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Thank you, Jimmy Outhwaite and Jefferson Pires
06 NATALIE WISWELL 10 DAVID CURTIS 16 EGON GADE 20 ROBERTA MARROQUIN DORIA 28 EVGENY YAKOLEV 34 JULIA LAMBRIGHT 40 NICOLAS VIONNET 44 STEELE WALSTON 48 DAVID BEERI 54 CHO, HUI-CHIN 60 PARUL VERMA 64 FRANCESCA BUSCA 70 MARISA PILO 74 MENNO VOS 78 IRENA ORLOV 84 LISA KRULASIK 88 JORIS GRAAF 92 PATRICK JOSSIER 96 GINA BROWN 102 ALEX CARRILLO (ALEXATI) 106 JOHN SAILE 110 RICCARDO LIOTTA 114 TAHIRA NOREEN 120 ZDENKA PALKOVIC 126 VITA BELLACCIO 130 OLIVER PRINGAL
NATALIE WISWELL nataliewiswell.com
Born in Russia to a Russian-Ukrainian family, artist Natalie Wiswell absorbed the spirit of nature and the multicultural environment she was surrounded by. Growing up Natalie was influenced by her spiritual grandmother and from her parents who were mathematicians and always looked for answers beyond the visible reality. Her first exposure to art was observing the orthodox icons on the wall of her grandmothers bedroom, where she slept as her grandmother prayed. Bright colours and patterns of traditional Ukrainian and Russian clothes, illustrations and objects also fascinated her as a child. She currently lives in Bali, Indonesia with her husband and two kids. Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition in London titled “Gate of Heaven”? I’m thrilled to participate there, London was the first foreign city I ever visited, I was impressed by the beauty of the ancient city and cheerful character of people. And it’s an honour for me to show my works there now. I love the name of the exhibition; I choose to participate because of that name. Any city in the world can be a gate of heaven and beauty and wisdom, London is setting a great example! I would love to be there myself and try to sneak at that gate; it makes me wonder what it is there. Does it make you wonder?) The answer will be there 11-16 December at A&D Gallery;) Please welcome!
Growing up in Siberia, would you say nature plays a crucial role in the lives of its people and their art? For me yes, definitely yes! But I did not have a choice. I grew up in USSR times, Siberia was so far away, we had no TV, no computers, no junk food to eat all day. Parents had to work from morning till night. Grandparents had to work in the garden to support the family with fresh vegetables. Children had to help. Sitting at home was boring and not a good idea for anyone. There were no toys, but there were frogs and clouds and trees and grasshoppers and spring streams and tonnes of snow in the winter and boys to fight with and to fall in love with. We sat on the trees all day, we picked up berries in the forest and swam in the rivers at night, that was the best way to spend time. 04
Above: Mes amies, les muses’’ 40” x 30”, Acrylic on Paper, 2018
Above: Family Meditation, 30” x 40”, Acrylic on Paper, 2018
I think deep involvement with nature as such, can definitely create a unique source within a person. At some point one can learn the language of nature by heart without any teachers any dictionaries, just touching, watching, communicating day after day. And this language is so beautiful and so authentic, somehow it reminds you of your voice, and the beauty of nature reminds about your inner beauty all the beauty of everything. It’s all there in a little blossoming flower in that little ant. And it’s available for everyone not just for Siberians because there is always sky and wind and a piece of earth and the sun. It’s just nowadays we have to make an effort and choose to connect with the tree, not with youtube. Back then we did not have a choice, and yes it yet was wonderful and played its role for many people from Siberia. What does art mean to you? Art is a necessity, like the air, like the sun. It’s a remedy and food. When I suffer, when I need something gentle and truthful, when I have too many questions, when I need a warm embrace, when I need hope, I’m looking for art. I go to a museum or gallery I search for poetry or beautiful music or dance, or I do art. But without other’s people art, I think I could not exist. Of all the artistic cultures of civilisations gone by is there one that resonates with you? Oh, many, everything I studied in University, I loved. Prehistoric art, for example, engravings on the caves fascinated me a lot. Those people could create the future with their artwork. Going to a hunt they would depict it as successful, and then they believed in it, and their spirit changed, so the hunt was a spiritual act. And also that cave art was so pure and simple, but there is a lot in that simplicity. Like in child’s art. If there was a course on children’s art of all the times and civilisations, I would definitely go for that.
Russian Orthodox icons, of course, my love, I would compare them with those prehistoric engravings, they are more than art, they are mystical mirrors for recognising and meeting sacred through it. Is it true that you currently live in Bali, Indonesia? When did you move there? Yes, I was honoured to have this unique opportunity in life to live and to explore another culture by living it. I moved here almost three years ago, but it seems like three lives ago, so much to learn and to explore. In the culture and within myself. This experience was quite transformative for me. I think any change in life can be taken as a transformative experience and a chance to grow. They call Bali the island of Gods; I quite believe that. But also true that any place of this planet has it’s beauty and uniqueness and deserves to be loved and admired. Would you say that art is probably one of the key universal languages of the world? Yes, it’s true. Even though it’s beautiful, language is helpless in many ways. Often it becomes a barrier, that disconnects people. Art could be a language that connects. First of all one individual with himself, next with everything. What is Natalie’s favourite thing to do in Bali with her family? Meeting the sunrise and sunset of course. Travelling in the mountains and getting to know all the new plants and flowers and fruits and animals. Also, we love to meet people and try new food and see the dance and prayers on the traditional ceremonies. As well we love to make friends, you can meet all of the world here in Bali. It’s amazing. So many people come to Bali, I like to lose my strong identity with nationality language or religion, in a good way. It helps me to do a more joyful art too. END 07
davidecurtisart.weebly.com Whether we like it or not change is constant and uninhibited. For millions of years, our planet has been undergoing change in the form of extinctions, evolution, death and rebirth. Each cataclysmic event leading to the dawn of another era, rise of another species. But of all the ages, we live in a time of accelerated change. Our environment is being decimated and shaped faster that it can recover and keep up. Born in Washington DC, artist David Curtis’s work acts as a link between time and change. A combination of dystopia and the primordial soup of prehistoric earth, he creates dialogue around different themes such as history, religion, literature and philosophy. We had a conversation with David where he talks about various themes such as the paleontological references in his work, Carl Jung and his career spanning three decades.
As someone who has been painting for over 30 years, how would you say your artistic and philosophical style has evolved over time? Upon reflection, it occurs to me that it has been 35 years! In my youth, I had been exploring eastern religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, before I finally settled into a Philosophic Taoist outlook, and my early paintings explored traditional Judeo-Christian subjects through a Taoist lens. These early figurative paintings were heavy-handed in treatment, deep in shadow and highly influenced by Caravaggio. They played to my chief strength, composition, as I had a knack for leading the eye around the canvas and playing different shapes off one another. I avoided the “golden
rectangle” as a means of challenging myself, which would eventually lead me to square canvases. I then began looking at ancient Egyptian canonical art, and this led me to lighten my canvases and to fill in the spaces behind the chief protagonists with smaller figures portraying events leading up to the main action, or inaction actually, as I had also become influenced by Waterhouse and his penchant for portraying the moment of decision, rather than to the action that would follow. Eventually, I became less dependent on the stories of literature, religion and mythology, and focused more on the cyclical nature of history, employing Salvador Dali’s paranoiac-critical
Above: Cthall of Cthulu, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 24”, 2018
Above: Eyes Wide Shut, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 24”, 2017 What is it about Caravaggio that you think is fascinating for other artists? Caravaggio’s portrayal of Saints and gods I did not recognize it for a couple of as ordinary people has contributed to later decades, but I had achieved a breakthrough artists portraying ordinary events and in 1987 with my painting “Aquarium” in people in a sacred light. His use of one which I envisioned Earth as “God’s primary light source can symbolise the fact Aquarium” with Michelangelo’s cracked that we all see life only through our own “Creation of Adam” behind the painting, the perspective, which makes it clear that this primordial sea teeming with life and death vision is unique and incomplete. within the aquarium, and the eternally extant insects crawling on and We like the paleontological references in outside the aquarium. Ten years later I your work, could you tell us a bit more created “Darwinian Daydream” which about that? focused on ecological issues, and in I find myself more and more drawn to the another 20 years, these two paintings led esoteric symbols of the past and feel that me to where I am now: Heavily influenced the ancients were attuned to something by Global Warming, painting images of a divine that we have since lost. The contempost-apocalyptic primordial sea teeming plation of ancient symbols and with metaphorical life-forms. conjectures concerning their earliest significance and evolution in meanings are methods or M.C. Escher’s impossible world devices to blend historical periods.
Above: Grasping For Breath, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 24”, 2017 especially fascinating to me. The symbols associated with witchcraft, for example, tend to be distorted and perverted pagan symbols that celebrated Nature, God’s Creations, and the sacred groves of Her first temples. Do you think there are elements of surrealistic symbolism in everyday life that people are blithely unaware of? Absolutely. Our interpretations of symbols are not only driven by the culture into which we are born, but by our varied ancestral memories as well. For instance, in western cultures, the snake is a symbol of Evil and Deception, whereas in some eastern and American Indian cultures the snake symbolises eternal life, as it sheds its skin. What could be more surreal than equating the Snake with Jesus or Osiris?
What do you think Carl Jung would make of modern society and its archetypes? Not much, I fear. I believe that Jung would see our current obsession with walls and our return to tribalism as “de-evolution” from the progress from which our ancestral memories should lead us. Tribalism and “fear of the Other” was important to our survival back when we were still fighting over water holes, but in this age of global communication and access we should embrace and assimilate our diversity in cultures and DNA to better our species and to better care for the world that we have been given dominion over.
Is it true that you were training to be an architect at one point? Yes, my last two years of high school and first two and a half years of college were focused on architecture. At VA Tech, I found that the ego-driven culture of the architectural school was detrimental to my quest for spiritual enlightenment; however, the study of ancient architecture and its inherent and purposeful symbolism has set me on the path I still tread.
painting intent upon deciphering its meaning and does so. END
What elements of being an artist frustrate you? The chief frustration is the blank canvas, and whether or not the path I am on is played-out and grown stale, or are there still new possibilities for growth and discoveries ahead. The other major frustration has been my seeming inability to adapt to new technologies that have made it possible for more attuned artists to reach new audiences while by-passing the more traditional gatekeepers of “high art”, such as galleries and agents. I have so far exhibited a remarkable inability to promote myself, and my artistic endeavours have so far occurred almost in secret. The purpose of visual art is to be seen, and I have so far failed in that aspect. If there was one message that Dave would like to convey through his work, what would it be? That there is no specific message. The meanings that I receive from my images change by the day and by the hour. Is it political, ecological, philosophical, religious, or something else? I am constantly amazed at the “spin” I can put on my interpretations and am always interested in what they mean to others. I like to believe that this diversity of meaning implies that I am touching upon some sort of “Universal Truth”. The highest compliment is when a viewer is drawn to a 12
Above: Brave New World, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 24”, 2018.
