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Interview with art collector, art advisor Sonia Borell

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich

Interview with an art collector Sonia Borell

Meet Sonia, a versatile individual who wears multiple hats in the art world – art collector, art advisor, and entrepreneur. Originally from Barcelona, Spain, Sonia’s educational background in Law from the University of Barcelona laid the foundation for her artistic journey that began in 2008.

Over the years, Sonia has meticulously curated the Tryson Collection, transforming it into a vibrant showcase of contemporary art that reflects her personality and tastes. What initially started with Spanish artists has now evolved into a diverse collection encompassing Pop Surrealism, Urban Art, and Contemporary works, with a focus on emerging talents from countries like Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, Indonesia, and her homeland Spain.

Join us as we delve into Sonia’s artistic insights, her international art scouting adventures, and her passion for propelling budding artists into the spotlight. Stay tuned for an intriguing conversation that promises to inspire art enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Can you tell us about the genesis of the Tryson Collection and its evolution over the years? How has the composition of the Tryson Collection shifted from Spanish artists to predominantly featuringPop Surrealism, Urban Art, and Contemporary pieces?

Art has always captivated me deeply. From my earliest memories, I harboured dreams of becoming an artist. Yet, the twists of fate led me to pursue a law degree and eventually brought me to London, where I met myfuture husband in 1995.

In December 2006, personal circumstances necessitated my return to Barcelona for a year. A family member’s health crisis sought my support in my hometown. Amidst the stress of medical consultations, Ifound solace and distraction visiting art galleries and museums. This became my sanctuary, my means ofemotional escape, and it was during this period that my passion for art collection was ignited.

The inaugural acquisition for my collection was a piece by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. Initially, my collection exclusively featured Spanish artists, bringing immense joy and positivity into my life as I adorned my walls with their works. This period marked the beginning of an ever-expanding collection that wouldcome to include notable names like Edgar Plans, Regina Gimenez, Claudia Valsells, and Miguel Macaya.

Upon my return to London, my fascination with Spanish art endured, compelling me to seek out galleries whenever I visited Barcelona. However, I soon discovered the vibrant and expansive art scene in London, particularly influenced by the flourishing street art movement led by figures like Banksy, Stik, Ben Eine, D Face, Dotmaster, etc. My collection began to evolve, embracing street art from the UK’s most renowned artists. My adventures took me through Nothing Hill, Hackney, Bristol, and later Penge East, documenting murals and connecting with the street art community, whom I found to be exceptionally humble andapproachable.

The year 2020 marked a significant pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the closure of physical art spaces and the temporary pause in street art creation, I turned to Instagram to stay connected with artists and their work. This period saw a surge in my collection, driven by the digital reinvention of artists and galleries. My interests broadened to include Pop- Surrealism, inspired by artists like Edgar Plans or Okuda San Miguel, who shared daily creations on Instagram, introducing me to a diverse array of Asian artists.

Today, my collection boasts around 450 pieces, each narrating a segment of my life’s journey. This collection, a mosaic of memories and experiences, is irreplaceable to me, embodying the lessons learned andmoments cherished throughout my life. It’s a testament to the belief that while we should learn from our past,we must never forget it.

What does contemporary curation mean to you, and how does it reflect your personality andpreferences?

Navigating the landscape of contemporary art curation in 2024 presents a unique and thrillingchallenge, as we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture in the art world.

Today, the art scene is vibrant and diverse, bustling with a multitude of artistic movements competing forrecognition. From digital art and performance pieces to photography, abstract expressions, manga art, anime-inspired creations, pop surrealism, street art, and naïve art— each genre seeks its place in the spotlight, despite scepticism from some traditional art connoisseurs.

What sets this era apart is the unprecedented scale of our audience. The younger generation is eager to explore and embrace new art forms, often weaving them into their personal identities alongside fashion and experiential living. This spirit of the time shapes my approach to curation, which I view as crafting a bridgefrom the 21st to the 22nd century. My goal is to curate not just for the here and now but for the legacy I leave behind for my children and grandchildren.

The context in which I grew up, in the post-Franco Spanish era, contrasts with the world we inhabit today.Conversations around the dinner table have evolved, with family members of all ages engaging as equals, sharing insights and perspectives.

Art has become a unifying theme in my household. Our collection is a living, breathing entity, knownintimately by each family member. Every new addition is a shared excitement, a collective moment of growthand discovery. This practice of inclusivity and shared passion is what I believe contemporary curation should embody—a celebration of diversity, a reflection of our evolving culture, and a legacy for the future generations.

