art quotes and maya kulenovic
art quotes and maya kulenovic
 
artist interview - contemporary artist
canadian artist maya kulenovic
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edwin gardiner painter Maya Kulenovic

::: bio/statement
::: paintings
::: artist interview


"
If I'm working on a painting, and it bites back, I work harder."
Maya Kulenovic

Artist Interview with Canadian Painter Artist Interview with Canadian Painter


realist contemporary artist


Maya Kulenovic - August 2004


1 ::: Why are you an artist Maya?


It's an addiction. It's just wonderful that I'm allowed to do it all the time, and make a living of it! I like philosophy and theory as well as practical, hands- on kind of work, and I think I paint in order to get a better understanding of ideas, situations and images I come across. I want to know where the extreme feelings like awe and terror come from. I want to see how far I can push a sensation. It is a lot like a magnifying glass. Also, I want to know more about the thin line that runs between objective and subjective, environment and mind. That is probably why I am basically a Realist. Realism is a process, and a viewpoint. It is about understanding one's environment: physics of things, weight, speed, gravity, temperature, potential to move or change. It is a constant discourse between perception and intuition.


+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?


For me personally, art is a form of meditation. My process of painting is, above all, about doubt and belief... I constantly reexamine my perceptions, and doubt in what I think I know, and search for things whose powerful presence I can feel but not quite yet understand. Most of my works bear some reference to war and mortality, probably as a result of personal experience and subsequent years of research and following the events in the news. I look into the darker side of humanity because I cannot pretend that I don't see it- and the only way to cope with it is to understand it better. I think my paintings express some of that unreliable nature of our sense of security, possessions and knowledge, our unlimited potential for violence- as well as compassion- and the everlasting search for spirituality of some sort- as the hope or unconditional love.

+3 ::: Your paintings have a lot of strong emotions in them, are they yours or the subjects emotions?


The viewer's (I hope). I am usually more concerned with mood and atmosphere, and leave the emotions ambiguous. Ambiguity is an open space, which allows the viewer to project his/her own emotions onto the painting and provokes a variety of interpretations. I don't really try to tell the viewer what to feel or think. But if I manage to stir them a little, give them a different point of view or an inspiration or a new question or even scare them- its worth the paint.


+4 ::: What artists have influenced you and why?

Rembrandt. Goya. Caravaggio. Because they are so good at balancing feelings of redemption and damnation... Vermeer and Hopper for their tense silence and stillness, about to burst open with some heavy untold drama (which it never does). And Manet, for his divine (yet so earthly) light, open space and great love and wonder of the world in every brushstroke.

+5 ::: What do you do for fun (besides art)?

Read, or get out of the house. I run 10-12 K daily. It helps me think. I usually get the best ideas for paintings during a run. Also I have a regular martial arts practice (karate). I play the piano, but lately I seem to run out of time for practicing.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

If I'm working on a painting, and it bites back, I work harder. I'm not at peace until I reach some form of resolution on canvas. When I'm just not inspired- or too uncertain of what I want to do with a painting, I go for a walk- or any of the No 5.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

I find art business very frustrating. It is difficult to find a honest dealer who will promote your work without watching over your shoulder at all times. Anyway, lately I've been trying to make myself less dependent on the commercial gallery scene, and take more control into my own hands, especially when it comes to establishing international connections. It involved more promotional work on my part, and some commissions (mainly sculpture- I rarely accept painting commissions, it's too personal), but it was worth it.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ten years older and well I hope! Preferably in an art studio/ house in Northern Ontario... with my man, a lake view and a canoe, working on something great.

+9 ::: Could you talk about your latest series of paintings and what you are trying to achieve with them?

Lately I have been interested in landscapes and portraits- Place and Character. They never seem to appear together, though. It is always one or the other. Landscapes traditionally put the viewer in the position of an observer, and portraits demand a form of communication or even confrontation. My recent landscapes, though, remain almost too distant to be real, nearly vanishing in a blur of motion, as if they were more about memory and transition between places, than the reality of the present. The new portraits, in the same way, convey a mood or poise rather than personality; they have a sense of hesitation and ambiguity; so they signify different things to different people. In that sense, they are like mirrors.. they reflect the viewer's own psychology. Also, lately I've been exploring the idea of a void- or empty space- as a defining element of an image. Void is not simply emptiness, but it is the lack of an object, and as such, it implies a tension and a sense of movement. In Feng Shui (and martial arts), Void is the potential energy of a situation. In painting, void can contain perceptual movement which gives life to an image. The psychology of this process is fascinating.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Have no expectations. Don't try to impress your viewers. Be honest. Observe. Work to learn, rather than to 'produce'. Don't forget the Masters. Save your words, and draw like you mean it. Every line matters.




More artist information can be found at her website here.. mayakul.com
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