A trained photographer from the media school in Denmark, artist Egon Gade worked as a freelance photographer in Copenhagen, opening his first studio in 1981. He was one of the few to specialise in still and advertising photography during the ‘80s and ‘90s. This early start resulted in years of experience that he draws on today. His list of clients includes Scandinavian and International brands such as Bang & Olufsen, Georg Jensen, Carlsberg and Royal Copenhagen to name a few. Often working as the idea and concept developer in his assignments, Egon incorporates a playful, visionary and open approach, pushing the boundaries of both genre and style. He has received numerous international awards for his work, including Clio Show and Cannes Lion, as he is represented in Lürzers Archives “200 Best Photographers Worldwide” from 2004 to 2013.
ROBERTA MARROQUIN DORIA robertamarroquin.com
People often look at photography as an archiving tool, and in most cases it can be. But, there are artists who are using it to tell stories, manipulate and create narratives, long after the image was taken. One of those artists in Roberta Marroquin. Using a combination of long exposures, light painting, reflections and a timeless aesthetic she creates a world where the viewer is drawn into her world, exploring its nuances and legacy. She often incorporates elements in her work that could be classed as both contemporary and ancient, making it hard to pinpoint a timeframe where they were captured. Blurring the boundaries of time itself. What makes legacies so irresistible in your opinion? I believe legacies are interconnections across time; they are the result of events in a past time. They can evoke many basic human emotions: hope, longing, regret, anxiety, fear, dread, jealousy, bitterness, rage, a sense of failure, a sense of accomplishment, pride, contentment, joy, gratitude, humility, love. I believe what we need, as we grow older, is a sense of wisdom. Wisdom brings together our experiences, ability to think, and emotional maturity to make good decisions at an individual and societal level. Wise people recognise their own limitations and the limitations of life. But they also see possibilities and hope. We all need hope. Hope does not extinguish
suffering but sustains the belief that there can be an end to it, if not in your own life, then in the future. Leaving a legacy is a human need. It is in part selfish â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we want to feel immortal. The idea of leaving something behind that will â&#x20AC;&#x153;live foreverâ&#x20AC;? is appealing. We also want to feel like we matter in the vast sea of humanity. We are connected by the legacies passed down from those who came before us and the legacies we pass down to those who come after us. The power of legacy enables us to live fully in the present. We understand that we are part of a larger community, a community that must remember its history to build its future. In my opinion, what makes legacies so irresistible is the fact that is about life and living.
Have you always had an interest in photography? I remember as a small kid, seeing my father often holding a camera and constantly taking pictures. I believe since then, photography became a key element in my life and now a real passion. My father gave me a manual 35mm Rollei, when I was a little girl. With my basic technical knowledge at the time, I started taking pictures of everything that was around me: bridges, statues, textures, people, markets, architecture, landscape, to mention some. For me, the real passion for photography started in the year 1994. Having Finished high school in Monterrey, Mexico I had the opportunity to go studying abroad for two years. I lived one year in England and one in Italy where I studied languages, art history, painting, drawing and photography. During that period, I began my exploration and fascination with art and photography. My career as a professional photographer began in the year 2000 in Paris where I pursued my studies in Fine Art/Photography. People always consider photography as a tool to document, and yet, would we be correct in saying its a creative process for you? Since I started developing a personal interest in the visual arts, I knew photography was going to become an important element for my personal developing as an artist. It has become a tool that enables me to share my world, my vision. For more than a decade exploring the documentary side of photography, gradually, I began approaching a more creative side of it. In my search of the uncanny, I used photography to the mysterious, the imaginary and light is the tool to my creativity. Over the years, I have developed a fascination with the process of
photographing in the dark, as I have always liked taking pictures in relatively dark spaces and/ or low light conditions. Back to the year 2008, I started using a technique, which I learned during my photographic studies in Paris. “Light Painting” has become one of the narratives I frequently use in my creative process. Spaces hidden in total darkness are the domains of my predilection. I revealed a parallel universe that it’s unfolded before the viewer’s imagination, using a flashlight, a tripod and long exposures. I create my own narrative of the night; I generate ephemeral moments of profound significance. I explore the mysterious, the sublime, the unexpected and what passes before our eyes unnoticed in the gloom of the night: hidden meanings in the threshold of consciousness. This is where my images become polymorphs entities, another narrative I have developed with time originates with the idea to build a world that is undeniably separate from the one we live in. I invite the viewer to submerge into a world out of a common reality and logic. Creating images, explore a surreal flora & fauna’s world to show that reality has intricate ties with fantasy. My edited photographs are so far from the original image that comes out of the camera. I add texture to them to give a feeling of grime and age, thus giving the photographs a timeless feeling. I want my imagery to move beyond the realm of photography and instead, mimic paintings lost in a timeline. There is a feeling to these photographs, one that touches on the juxtaposition of the real yet surreal, a fantasy and a dream yet riddled with reality. Are the stuffed animals and sculptures immortal references? One of the first projects, which I started in 2001, was to capture the human form in its sculpted representations, in other words, 21
Could you tell us a bit about your body of work titled ‘Homaasai’? Homaasai is a portrait series of a Maasai tribe in southern Kenya. Each portrait opens a door into a parallel dimension where timeless aesthetic feelings go hand in hand with a cultural heritage. With long exposures, they are done in complete darkness inside their most intimate space, their homes. I let each The tradition of depicting humans who have individual to be defined by their unique become immortals is an ancient practice in features and postures and through these art and assigning meaning to animals both images, I invite the viewer to take a step real and imagined, has existed since into a limbo of time and understand the classical antiquity. We have learned, solemnity of their tribe. throughout history, that humans have always loved beauty and worshipped Whenever I get to know a new country or statues and icons. Any images created to culture, I wonder about its past. I look for be immortal is a reminder of the divine. people that belong to those places to share Stuffed animals and sculptures are signs of their stories with me. Invariably, each and prosperity and longevity, so they are one of these tales have some elements that popular themes in the visual arts. are true and some invented, misinterpreted, exaggerated or distorted elements. details of statues. The project was initially conceived as a play on mistaken identity, the notion of confusing the viewer by photographing marble at the hands of a master and rendering it life-like. Many of us are frightened of our death. We aged as individuals, but because of the properties of our germ cells, our lineage doesn’t age. In that sense, humanity is immortal.
How has the explosion of social media and apps like Instagram affected your creativity? If at all? Many would ask themselves how to reach the power of media nowadays. For me, it is a visual freedom. I think it has changed the way I work, since the booming of the digital era. The access to social media has given me access to showcase my images to the world. No longer am I exposed to just a few amazing photographers around the globe, but now I have a choice to follow a few million photographers and their photographs, giving me the opportunity to learn faster from the talented artists we view daily online and share my input and knowledge to those eager to learn as well. It has helped me connect with like-minded creative individuals to share ideas quicker, work together, and source new clients. It has become the modern-day word-of-mouth. I have decided to take the positive side of this new technological era and learn to adapt in this ever-evolving world.
I believe that somewhere between the notion of past exists something that becomes myth, falsehood or illusion; It is a time that no one can judge what really happened and never will know for sure if there were made-up elements, misunderstood, exaggerated or distorted facts, because there is no one single event that everyone in the world have witnessed at the same time to testify that something is indeed, real or not. During the process of photographing in the dark, I find a parallel world where I can create, invent, falsify, distort, shape, hide, reveal, mutate my reality. I’m interested in who sees my photographs get lost in a timeline, either by the characters, places and objects that could be contemporary, but they have an ancient aesthetic. My photographs turn into ghosts that mingle in a timeline.
Are there any places you would like to revisit? I think more than revisit places; I would love to continue exploring our vast planet. I wish I had the time and money to go back to many astonishing places I have had the chance to explore and photograph. The more I travel, the more I realise the endless amount of unique places our planet has. If I get to choose today a place I would like to revisit, I would choose more than one: The Highlands in Iceland, Lofoten in Norway and Tarangire in Tanzania.
the world. A memorable meal was going to KOKS. A culinary experience in the Faroe Island Ě s first Michelin starred restaurant. A 20-course Nordic tasting menu. Located in a remote coastal hamlet, with stunning views over the fjords. The chef comes from the island - as do the excellent ingredients - and the kitchen uses both modern and more traditional techniques like drying, fermenting, smoking and salting to create accomplished, imaginative and intensely flavoured dishes. END
What was the most memorable meal that Roberta last ate? The rocky, remote Faroe Islands have just 50,000 citizens total, spread out among a patchwork of tiny, picturesque towns and villages. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re connected by an impressive network of roads and tunnels and ferries, far removed from the rest of 24
EVGENY YAKOLEV facebook.com/EvgenyYakovlev.reedly74
Change is constant, but these days one cannot help but feel like the rate of change has accelerated in the last decade: mass migrations, environmental degradation, technology, the evolution of cultures and traditions. It can all seem like a blur. When he is not running around his adorable child, artist Evgeny Yakovlev is trying to document this change in his work. Swathes of colour and layers of objects create a story in each of his pieces. An endless kaleidoscope before your eyes. Born in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia, he continued his education in Vladivostok in the Far Eastern State Technical University studying architecture. He wants his work to be a medium of communication between him and the viewers, embracing the colourful, wild world that we all live in.
JULIA LAMBRIGHT julialambright.com
Born and raised in Russia, artist Julia Lambright received an MFA with Distinction in painting from the University of New Mexico after working with oil in the past, the focus of her creativity has revolved around the use of traditional egg-tempera painting for the last decade, utilising the knowledge she acquired from masters in Russia and the United States. Drawing inspiration from traditional Russian icon paintings, Julia integrates and transforms its principles into a contemporary form of art making. Your medium of choice is egg tempera, could you tell us a bit about how you started using it? As a Russian who found myself living in the West, I understood that it was essential to renew the traditions, as well as the spiritual and cultural values of my birthplace. I have been living in New Mexico for fifteen years and visits to the local Orthodox Church during my first years while in America did not allow me to find the spiritual connection that I was searching for... I think it was due to my physical dislocation from my native country; I felt a growing need to explore the sacred art of Russian icons. My goal was to learn traditional icon painting so I could create my own ‘sanctuary’ privately, in my new home. Eventually, I took several trips to my home-town Moscow with the aim of learning iconographic canons, and subsequently some of the original formulas
and techniques in egg tempera. In Moscow and later in the United States I worked with Russian masters who opened many perspectives for me in terms of technical and visual challenges. We presume it comes with its own set of challenges? Absolutely! Working with egg tempera is somewhat a strict discipline. I can compare this medium to old-fashioned artistry as the grounds and paints are created from scratch. With my first studies of this ancient medium, I understood that adopted recipes from the iconographic schools in Moscow were a good starting point, while further experimentation with materials and formulas over time became essential in my practices. Especially in the process of making ‘true’ gesso; the absorbency, flexibility, and finish of the painting support were gradually adjusted to meet my own special needs. 32
Perhaps, with all the advantages of the 21st century, there are not too many artists willing to challenge one of the oldest mediums. Even though, egg tempera painting consists of three simple ingredients: powdered pigments, water, and egg yolk, the challenge for me is to understand the ultimate effect of dozens of layers and interaction of colours that build up an image. It is a slow and linear medium which requires a lot of patience. With a rich range of possibilities, my challenge is in finding a way to express myself.
arranged with visits to Ukraine or other neighbouring countries. I see this as an opportunity to look back, learn and analyse the interplay of ethnic and geographical influences. This is my chance to reconnect with familiar people, places, and objects so I can find continuity within myself.
