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
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
+4 ::: What artists have influenced you
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
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.
::: 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.
::: 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.
::: 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.
::: Could you talk about your latest series
of paintings and what you are trying to
achieve with them?
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.
::: 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.