring all my paints and tools with me. Nobody disturbs you when you do that and nobody gets disturbed. They actually get curious. They ask where I am from. This helps my soul feel happy.''

Paz is a very busy social media user! Follow her on Instagram via her personal, art, and foodie accounts.

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