Could you tell us about your time growing up in Soviet Russia? I experienced a difficult past growing up in a Moscow orphanage. As a child, I saw the world differently, not relying on the generally accepted norms and conventions. From early on, I belonged to a large group of children, whose parents decided to leave their kids behind, or in some cases, the government decided to take the rights away from a parent who did not represent a “role model.” Small numbers of children were “physical orphans,” but most of us in this school were “social orphans” with our parents still alive. The Soviet orphanages were built to protect, educate and help children without parents be ready for life outside of their walls. At the same time, these walls created not only a physical but also a mental border with the rejection of us in the surrounding society. Many, many memories and painful experiences that accompanied this time certainly shaped my paintings today, as I struggled for years to break free from my past. Therefore, I see my paintings as not just a way to make images, but as a metaphor to interpret my past. All my search for answers within my paintings are deeply personal.
How has your life changed since you moved to New Mexico, United States? Moving to New Mexico turned my life into a beautiful journey that is filled with challenges and excitement. Honestly, I had no expectations. Learning a way to adapt and deal with the unexpected in a new cultural setting was quite a challenge. Today I understand that it was a time to allow for learning more about myself. Art is all about communication. When I came to America, I had some limitation in language and expressing myself on an everyday basis. I took my first drawing class at the local community college as a way to communicate. It was then when I first truly felt like I was capable of anything! I was trying to capture through the language of art things that I saw and felt… In the form of art, I aimed to attempt to translate and express the unknown… I quickly realised that art was my true calling. Shortly afterwards I was admitted to the University of New Mexico, which was my home for both undergraduate and graduate studies. With my husband’s support and great professors who I had a chance to learn from and who had a profound effect upon my creative vision, I have had a chance to express and share my story that I could not express in any other way. For me, art is an expression made visible by a form.
Do you go back to Russia often? I travel to Russian every two to three years as time allows. My trips are usually 35
Would you say that your iconography work is a hybrid of traditional and contemporary art? I do consider my work a hybrid which fuses traditional tenacity with experimentations of abstraction. My admiration of icons in its technical construction, flatness, and symbols was adopted to communicate a sense of urgency and necessity further. I like to use my intuition and improvise in all aspects of art making. We often prefer the comfort of the known, yet the creative process demands change. I want to confront my issues and create a vision that feels somewhat unfamiliar to the viewer. For the most part, I want to slow down the process of discovery in my paintings and simply suggest ideas in a less obvious way to allow for vast possibilities of thinking about art.
I was fortunate to start my education in New Mexico at a community college and giving back to the community nourishes my craving to help others succeed. Today I am a teacher and a practising artist. I teach studio art courses at the University of New Mexico Valencia campus, which has brought me full circle in my commitment to help others. But in all honesty, art is what really gets me going and eager to create something of my own. And not only does it inspire, but it makes me happy, satisfied, curious, and stimulated. END
Is there an artist that has had the most influence on you creatively? I am a bit old-fashioned in my artistic preferences. To this day, my greatest interest and engagement remains in Medieval art. I am attracted to the linear rhythms and decorative massings of sumptuous flat colour, free-floating forms and simplification. My heroes are Vrubel, Picabia, and Malevich, to name just a few. I am also influenced and have found a common bond with a number of contemporary artists, such as Gerhard Richter and Wangechi Mutu, who both fuse representation and abstraction together in their works. What does the future hold in store for Julia? I make art for a few reasons: first, I want to resonate with life as I see it so that I can express my experience as a human. Secondly, I want to influence and motivate others to be honest with themselves and learn how to create works with meaning.
NICOLAS VIONNET nicolasvionnet.ch
Living and working from the Zurich area, artist Nicolas Vionnet has a more subtle approach to art. Shying away from large scale, loud and colourful pieces, he prefers smaller, more integrated projects. Especially if they include the environment and blend into their surroundings. His primary medium is acrylic on canvas, playing with space and expanse, his paintings have more in common with abstract images than real landscapes. He often adorns disruptive grey strips across his clouds and allows colours to drip down the canvas, reflecting the laws of gravity. He graduated from the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel. He graduated in 2009 from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar with a Master of Fine Arts degree after studying on the university’s Public Art and New Artistic Strategies programme. Vionnet has participated in various exhibitions at home and abroad since 1999, including 5th Odessa Biennale of Contemporary Art (UKR), 4th Aarhus Biennial Exhibition Sculpture by the Sea (DEN), III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (RUS), The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum (GBR), Städtische Galerie Kubus Hannover (GER), Alpines Museum der Schweiz Bern (CHE).
Above: Part-Time Beekeeper, Bee Smoker, Fire Extinguisher hose and Horn, 18 x 48 x 30cm, 2018
Above: Trophies, Oil on Unprimed Canvas, Taxidermy Pigeon
Above: Câ&#x20AC;&#x2122;era una volta il West, Electric Hotplates, Flute Kettles (Stainless Steel) Water, Automatic Timers, 75 x 120 x 40cm
STEELE WALSTON steelewalston.com
Based in Portland, Oregon, artist Steele Walston is a visual artist focussing on portraiture. Working almost exclusively with alcohol based marker ink, he explores its versatility as a medium in his pieces, experimenting with materials and process, using different focal points to direct emphasis on his subjects. Speaking of subjects, Steele often works with people he has a personal relationship with, each one offering a unique process in the photography and drawing process. Not shy to work outside his comfort zone, he has been playing with layering and washing his projects with colour at various stages of the creative process. Inspired by Japanese manga and its consistency growing up, he also balances his creative side with being a Web Developer.
Above: Storm Warning, Marker Ink, White Charcoal, Graphite, 9”x11”, 2018
Above: Delta, Marker Ink, Gold Enamel, Graphite, 22”x30”, 2016
Above: Tundra, Marker Ink, Gold Enamel, Graphite, 15”x22”, 2017
DAVID BEERI davidbeeri.com
For more than four decades, artist David Beeri has focused his energy and creativity on his art. Having escaped the Hungarian version of Communism, David left his homeland with his family while expecting their second child, returning later after the fall of the Communist regime. As the years passed, his family grew and he now boasts eight extremely talented children. What has remained constant is his relentless drive and passion for the arts. This often took the shape of literature and poetry. We had a conversation with David where he discussed various topics such as the role of light and colour and the importance of an uninhibited conscience. How vital a role does light and colour play in your art? From a traditional point of view, they have no role in my art. The relations between light and shadow in my paintings, as well as the luminance of the colours, do not come from sunlight but from a kind of Light which has been unknown in the history of arts so far. Originating from a world beyond time, this light finds its way to my canvas and forms heavenly colours – and as a result of its spiritual metamorphosis, a seemingly close but unreachable picturesque world appears. In this respect, light and colours play the most critical role in my art. Do you think an artist’s catalogue of work is a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be put together? In case of artists originating from the genuine source and born with significant
talent: yes. They possess “something” which is hard to define, which finds its way through all their works like a spiritual “bloodline”, and which does not allow their art to fall into pieces due to the continuous changes resulting from their development. It is something like a physical or spiritual bloodline, which joins and by this unites physical or spiritual families growing exponentially, regardless of the distance which can be found between them in space and in time. In arts, it can be seen as a stylistic symbol, which makes it easier to put the “parts of the puzzle” together. The history of arts is also connected by this indestructible “bloodline” originating from the genuine source, as well as it allows a healthy historical development of arts from ancient arts to the avant-garde.
Above: Two Apples, Oil on Canvas, 32” x 24”, 2005
Above: Peace-Bird, Graphite on Fine Art Paper, 30” x 22”, 2017
Do you think an uninhibited conscience is vital to explore one’s artistic limits? Absolutely vital! A gifted artist does not only have a mind but a soul and a communicative spirit as well; by means of a coordinated and collective work of all these the artist may be able to blossom out. The mind is therefore not enough on its own to deploy all the available artistic skills fully. In this respect, the soulless “works of art” inspired by the mind only, are all unfounded and cannot be more than dead thoughts “splashed” onto the canvas in disrespect of art and its audience. All in all, talent can unfold in the works of a real artist by means of the harmonious work between the free-flying soul and spirit. Thus, if the “enthroned” mind continues to reign, the so-called “WORLD ART”, which is without emotions, conscience, spirit, moral and love, will reach completeness; and this kind of art is only good for one reason: to serve as a boldfaced representative of the “Concept of the New World”, a concept born in darkness against values and life, and by this to put THE TRUTH BEHIND ART to silence forever. What message are you trying to convey through your work? I can answer this question with a picture divided into different eras. At the beginning of my career as a painter I was mainly painting genre paintings from my surroundings, and I was looking for answers on my canvases for the deeply rooted integrational problems of disadvantaged minority groups. Following this, I tried to lead the world that was lost in a spiritual dead-end, to a right direction with a series of visions of the global future, full of tragedy; until everything changed in my art due to an extraordinary “dream”.
a kind of artistic world appeared on my canvases which had so far been unknown in the history of arts. From the outside, it seems similar to the earthly realm, but it is not earthly and does not represent earthly things. With the convincing power of purity, it propagates justice, goodness and love, and calls us for reconciliation with God. You’ve been a professional artist for nearly forty years now, is there a decade that stands out more than others? One of such decades was between 1985 and 1995. It started with racist and political persecution, as a result of which I had to flee communist Hungary together with my family. The upcoming years were spent in the “hospitality” of the fascism-resembling, at that time West-German refugee camps. Later on, we settled back to Hungary where democracy started, but soon we realised that the state institutions disguised as “democratic” were still governed by ex-communists who were working from behind democracy and who were pleased to hear about our return. For us this meant that our persecution was about to continue, not in the open, communist way as it had been before the change of the regime, but with the methods of a “SHADOW-COMMUNISM” operating according to secret policies and fully equipped with anger and hatred. This decade was characterised by the painful experience of persecutions, during which I had to fight heroically for the protection and financial support of my rapidly expanding family and for the sustainment of a new artistic world.
A few years after, I experienced a significant change again and parallel to this my messages also changed in a hundred and eighty degrees. As a matter of fact, 49
Above: Bird, Acrylic on Canvas, 28” x 28”, 2013 Could you tell us a bit about your personal experience with Socialist Realism? Of course! Even before becoming a professional artist I could realise that my actions cannot be successful in socialist Hungary. I was recognised as an extraordinary talent, but all my applications for art scholarships or other kinds of support were rejected without any explanations. The same process continued even after becoming a professional artist. For a long time, I did not understand this, but one day the official representatives of the Social Realism “visited” me in person and ordered me – accompanied with severe imprecation and threat – to “stop painting as I stand in their way which they cannot stand any more”.
police, based on fictitious accusations. It soon turned out, that even the police could not stop me; this made them even more wrathful, and they decided to turn “the case” over to the dreaded Bureau of State Protection. From this time on, not only my art but also my life was in danger. The “lights” of Socialist Realism faded away several years ago in Hungary, but its peculiar shadow is still present and its sting concealed into transparency made me leave my country again, after thirty years… How does David like his coffee? Light Nescafe by adding some cappuccino powder to it, which I sweeten by some natural sweetener and smoothen its colour and force with one sip of low-fat milk. END
When they realised my being disobedient, they issued a prosecution against me at the 50
Above: Beauty, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 16”, 2013
CHO, HUI CHIN chin.art
A poster child of multiculturalism, artist Cho, Hui-Chin did not shy away from exploring the plethora of influences she was exposed to as a child. From her Taiwanese ethnicity, deep influences surrounding Japanese culture and Manga and traditional Chinese aesthetics have all played a part in shaping her artistic narrative. Her works are an experimentation of the relationship between life and death and its binary opposition. In our conversation with her we talk about finding a balance between productivity and travel and her childhood among other topics. Could you tell us a bit about your childhood growing up in Taiwan? I was raised in a multicultural environment - Taiwan, which is the fusion surrounded by Japanese anime and manga culture and Chinese aesthetics, until I finished my high school; afterward I headed to the UK; I have always been grateful for being supported to be an artist by my parents even though they hoped I could be a doctor because reading medicine was like a tradition of my family. But I am not ‘always’ sticking on painting. I very often do 50% painting and 50% sculpture. In my first-year and second-year at Slade School of Fine Art, I was doing the reference related to media, such as video games, codings or videos; then I went back to do painting and sculpture in my third year while I do consider that the sense of
achievement can be uncovered in my concrete artworks. I think it is quite crucial to have the liberal attitude toward experimenting with materials and references. Cultures in the east are traditionally conservative, what has the reaction to your themes of intimacy, unconscious desires and sexuality been? That is quite interesting saying that cultures are traditionally conservative; in a way, I am not very often find it conservative, I would say that culture in the east could tend to be ‘suppressed’ in my point of view whilst I have been trying to absolve such stereotypes from my own culture, and to build the fusion of my own cultures and the experience of being educated in west.
Besides this, materiality with animal by-products such as leather forming parts of the composition is a pivotal aspect of my work, and I very often tend to use the materials which could be associated with ‘life once lived’ as the responses to my idea of ‘the sugar-coated fact’ composing of the animal skin as the mask; with the sensitive curiosity, I have been researching and exploring the subject matter related to the existence between life and death. Consequently, the idea of ‘humanities’, ‘intimacies’ and ‘desires’ has happened, which is merged with my cultures and educational backgrounds.
being deconstructed whilst the behaviour of viewers who are thinking the arrangements of the works as a process is the action of deconstruction too!
What have you been working on since we last spoke? I have been working on collecting/searching the vintage/antique leathers as the crucial materials. Materiality is an essential aspect in my works with animal by-products such as leather forming parts of the configurations, symbolising creatures as life which once existed namely the ambiguous existences in between life and death. However, I came across a few controversial questions doubting me that “would ‘using leathers’ encourage people to manufacture more brand-new leathers?” Absolutely I’m very much against the idea of using brand-new leathers/furs by hurting the innocent animals. This is why I insist on spending times collecting and using ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ leathers/furs, which were sacrificed during the period of the 1920s - 1960s, as the primary materials in my works.
Where are you currently based in the world? I would love to tell viewers that I will not be based in one city for a long time. From the end of 2018 to the beginning of 2019 I would be staying in Taiwan; afterwards, I will be heading to Japan for four months to have my exhibitions and artist-in-residence. Then I will be back to London and continue my MA education; consequently, my studio will be kept moving around the world with the changes in my schedule. Is travelling a source of inspiration for you? Travelling could be the nutrients to me. As I mentioned above: ‘working/living around various cities is an auspicious evocation of imaginations’ to me. For example, once I stayed in Italy for approximately 4 weeks while I was doing an artist-residency; after coming back from Rome, Venice and Florence, I have done a variety of putti (known as the little nude babies) as my subject matter.
You tend to incorporate wood board in a lot of your pieces, Where do you source this from? Using wood boards is closely related to my idea of using leathers as my references/ materials since they were ‘creatures’ before and I find such materials provoking to me. The initial source of both the references In my most recent works, I have been using wood and leather - were living; the vintage leathers as the canvas which is however, with the development of considered as a concrete space or could be materiality, it seems like people ignore the deconstructed into the metaphor of value of time buried behind such materials; zooming in the figurative iconography as people might consider them as pure the skin. And the intention of my most products rather than the evidence of recent works is to create the perception of specific being that once lived. ‘a dream within a dream’ which means that the patterns and images are being deconstructed on the leather which is
What was the inspiration behind your piece titled ‘21st Century Putti’? Surroundings sometimes influence the way how my works look like. In 2017 in the trip of staying Rome was the nutrients of ‘21st Century Putti’. During the time staying in Italy, I was obsessed with the depiction - Putto who was a naked infant; at first glance, I could not tell the little dolls’ gender (although generally speaking people tend to consider them as little boys) whilst I found it the idea of everything being ambiguous fascinated me and I have the predilection for baby figures.
inspiration in the spiritual world rather than the real cities around the world. This question reminds me the performing by Bruce Nauman ‘Square Dance’: “If I was an artist, and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art.”. What does the rest of the year have in store for you? I have a few upcoming shows in 2019 which i am excited about. If you are interested please visit my website and social media for dates. END
I do enjoy the subject matter of ‘ambiguity’, and I reckon it is because cultural background - being educated in both Asia and the UK; one of my grandmothers was Dutch; one of my grandfathers was Chinese; I was educated mainly in the UK; I am falling in love with a Japanese person. So to speak, my life/ my works would be a real example of an ambiguous fusion which cannot be told by only one description. The main concept of ‘21st Century Putti’ presented as the iconography of the baby is the ‘reincarnation’ while babies as ambiguous creatures in between life and death during the circle of being a human with the same soul, but I would not consider this work is particularly religious. A composer has collected the sculpture ‘21st Century Putti’ in the UK during my Slade degree show, and absolutely I am glad that my collector could feel the same thing from my work. Could you tell us one favourite place you draw inspiration from in three cities around the world that you frequent? It really depends. Staying in the three different studios in London, Tokyo or Taipei help galvanise a variety of inspirations to me; the cultures are distinctive and refreshing. Very often I uncover my 56
PARUL VERMA parulbouvart.com
For her recent series titled ‘Salle de Jeux’ and ‘Bon Voyage’, artist Parul VermaI incorporate the mandala design which has become part of today’s pop culture. Every single person from old to young is painting, printing and colouring to express their inner psyche. To celebrate the culture that she was born with in India, She has cross-stitched her ideas with the design of the henna tattoo. Her love of henna and her inner psyche helped her to colour the canvas or the piece of paper in her moods. Inspired from ancient Indian and Chinese spiritual representational art, she uses insignificant patterns to create a visual vertigo of her thoughts. This pattern is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. In common use, “mandala” has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe and she uses it as a motif in her drawings as if it is also related to the monotony of regular chores.
FRANCESCA BUSCA francescabusca.com
Philosophy and art share many parallels, both aim to provoke dialogue within the viewer. Questioning our beliefs and shaping them. Artist Francesca Busca strongly believes that art has a deeper purpose, using her craft to convey a message, as strongly as her creative and technical abilities will allow. Focussing on social and environmental issues, Francesca is haunted by the idea of humankind’s imminent self-destruction. There’s only so much that uncontrolled consumerism and its resulting contamination and pollution that one tiny planet can take. Yet, she believes we have hope in the form of rethinking and repurposing. Combining discarded materials with traditional mediums, she plays with colours and textures in her pieces. Her goal is to change the way we view rubbish and look at it as a valuable resource, constantly pushing the limits of the repurposed materials she incorporates. With a true passion for mosaic, she strives to show the beauty and significance of each material used. How important is it for you that art provokes a response from the viewer? Very much so – it is the purpose of everything I do. To me, art is a message, a provocation to the viewer. It has to be reciprocal: unleashing the burden of my obsessive thoughts by expressing them to the viewer, and the viewer seizing the provocation and engaging with them. If either one of these two aspects is missing, I feel like I failed my purpose and my artwork becomes either merely decorative or worthless…given that I mainly use rubbish for my pieces, I guess it would probably be the latter!
How do you think we can bring about a fundamental change with regards to humanity’s perception of rubbish? Well, every little helps. I try to raise environmental awareness both in my daily behaviour and in my artwork, regardless of the main message each piece conveys, by making them almost entirely with rubbish. I am hoping this is a way to make people “re-think, re-use, re-purpose and reduce”. Is it really worth throwing all these things away? Could they not be reused rather than replaced? Plastic is a fantastic invention, but should it not be limited to uses such as essential parts of medical equipment or engineering works? How did people live before plastic came to be? There are so many alternatives to disposable plastic, have we forgotten them all? My children 62
Above: BeeHiVis, 2017 Mixed Media: Plastic, Metal and Mother-of-Pearl, 36 x 45 x 15cm, 90% Reused Material: Discarded Actimel Bottles and Old Buttons.
Above: Canary Dwharf, 2017, Installation: Metal and Plastic, 100 x 100 x 50cm, 100% Reused Discarded Material From the Canary Wharf New District Building Site, London.
and I often challenge each other in finding better, alternative ways to reduce our carbon footprint in every little thing we do. It is fun and rewarding. We then try to adopt the same attitude outside our home and try to engage others as much as we can. I just love it when friends bring me part of their rubbish which they selected and kept aside for me: I feel extremely grateful, and I also get immense satisfaction by the way I feel I have changed their perception of these items, which suddenly acquire a precious meaning and deserve to be saved. Also, working with rubbish is very challenging: not only I have to make do with what I have (and often wait for months to gather the right amount), but I am also left with a range of limited quality of textures, colours and dimensions. I have to constantly think on my feet on how to adapt and attach the material. I truly enjoy the challenge of working with limited resources: buying new, purpose-made material would not give me nearly half the satisfaction! Do you think it’s because we view our planet as an endless source of resources? I think that excessive individualism has detached humankind from the ecosystem so much that instead of feeling a part of it, it feels like we own it. This might be why we are currently leading a disposable life, where our transports pollute much more than our mere breathing, eggs are sold boiled and out of their shell in plastic packaging to save us 10 minutes, coffee is served on the go in disposable cups to satisfy an immediate whim, parties often end in an endless cemetery of empty plastic containers, and creatures are slaughtered each second to provide us with meat way beyond our needs. This is obviously unrealistic and can lead to dangerous consequences: it is now becoming apparent on our beaches, oceans, streets and windowsills. What’s worse is that we are poisoning our bodies
too, through inhalation and ingestion. What stuns me is that, albeit we have all been aware of this for a long time, we still find it so hard to give up our comfortable daily routines and risk extinction rather than try to correct the problem and grant a better future to our children, if indeed, any at all! When did you first start experimenting with mosaics? It was in August 2015, after visiting the amazing Aquileia in Italy (again after decades!), its beautiful mosaics and its little souvenir shop. I brought home the biggest kit of marble stones available to recreate one of the formidable mosaic images in its Basilica, namely the “Pavoncelle” (Lapwings). But I needed the tools: so I rushed to Spilimbergo to get them and discovered that the School of Mosaic was open to the public. I entered: a whole new world of wonders opened up. Back home, I spent five days completely absorbed in that piece. By the end of this experience, I was addicted! I wanted to learn how to do it properly. I found a delightful place in London, Southbank Mosaics where I did a few courses. I then attended various courses at Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli in Spilimbergo (Italy) and Turkey. I am now attending the mosaic diploma at the London School of Mosaic, where I also hold a shared studio. I am then planning to study contemporary art and its application in the public sphere, mainly as a social practice. Could you tell us a bit about your Payment in Kind(ness) initiative? At my recent Solo exhibition in Kensington, “Little Things”, I launched the “Payment in Kind(ness)” initiative. The spirit of the exhibition was to foster the public’s attention to Little Things which would help the environment, and as an incentive to Re-thinking, Re-using and Re-purposing, I started accepting Little Things like a “Payment in Kind(ness)” 65
towards my artworks on sale. Ironically, the exhibition was censored within the first week as found to be “too controversial” by some of the estate residents (which means I am doing something right…hopefully being provocative without being deliberately offensive). If you are interested in it, please do have a look at my website (www.francescabusca.com) as not only it is running through the end of the year, but I am contemplating carrying it forward. It is extremely rewarding to make a difference by doing what I love! We believe you have participated in over 60 art exhibitions throughout your career, what in your opinion is the most challenging part of exhibiting? If the pieces are going abroad outside the EU, dealing with customs can be nerve wrecking. On a couple of occasions, I ended up by having to pay a considerable amount of money (which did not have to be paid) just to have them released and still with the risk of not arriving in time for the exhibition. Otherwise, advertising solo exhibitions and choosing the right pool when doing a collective. Overall though, they all add up to experience! Do you have any (advice for) artists that might be looking to exhibit for the first time? My advice would be to have clear in mind what the purpose is for exhibiting: selling pieces, or getting known? Is it more important to monetise or to communicate? Unfortunately, the two markets are quite different, and so are the exhibitions, both with regard to the pool of artists exhibiting and the crowd attending: the wrong venue could end up as a loss of time and money.
time. Climbing and bouldering take me to a different dimension. A nice glass of wine in good company does wonders too. But unwinding really only happens when I get to immerse myself in nature, observing animals, plants and trees. I particularly enjoy observing my mum’s wild pets: her chicken. They roam free between the garden and the woods, and they stay with her by choice. Some of them also accept to be petted or are very curious about us, and it is a fascinating experience to interact with them. It makes you realise how many different ways there are to communicate which do not involve the formulation of words but are rather made of sounds, silence and gestures. It makes you believe in a universal language, which understanding we probably lost long before the agricultural revolution. But I believe animals and plants still use it. It appeases my anxieties and makes me stop wondering about man’s eternally unsettling philosophical question about the purpose of life, and yet I feel it gets me closer to it. These are the only moments where I feel I am truly savouring the present, the here and now. Time loses importance. I lose importance. It feels good. END
What does Francesca do to unwind after a long day in the studio? Not half as much as what I would like to do! I mainly taxi my children around and attend to their needs - I try to make sure that weekends are devoted 100% to family 66
Above: Like Me!, 2017, Mosaic and Mixed Media: Fabric, Metal, Mirror and Plastic on Thin Metal Board, 20 x 31cm, 98% Reused Rubbish.
MARISA PILO marisapilo.com
A multi-disciplinary artist, Marisa Pilo is based in the beautiful coastal town of Nazaré in Portugal with a close relationship with photography and sculpture. Her most recent work titled ‘Inside Out’, explores the importance of the relationship between the viewer and their initial expressions of the external elements of a piece of art, by incorporating aspects of the inside, often invisible part, Marisa uses projected light that crosses layers of wood, drawing the attention of the viewers, thereby combining the various strata in one experience. She has exhibited both nationally in Portugal and across North America.
Above: Picos do Barroco, 2017, Tubes and Iron plate, Variables Dimensions Between 5 to 10 meters
Above: Inside Out, 2017, Wood and Light, 170 x190 x 100cm
Above: Movement, Reflex ‘N7’, 2013,Serie of 8 photos - Movement ‘Reflex’ Digital Format
mennovospaintings.com Travelling has a wonderful way of opening one’s eyes and mind to a whole new way of thinking. A wide array of cultures, food, people, landscapes and art can change the way you perceive the world and give new meaning to your daily lives. Artist Menno Vos knows the feeling of wanderlust too well. During their travels around the world which lasted for thirty years, Menno documented everything around him through photography, focussing on composition. This led to a stock bureau of images with his partner. His images were published in more than ten travel magazines in the Netherlands. Then, in 2012 after taking a workshop, driven by fascination with abstract painting, a new passion was born! Always painting from his heart, he started with acrylic and ink, using bold colours with plenty of depth and emotion, his pieces captures the essence of his travels, of how people live their lives everyday. How did the transition from photography to abstract painter happen? My art started with photography and my love for travel. While travelling, I would photograph everything that I saw, focusing on the composition of the image. In that time my photos were published in several Dutch travel magazines. Some years ago we (my wife and I) bought two abstract paintings for our new home. We are very interested in art and kept in touch with the painter. He invited me to try abstract painting. First I didn’t like it so much, because I was not used to “let go” and listen to my heart instead of my head. But after a few workshops I became very enthusiastic, and now it is my great passion.
Would you say that you are more in tune with your surroundings, absorbing everything around you, especially when you travel? Yes, I think that is true. When I travel I forget about work and all the usual things you have to do when you are at home. I am very interested in people, in other cultures, nature, so my focus is indeed more at my surroundings. Life seems more intense during the travels. For a generation that’s obsessed with their phones, that must feel like an unusual concept? It does. Nowadays it seems impossible to live without a phone. And I notice that during work time I have to adapt to that. 72
Above: Morning has broken, 100 x 70cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2016
But when I travel I forget about my phone. I don’t want to be dictated by all emails, phone calls, etc.. It is easy to do, I don’t feel guilty being not directly “available”. The same when I am painting in my studio. I forget about everything. Just focus on my feelings, the images I see in my mind and the painting in front of me. Do you still dabble in photography? Yes, I love photography! I always have my camera with me. I am keen on excellent compositions, details, colours, but also, special occasions. We have a lot of photos of all the things we do and experience in life. We love the use of colour in your work, how important is that aspect of your art to you? Very important. Although I also made some paintings with a few colours or only back. That is more to challenge myself to create something new. But I prefer colours. I think it is because I am an optimistic person. I love life and colours make me happy. It is nice to experience with new colours and add them together to see what the result is.
Are you your most prominent critic? Yes. The painting I am working on must be the best I made up till then. And it must be the best I cán make. Why should I show it to the public, when I am not satisfied myself? I must feel that the best of me is in that painting. What was the last piece of cinema that Menno watched that moved him? Discovery of Heaven. Because that movie shows that coincidence does not exist. You can try to make the most of your life, but some things happen that you could not foresee or never thought they would happen. Just like me: I never thought I would become an abstract painter, but it happened, and I am very happy with that! END
How do you keep yourself motivated artistically? I don’t have to do much to be artistically motivated. I always am! Sometimes I don’t know how to continue with a painting. Then I put it away for some time. And after a while, I know how to finish it! But that is not that I am not motivated. I always look forward to going to my studio and painting. I now and then visit a museum or read an art-magazine. That inspires me. Or give myself an “order” for example to make a painting with only two colours. Then see what happens. And during my travels, I don’t paint, but when I am back home, I have a lot of ideas to work out.
Above: Passional passion, 100 x 100cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2016
IRENA ORLOV irenaorlov.com
As an artist, it is not uncommon to try a plethora of mediums to find one that works for you. If anything, it is vital that one explores multiple options. You might start with acrylic and work your way to watercolours and oil. Los Angeles based artist Irena Orlov switches mediums on a regular basis. Using her emotions and mood as a driving force in her work, she views art as a tool to express herself, not to be limited by one process. Infusing her work with spirit and energy the moment she creates it. Her contemporary, yet familiar pieces are bursting with colour and emotion. She often thinks of herself as a craftsman, constructing, or interpreting imagery and messages from her conscious and subconscious mind.
LISA KRULASIK lisakrulasik.com
Starting your own business is never easy, once you have made the decision to go against the grain and carve your own niche there is a whole array of obstacles that seem to present themselves. But once you have overcome those dark nights when you question every moment the rewards can be plentiful. New York based artist Lisa Krulasik, graduated earlier this year from the Gemological Institute of America, is no stranger to CreativPaper. Having known her for a while, her compassion for animals and unique vision have impressed us from day one. This year, Lisa has been focussing on launching her online store. A daunting task for anyone. In our conversation with her she talks about the unique challenges she has faced moving her business forward, her fascination with organic forms and not forgetting, her ever growing collection of pets. Congratulations on graduating from the Gemological Institute of America earlier this year, how did that feel? Thank you so much! After eight months of living and breathing diamonds and coloured stones, graduation day felt so surreal. I almost couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe it when my name was called, and I walked up to receive my diploma. I am so grateful and proud that I went through the Graduate Gemologist program at GIA. The people I met and the knowledge I absorbed is priceless. You are working towards launching an online store for your work, what has that process been like? It has been an eye-opening and character building experience. The process of starting your own business is one of the hardest yet most accomplishing things one can do in my opinion. I have always dreamed about
having something that I created to be in the homes of other people. Now with social media and the Internet being so readily available, being able to connect with millions of people at the drop of a hat is possible, the opportunity is there for you to exhibit what you have to offer. From drafting up an idea to photographing, to making the final product and everything in between, I am a one-woman show. Since I want certain pieces to be wildly available, I make each original piece by hand then use those as models to be moulded and cast in metals like sterling silver and 18k yellow gold. This way each piece is more affordable/ accessible to everyone and retains its unique presence since I will hand finish each one. I will also continue to have pieces that are one of a kind, which are personally my favourite kinds to make. 82
Will we be seeing a selection of bespoke and widely available pieces? Yes! My goal is to continue to make a wide selection of unique, one of a kind pieces as well as pieces that will be available to the masses. Every single piece will be made to order start to finish.
ones that I draw intuitively. They are very amorphic and at times remind me of shapes you would see when you look at cells under a microscope. Similar shapes have appeared in my previous collections, especially my latest collection Wzór.
How important is reinvention to you as an artist? For those artists who might be contemplating setting up an online store, Reinvention is constantly on my mind when I am creating a new collection, it is do you have any words of advice? important to challenge the way you think Do your research, majorly value the people and look at your work, but at the same you work with, and do everything you can time, I enjoy when the pieces have a to stay on top of deadlines. There are so common language and can relate to one many things you learn along the way, and you cannot expect everything always to go another. I guess that’s what an artist’s personal “style” is and it is nice for me to smoothly. You will likely run into many have a few visual anchors to keep coming problems along the way, but that will only back too. teach you what you can improve on you have to make mistakes to move forward. Follow your passion whatever it may be and What brings Lisa joy at the end of the day? never give up!! Being surrounded by my extensive animal You recently added an adorable Jackson family, my human family, my closest friends and working on pieces I am truly passionate chameleon to your lovely family of pets. about brings me so much joy and helps me Could you tell us a bit about Marsha? push through no matter what I am dealing Marsha is a sassy and shy little lady. We adopted her when she was about 1 ½ years with in life. Huge thank you to all of those old. She came from a home where she was amazing individuals! END unfortunately not given the proper care and then was fostered by an amazing couple, Jillian and Alec in Cape Cod, Massachusetts until we were able to bring her home (follow them @elvisthecham314 on Instagram!). Jillian and Alec are crazy reptile lovers just like I am and were the absolute best to Marsha. Since Marsha joined the family in August, she has been warming up to interactions with people and hanging out with me every day. Her favourite thing to do is to climb on top of my head, especially when I have my hair in a bun, and just hang out on there taking in everything around her like the little queen she is. Are there any organic shapes that you are drawn towards at the moment? The organic shapes I am drawn to are the 85
JORIS GRAAF jorisgraaf.nl
Born in The Hague in 1980, artist Joris Graaf is a self-taught Dutch visual artist. Combining painting and photography, his monochromatic and abstract work has been described as experimental, brooding minimalism. As a child he travelled extensively with his family due to his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s profession. By the age of nine he had already lived in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore before moving back to the Netherlands. After finishing high school he studied Geology in Amsterdam and worked in the industry for over a decade. Growing up in a musically inclined family, Joris was not only surrounded by music but also created it, playing guitar in various bands. It is this obsession with music and album art that introduced him to the world of photography and visual art. Looking for a medium for his frustrations at a dark phase in his life, he picked up a camera and the rest is history. Learning by trial and error he has developed a style that is moody and abstract. Relying on multiple exposures and extensive digital manipulation.
Above: De Stilte, Photography, Dimensions Variable, 2018
Above: Zonder Emotie, Photography, Dimensions Variable, 2018
Above: Zonder Gevoel, Photography, Dimensions Variable, 2018
PATRICK JOSSIER patrickjossier.com
What initially started as a career in civil engineering and building, artist Patrick Jossier quickly realised that his passion lay elsewhere. At the age of sixteen he has already expressed an interest in enrolling himself into studying Fine Art. This began a lifelong endeavour. He continued painting and drawing in parallel to his professional career until the seventies. The eighties he started experimenting with oils, eventually moving on to pastels, especially in his landscapes. Through the years that followed Patrick’s work has been moving towards lyrical, atmospheric abstraction and printmaking. This transition between different mediums is a topic of conversation in our interview with him, along with the importance of spirituality and being an artist in the seventies. You’ve worked with multiple mediums through the decades as an artist. Is there one that was more rewarding than others? No, I don’t think any one of them was more rewarding than another. All mediums are exciting in their own way thanks to their various qualities. It is all a matter of what you want to achieve; I usually choose the medium in the moment regarding my aim — whether it’s fluidity, texture, material, rapidity of execution, simplicity, colour/ black and white, format, etc. I can sometimes work fluidly with fine lines with a medium which doesn’t seem to feature those qualities; this way, your freedom in the creative process gets wider. It seems to me that it is the use of pastels which enhanced my spontaneity and drove me to use colour over the years. In another way, it’s acrylic painting and charcoal which
helped bring a more rugged and instinctive feel to my work, in addition to a much more textural approach. In comparison to other mediums, oil painting is more spiritual and using it enables to make matter and ether meet more easily and agrees entirely with my current approach. What are you working on currently? Currently, I’m mainly working on big wooden canvases or cardboards with charcoal and acrylic paint: they lean on a somewhat mystical aesthetic. I was also asked to work on an abstract and very colourful series of work for a client. Some of my works will be shown in big Parisian salons and in an exhibition travelling from Paris to La Baule in 2019. I also sent new canvases to the Galerie O in Evian-lesBains where a few of my works are shown permanently.
Would you say that you are a very spiritual person? Without a doubt! There’s always been this side to my personality. When I was a child and staring at the night sky, my imagination used to set into motion and take me on an initiatic journey. Through these visions, I wandered beyond the notions of time and reality, my relatives by my side on a grand quest for identity. The big question was the starting point to my current artistic process: who am I? and why?
counter-power. The material world is shutting everything away, and spirituality seems limitless, just like the universe. Exploring this dimension reminds us that we are more than just incarnated things; it brings us back to the notions of interconnection, creativity and transcendence.
What is Patrick’s favourite breakfast treat? What an unexpected question! Well, I think a perfect silence, sometimes interrupted by What is your favourite aspect of being an light bird songs, and a breeze blowing in my morning coffee would be a good start. If it artist? can come with toasts coated in sweet and Expressing things without having to say a word: getting closer to our essence — thus peaceful feelings on the side, it would be bringing art to what is, in my opinion, one of the perfect way to begin my daily voyage. its true meanings: a conversation with your END inner self. What was it like to be an artist in the 70’s? Oh! The 70’s; the early stage of my artistic life! I really enjoyed those times, because it felt like a big and open phase of experimentation. It was a time for awareness, and it was overflowing with creativity. That’s one of the things that I really liked about the 70’s; the change in mentalities made Art famous. You’ve also worked with stained glass, what was that like? That’s a wholesome art which requires a lot of skills, such as meticulousness, creativity, inventivity, dexterity and precision. But it is definitely worth it! Glass brings out such a pure and luminous transparency that it is breathtaking. Plus, each and every technique learnt make you a better artist. How important is spirituality to you in this fast-paced world we live in? For me, spirituality is what enables us to take time for ourselves, to reconnect with our true selves and to learn to be in the now. Kind of the contrary to living a hectic life, you know; instead a sort of 92
GINA BROWN ginabrownart.co.uk
As we tumble through the rollercoaster of life we inevitably pick up mementos along the way. These can take the form of both material and inanimate objects. Photographs, souvenirs, emotions and memories all form a catalogue of our lives, defining our very existence. Artist Gina Brown who graduated from Newcastle University in 2012 creates biographical paintings with translucent layers of oil paint and muted colours, drawing her inspiration from postcards from the 1900s and a collection of reclaimed photographs. Using translucent layers of oil paint and muted colours Gina draws her inspiration from postcards from the early 1900â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The process encapsulates nostalgia and emotion while blurring key details, thereby making it her own. Gina had a chat with us about sourcing her inspiration, the beauty of nostalgia and her jewellery line among other topics. Would you say your work aims to decode your subject matter? Adding narrative and peeling the layers away? Central to my work is the spirit of a portrait, the interior scene, or the still life. Figurative and domestic scenes create a narrative of memories that portray nostalgic ideas of familiarity and illusions of intimacy. This is a translation of my source material; the old photos and postcards I collect, but also the scenes and arrangements that I partly imagine. Within my work, melancholic themes accentuate a haunting ambivalence which is both intriguing and unsettling. In order for people to engage with my paintings, I aim to redirect the viewersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; thoughts and feelings, to extract layers of narrative that they feel a connection with. My work has a strong sense of family, nostalgia, and most importantly; belonging. I like to push the ambiguity of biographical
work and perhaps make the viewer feel that they too are looking at their own family pictures. This emotional interaction is essential to my work. Where do you find your source material? I love to rummage through car boot fairs, antique shops, and flea markets, and I admit I am an eBay addict! I buy photo lots, postcards and snapshots that are intriguing; things I feel attached to. I simply love collecting; commercial ephemera, such as the Edwardian actresses, and my own family photos are also a significant resource. My work has developed into biographical themes, blurring the line between what is my own and that which I have acquired from people unknown. I am constantly rearranging things around my home as props that could indirectly inform my next painting.
As a painter I think it is important to use my source material in the right way; I am not simply copying the photo, it is a process of translation. Drawing provides an essential link during this process where I find what will work effectively as a painting. I also work from life, with still life studies and outdoor drawings, to mesh together and build the narrative of past and present.
I am a bit of a romanticist. I tend to dwell on the past and indulge in excessive sentimentality in my search for belonging. I’ve never felt like I belonged, both in time and place and so I see the images I collect as figments of myself, which ultimately informs my painting practice.
Could you tell us a bit more about your jewellery line? What is it about nostalgia that makes it a Yes, of course, I think as a painter I feel strongly about being a painter. But I also multi-sensory experience? want my work to be accessible in a way Nostalgia might be seen as ‘twee’ within the arts like it’s not serious enough, and yet that is authentic to my practice, and I have enjoyed branching into other disciplines it is an integral part our identity, it and creating a jewellery collection. But this resonates with who we are, and where we collection is not about the piece of metal feel we belong. A scent, taste, piece of music or faded photograph is all we need to that sets the artwork; it is about the artwork. Seeing someone wear a piece of reminisce and take our minds to my jewellery or rather, a piece of my art, is another time and place. We have a incredibly rewarding. The jewellery is compulsion to collect keepsakes and referenced from a particular collection of mementoes as a powerful means of possession so that we feel we belong to my work; the Edwardian stage beauties. something. 96
Each painting is framed with an antique frame, so each is individually unique, and it is this process of decorating a finished work for a particular setting that led me to make the jewellery. They seemed fitting as covetable little pieces of art that you wear upon your person and also as an adaptation of the cameo. I try to find vintage costume pieces that I can reset with my artwork to create that mix of old and new; the process of translation and reclamation. Do you think it is important to keep your options open as a modern artist? I think it is important because there are many disciplines within contemporary art which makes it more accessible to the broader public, and if you can relate to or collaborate with another, then you are open to many more opportunities. On the other hand, you must represent yourself consistently and without confusion as to what it is you do.
There is nothing more potent than people talking about your work whether they love it or hate it. Being an artist, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to simply blend into the background. Regarding style and subject matter many people find my work unsettling and eery. I realise a faceless portrait is not for everyone but I love this, and I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t paint a face in to appeal to a bigger audience, for it would disarm its character and spirit. As a painter, I am a solitary artist, but I am extremely interested in interiors, arts and heritage, and perhaps the possibilities of how as a painter I could collaborate within this arena. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always liked the idea of painting for a specific heritage site, to respond to the spirit of a place, opposed to a gallery setting. Ultimately the greatest reward of being an artist is creation and communication. I am a painter and will always be a painter, but I am an artist too. Keeping my options open I think is with the ability to adapt to other projects
colours. Just perfect. I don’t eat it now; I feel it might be underwhelming and very sickly! Another favourite was rose and lemon Turkish Delight, dusted with icing sugar; it was and still is a Christmas must-have! END
In an age of disposable, ubiquitous social media, how important are tangible formats like photographs and art? It is a throwaway culture we live in. As much as we have to adapt to modern means, I also try to keep a certain distance from it and not get caught up in its fast-paced nature. I become increasingly anxious and stressed when working on a digital platform, whether it be following my own interests and likes, or trying to present myself on social media. I think tangible formats keep things grounded. They are reference points that shape our identity, the things we obtain and possess, either displayed or collected and hidden away. Otherwise, all we see is viewed through a screen, a wash of fleeting online interactions. I have masses of scrapbooks, ephemera, remnants and fragments of things that are more important and powerful because they are reliable and tangible. I fill my home with things that make me happy, make me think and feel. I think art should do that. You must love it, and it must make you feel enriched. Speaking of nostalgia, what was Gina’s favourite candy growing up? Sweets and food in general form part of my most vivid childhood memories. Growing up in the North East of England just outside Newcastle Upon Tyne the highlight of each Summer was when the Hoppings, one of Europe’s largest travelling funfairs, came to the town moor. I quickly developed a taste for Treacle toffee, it was a favourite of my mother’s, and the best toffee came from the Hoppings. I remember tasting Edinburgh rock for the first time, one of those typical souvenirs my grandmother had brought back from one of her day trips. I absolutely loved it! That creamy pastel chalkiness, in ice cream
ALEX CARRILLO (ALEXATI) alexati.net / @alexatipainter
Alex Carrillo (Alexati) had a keen interest in art at an early age. Born in Mexico in 1988, his work offers a unique take in everyday scenarios with a fair dose of theatrics and extravagance thrown in. Glamour, androgyny, eroticism, queer culture and autobiographical themes are recurring themes in his work. The subjects in his pieces are both real and fictional, but what they all share in common is an effeminate side, influenced by the great admiration and appreciation he feels towards the feminine world and the detachment he feels towards the frigid masculine archetypes of society and its fabricated gender norms. Alex also experiments with photography, often trying to re-create the glamour and light hearted atmosphere in his paintings. He has been influenced by artists such as Tamara de Lempicka, Francesco Clemente, Andy Warhol, Elisabeth VigĂŠe Lebrun and photographers such as Guy Bourdin, Chris Von Wangenheim, Helmut Newton and Jean Paul Goude.
JOHN SAILE johnsaile.com
Combining printmaking techniques with painting and photography, artist John Saile incorporates a layered approach with his artistic practice. After photographing settings, drawings and poured imagery, John digitally recomposes them and screen prints them onto paper and canvas. Adding a layer of paint on the substrate before the printing process begins. Not shy in his use of colour, his pieces explore key elements of his memory and his unique perception of the world around him. Currently influenced heavily by abstraction, he studied at the Cleveland State University as a Project 60 applicant. He further refined his art by drawing alongside artists such as Peter Wells, Robert Thurmer and George Mauersberger. As someone who has been creating art actively for the past fifteen years, John has evolved his practice into creating pieces that intensify visual stimulation. Read our interview with him below. What are your thoughts on the compartmentalisation and thereby restriction with regards to creativity of modern art? Personally, I do not believe that compartmentalization in art has anything to do with restriction of creativity. If anything, it represents the release of creative emotion. In my view, emotion-thought-idea are the very foundation of creativity and if compartmentalization provides an opportunity for release, so be it. Your work has moved towards pure lyrical expression, was this a lengthy process? Not all, but much of my work is unbridled lyrical expression. When I can move freely through a painting and allow my strokes and marks to express what is coming from
my gut, I am most comfortable. I have always been heavily influenced by the works of Paul Jenkins, Sam Frances, Olitski, Syd Solomon, Joan Mitchell and others who were prominent in the post-war movement toward contemporary abstract expression. Perhaps, because of my age, I have been exposed to these influences for far longer than most artists of this day, and I feel comfortable nestled in their expressionist mode. How important is the process of experimentation with regards to artistic expression for you personally? I am a big believer in experimentation with the varied and myriad means of artistic expression even though I often revert to my reverence for early abstract expression. Which is to say, I am also comfortable
with something as unrecognized and belittled as simply pouring paint on a substrate.
and marks to express what is coming from my gut, I am most comfortable. I have always been heavily influenced by the works of Paul Jenkins, Sam Frances, Do you think other artists could benefit Olitski, Syd Solomon, Joan Mitchell and from the same? others who were prominent in the post-war I am not sure that other artists could movement toward contemporary abstract benefit from this because there is such a expression. Perhaps, because of my age, I strong movement toward have been exposed to these influences for compartmentalization and the relief that this far longer than most artists of this day, and I provides to emotional expression. But me: I feel comfortable nestled in their am an “emotion whore” and I will search for expressionist mode. I am a big believer in any mode of expression that gets the experimentation with the varied and myriad message out of me. I am not conservative. means of artistic expression even though I And I strongly believe that art ( hopefully, often revert to my reverence for early my art) has the power to evoke strong abstract expression. Which is to say, I am emotional responses in the viewer. also comfortable with something as unrecognized and belittled as simply What are you working on at the pouring paint on a substrate. moment? At the moment, I am working on a series of I am not sure that other artists could screen prints that depict sea turtles and benefit from this because there is such a lionfish.These are digitally manipulated strong movement toward prints that I have taken and each compartmentalization and the relief that this expresses my concern that I have for the provides to emotional expression. But me: I species; one endangered and the other am an “emotion whore” and I will search for considered an environmental nuisance, in any mode of expression that gets the spite of it’s incredible beauty. Of course, I message out of me. I am not conservative. am always painting, too. And I strongly believe that art ( hopefully, my art) has the power to evoke strong What do you think the future holds in emotional responses in the viewer. At the store for the world of art? moment, I am working on a series of screen I think the world of art is headed in a prints that depict sea turtles and lionfish. visually reductive direction, where thought These are digitally manipulated prints that I dominates expression. I’m OK with that. have taken and each expresses my concern that I have for the species; one endangered What is John listening to at the moment? and the other considered an environmental Personally, I do not believe that nuisance, in spite of it’s incredible beauty. compartmentalization in art has anything to Of course, I am always painting, too.I think do with restriction of creativity. If anything, it the world of art is headed in a visually represents the release of creative emotion. reductive direction, where thought In my view, emotion-thought-idea are the dominates expression. I’m OK with that. At very foundation of creativity and if the moment I am listening to Marcel Khalife compartmentalization provides an and some old tunes from Bessie Smith. END opportunity for release, so be it. Not all, but much of my work is unbridled lyrical expression. When I can move freely through a painting and allow my strokes 106
RICCARDO LIOTTA riccardoliotta.com
A practicing architect from Wisconsin and New York City for the past twenty years, Artist Riccardo Liotta explored his skills as an artist on the side. What first started of as a spare-time activity, has in the last three years become a regular and steady effort. Influenced by his professional training, his initial pieces have architectural themes, but his main inspiration has always been physics and mathematics. In the past twelve years, Riccardo’s focus has increasingly shifted to artwork less reminiscent of buildings and more of particle physics and quantum mechanics concepts, as well as mathematical and geometric principles. By combining these subjects with the theories and techniques of constructivism, suprematism, futurism and rayonnism art styles he has developed what he calls “eigencomposions”; analytical, abstract artwork consisting of simplified yet very dynamic geometrical shapes, fields, lines and segments that convey concepts of movement, velocity, decay and fragmentation.
Above: Chromogeometric Dynamic Interaction (from simplified alterations) 001 - study 04, 28cm x 23cm
Above: (e)astrazione cromogeometrica di me stesso - intermediate phase 001 - derivation 003 - chromogeometric indeterminacy, 18.5cm x 16.5cm
Above: dissolvimento cromogeometrico dinamico-frammentato 001 seconda trasformazione, 19cm x 17.5cm
TAHIRA NOREEN Born in 1984 in Pakistan, artist Tahira Noreen in a visual artist. Tapping into the unrestricted journey that her inner creativity takes her on, her pieces are a mixture of various mediums and textures, a direct reflection of the varied experiences she encounters during her travels. Tahira’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She talked to us about the unique obstacles she faces as a female artist in her home country and what the future holds for women in art. She was recently selected as one of the finalists for the Flux exhibition to be held in London in March 2019. Where are you based currently in the world and why? I’m currently based in the capital city of Islamabad, Pakistan. I have lived a majority of my life here and only briefly moved to the city of Lahore back in 2004, where I completed my bachelor’s in fine arts degree. After marriage, my husband and I started a family here. My current practice also mirrors the serene and quiet environment of the city I presently reside in. However, I would love to travel the world and not only get acquainted with diverse indigenous art practices but also experience the impact different geographical locations have on my practice.
Could you tell us a bit more about the work that goes into one of your pieces? My practice initiates with the preparation of sheets that later form the card I use for my pieces. I begin by meticulously blotting, dying and drying my sheets. This process is repeated several times until the desired colour on each sheet is achieved. Sometimes I dye my sheets in a gradient. Other times I select a specific colour for a complete batch. Once the dying process is complete, I leave the sheets to cure overnight for a more permanent result. After this, the process of making a wasli begins. ‘Wasli’ is a hand-made layered card that is most commonly used in Mughal and Persian miniature paintings.
Above: I am not a machine (30 days 30 pieces), Precision cutter on Wasli, 4 x 5 ft approx (8 inches each piece), 2018
Above: Untitled, Precision cutting/pasting on hand toned sheet, Size Variable, 2018
These cards are made by joining several layers of sheets with a self-made adhesive and are later compressed by hand to form a card like a thick sheet. Once the wasli has cured, and all-inclusive layers of sheet have dried, I manually cut these sheets into long strips like shards. Often I compile them in an assemblage of various coloured strips that take a life of their own. However, I follow no set arrangement pattern of these strips and the process evolves just as my understanding of the material does. What are the unique obstacles you face as a Pakistani artist? Personally, the most significant challenges I have faced, as a practising artist in Pakistan, are the lack of opportunities available and fair/transparent selection procedures. Although in the last decade or so, there has been a tremendous boom in the local contemporary art scenario, however, it still does not contest the level set by the international art market and fails to provide equal opportunities to the new breed of local artisans.
internationally is always an education. I recently had the pleasure of exhibiting my work at Artrooms London, Focus on Pakistan, and I thoroughly enjoyed their unique exhibit format. It was an enlightening experience. Do you exhibit your work often? I haven’t exhibited as often as I would’ve liked to. I had been teaching at an art institution for the past eight years, due to which my personal practice suffered immensely. I’ve only recently resigned from my job with a heavy heart, hoping to focus more on my practice and on setting up my private art studio. I have two group shows, and a solo show planned early next year. *Fingers crossed*
What do you think the future holds for women in art? It’s an undeniable fact that if we look at history, we’ll find fewer women in art than men. This however does not conclude that female artists are inferior to their male counterparts. The social expectations often result in serious impediment for women in Furthermore, I believe there is a dire need all fields and the same is true for arts. to challenge the set the trend in the Marina Abromovic once stated in one of her international art market, that gives artists interviews that she didn’t have children on whose work represents a cultural taboo or purpose to maintain her career as an artist. incorporates a native element, unfairly more In my opinion, an art career is ten times importance than artists whose work depicts harder for a woman than a man, simply personal life experiences. I think artists from because a woman has that much more all around the globe are facing this problem to lose. However I feel a recent change in in particular. trend where more educated and empowered women is seen surfacing every What was your experience showcasing profession in the world. Why should art be your work at the Patchogue Arts any different? From Zaha Hadid to Yayoi Council? Kusama, I see woman slowly taking top This was my first experience exhibiting in positions in their respective fields. It would New York at the Patchogue Arts Council. be naïve to say that women have finally Unfortunately, due to the short notice, I was won the war in achieving equal rights to unable to make it in person. However, from men, we still have a very long way to go, what I’ve seen on social media and ‘Patbut its safe to say that a strong shift has chogue’s’ official correspondence, I see a already been initiated that brings with itself diverse spread of contemporary art praca positive and fairer future for women on all tices ranging from traditional drawings to turfs… especially Arts. video installations. Exhibiting work 115
Above: Check In, Precision cutting/pasting on hand toned sheet, Size Variable, 2018
Is it true that you dye your own paper? Yes, I dye my own paper. I was initially purchasing toned paper either locally or online, but due to heavy shipping charges on international purchases and the lack of variety available locally, I took into account an old instructor’s suggestion and decided to hand tone them myself. It’s a cumbersome process but I thoroughly enjoy it, and so far I’m pleased with the end result. Have your family been supportive of your artistic endeavours? I’ve been very lucky in this matter since my parents facilitated my interest in fine arts and got me admitted to a leading national art college. After getting hitched, my husband encouraged me to establish my art career; however, my two-year-old daughter thinks otherwise. It’s hard to juggle a toddler in a studio setting, but I
must say things are finally looking up and I believe she understands when her mother needs to work for herself. What is Tahira working on at the moment? Since my practice heavily depends on experimentation, it’s my top priority to constantly reinvent my methodology and investigate the nature of the material I’m studying. My travels have often influenced my practice since as early as my academic career. Currently, I’m working on a series that incorporates my recent travel history, which I’ve been mapping through a few phone applications. I take inspiration from my recent ‘check-ins’ and try to plot these aerial views onto my canvas with the help of precision cutting. I hope this series stems into a potential body of work for my solo exhibition. END
ZDENKA PALKOVIC zpalkovic.artmajeur.com
Creativity, like most things, cannot be rushed. Working under pressure can work in some scenarios but with others the timing has to be just right. After attending the school of Fine Arts in Bratislava as a teenage, It took artist Zdenka Palkovic years before the desire to paint won again. She took classes with Swiss artists in Geneva and Lausanne. Over the last decade, her art has evolved considerably. She started with portraits and was later captivated by nature and its wonders. Places she encountered during her travels around the world. Her mastery of mediums ranged from acrylic, Indian ink and oil to stained glass on canvas. She is currently studying Japanese in Japan for a few months, inspired by its unique aesthetic. Her creative expression transports herself into a world where the vibration of colours, sensations and intuition become preponderant. In her artistic quest she has been often wondering how to paint life, how to express this volcano that inhabits her, how to arouse in others the same feelings that animate her as an artist. In discovering stained glass painting, she instinctively felt it reflected her own vibrations. This paint is like life, unpredictable, surprising, indomitable - a rebellious painting. Accurate results cannot be expected. It is the paint which guides her, helps her to express the depth of her soul. Her universe is between pure abstraction and mineral reality, between the dream and the matter. It brings together the two poles of existence. â&#x20AC;&#x153;
VITA BELLACICCO instagram.com/vitabellacicco
Spreading her time between the cities of Turin and Luxembourg we have artist Vita Bellacicco. While both cities are beautiful in their own right, it is in the romantic streets of Turin that Vita soaks up its unquestionable beauty, channelling it through her work and using it as a medium for spiritual development. Her eclectic style enables her to transition seamlessly from acrylic to watercolour and oil. She attended an art studio for several years which helped her experiment with various mediums and styles. In our interview with Vita, we talk about drawing inspiration from the world around her and the similarities between poetry and art. Would you say art can be called poetry for the eyes? It would be restricting and limiting to consider art just as poetry for eyes. All senses are necessary: through the synthesis of sorrow, the painter’s hand welcomes the time of loneliness, and the wounds turn into beauty and pure peinture. In this way, the artist transforms and converts death into poetry.
How long have you been an artist for? Actually, I do not describe myself as an artist. I play with art. Nevertheless, I believe that I became aware of that at the age of 6 when at the elementary school I wrote a short essay about a tree. It was magical! It caught my teacher’s attention. Proud of that, she showed my work to the board of
As someone who draws inspiration from nature, would you say it’s probably our most valuable resource? You can find many sources of inspiration to create art: the ordinary experience, inner feelings, memory and imagination but also observation and in-depth exploration of nature. However, this is not absolute.
What does art mean to Vita? Art is for me transfiguration, mystery, sorrow, therapy, meeting, prayer. Art is presence and absence. It always leaves a sign, a trace. It is like a light coming over you to heal your wounds. It brings you to the inaccessible, to the “no-time”.
I believe the most important one is the divine. I am inspired by spirituality. There I find the essence. So this means that the inspiration is the psyche of the artist or as a gift from the divine? Art in faith we could say: in fact, art accesses the human intuitive analysis and an aesthetic appreciation. The French sculptor Auguste Rodin realised that “great works of art say all that can be said about man… but there is something more that cannot be known. Every masterpiece has this quality of mystery”. This precious quality as key element was also recognised by the Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky: in his opinion, the sentiment of “beyond words” enables artworks to “fulfil their purpose and feed the spirit.” This quality evokes the world of consciousness linked to spirituality and communicated through the unconscious. After all the nurturing of the spirit is the main purpose of art. When you paint, what comes first? The concept or the image? Sensations come first. I draw on them. Consequently, they turn into images. In other words, the painting fulfils itself showing its soul. The philosopher Gilles Deleuze would say that “we become universes. Becoming animal, plant, molecular, becoming zero”. Art constructs sensations that express the becoming of the world. Could you name three artists that have most inspired your work? I have always been fascinated by Caravaggio for the search of light, Vermeer for the idea of capturing the action and the Impressionists, like Monet, for the intelligent and charming use of colours. More specifically, I refer to what Caravaggio called “God’s light” to focus the viewer’s attention on a critical expression or gesture. This made his paintings works of
such focus, such power, daring and drama. That dramatic sense of staying and innovative treatment of light and shade. That ability to highlight the shape, tension of a crucial moment of spiritual intensity. I think he is a visceral and revolutionary painter who could reach into a man’s soul by being so real. Caravaggio’s art makes us see the world and one another with a new intensity changing the destiny of art. Regarding Vermeer: this introspective and great modern artist taught us to see the ordinary beauty, but his art is also an art of transformation: everything is meaningful. There is a psychological complexity: our eyes take in precise details: he was able to create the interiors like a painting in the painting. His art is elusiveness and subtlety: it shows anything. What about Impressionists? They represented art as reality, breaking the rules of perfectionism, and could transmit sensations and paint things as they were. For example Monet’s spontaneous use of bright, pure and perceptual colours to capture the harmonies, the essence of nature and exact quality of light, to catch the eye, the here and now. Do you think art should be philosophical and not just aesthetically stimulating? Art, like philosophy, can be either found in the theory of Platonic hypermutation or in the deepest part of us, inside everyone, where there is an internal and eternal transcendence. What does the rest of the year have in store for Vita? At the end of October, I will have a personal exhibition at “Le Foyer”, the cultural club of European Commission in Luxembourg. The subject will be the Aristotelian concept of Happiness (eudaimonia) as “flourishing life”. END
OLIVER PRINGAL drawing-art74.com
Born in the north of France, artist Olivier Pringal was always impressed at the way French and Dutch painters used light. He also had a deep appreciation for contemporary art like black and white photography, drawings and realistic tattoos. By combining these various influences, he gradually abandoned pencil for chalk pastel on black paper. His creations often strive to capture an emotion, look or movement that has been highlighted by light, something that captivated his attention all those years ago. But this journey wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t easy, like a story all too familiar Olivier found himself working in an unfulfilling job until a burnout forced him to take a step back, rediscovering an underlying passion. He hopes his work stirs up emotions, curiosity and desire to discover his message as an artist.