Sonia Borell

What draws you to artists from diverse locations such as Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom,Indonesia, and Spain in your scouting endeavours?

 My collection is more than a gathering of art; it’s a mosaic of moments that have shaped me. Each pieceechoes a chapter of my journey: the vibrant culture I soaked up in Indonesia in the ’80s, the ancient mysteries of Egypt in the ’90s, a transformative year in Barcelona in 2007, and the gritty beauty of London’s street art. The pandemic, too, has left its mark, reshaping the art world and my place within it. As the years have rolled by, my role has evolved from a passionate art lover to an engaged full-time art collector since2018.

I’ve become a confidant and guide to artists, galleries, and fellow collectors, fully immersing myself in an art-enriched life. My social circle is a tapestry of those who create, collect, and celebrate art, and I treasure the journey with these remarkable individuals. Advising in the art world is not far from collecting when it’s drivenby heartfelt enthusiasm. My daily routine includes connecting with artists on Instagram or WhatsApp, offering them words of encouragement. Many don’t recognize the solitude that often accompanies the artist’s life— it’s a brave and solitary path, one that demands the artist’s very soul and often lacks visible rewards in our fast-paced world.

To the collectors reading this, I know you get it. You understand why I show up at openings, why I globe-trotto meet the artists, and why I advocate tirelessly for their recognition—they deserve that, a hundredfold. Reflecting on the joy that art has brought into my life, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. If I were to balance the books, I’d find myself deeply indebted to the world of art.

Could you share with us a memorable experience or discovery you’ve had while scouting for artists internationally?

Back in January 2022, Maison Ozmen, a Parisian gallery, unveiled the works of Vivi Cho, a South Korean artist who hadn’t yet made her mark on the international stage. The moment Sinan Ozmen, the owner of thegallery, shared the exhibition’s PDF catalogue with me, I was entranced. Every single piece spoke to me, and honestly, I would’ve acquired the entire collection if possible. Given the buzz around her work and my newcomer status at the gallery, Mr. Ozmen couldn’t guarantee I’d secure a piece. But I was determined not to take ’no‘ for an answer; the connection I felt to Vivi’s work was undeniable.

So, I launched into action, championing Vivi’s exhibition on Instagram tirelessly for weeks, hoping to catch both her and the gallery’s attention. Persistence paid off when Mr. Ozmen finally reached out, offering me a piece. I was ecstatic—it felt like it was meant for me. That was the beginning of my direct correspondence with Vivi via Instagram. A year and a half later, when she mentioned her upcoming exhibition at Strouk Gallery in Paris, my family and I didn’t hesitate. My husband, my youngest, and I jumped on a train to Paris. Meeting her was unforgettable; as a fervent admirer, it was a meeting I had long anticipated. We captured the moment in videos and photos, creating lasting memories. Vivi’s exhibition was a triumph, completelyenchanting the Parisian crowd. Next year, I am looking forward to visit Vivi in her studio in South Korea.Collecting art is about collecting memorable experiences.

Meeting Japanese artists Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami in Switzerland was an extraordinaryexperience that I also must include among the many memorable interactions that have deepened and enrichmy odyssey through the art world.

What inspired you to transition from being an art collector and advisor to actively promotingemerging artists on an international scale?

The transition from being an art collector and advisor to actively promoting emerging artists on an international scale was sparked by a deep-seated conviction that the next generation of talent deserves aglobal platform. The vibrant energy, the fresh perspectives, and the bold innovation that emerging artists bring to the table are essential to the lifeblood of the art world.

Every day I witness first-hand the challenges and obstacles that these artists face in gaining recognition, I felta compelling urge to leverage my network, experience, and passion to amplify their voices and showcase their work to a wider audience. It’s about creating bridges where there were none, opening doors that might otherwise remain closed, and ensuring that the art ecosystem remainsas diverse and dynamic as the world it mirrors.

Sonia Borell

How do you see the role of art collectors in supporting and shaping the careers of emerging artists inthe contemporary art scene today?

Art collectors often play a pivotal role in the art community by supporting emerging artists. Their love for the art world goes beyond just owning beautiful pieces; they’re passionate about the stories and the peoplebehind the art. Typically, these collectors are philanthropic, not just investing in art for personal enjoyment, butalso to nurture and promote new talent. They understand that their support can make a huge difference in an artist’s career, providing them with the resources and exposure needed to grow and succeed.

Collectors might also actively engage with the artists, offering mentorship and advice drawn from their own experiences. By doing so, they help to build a vibrant and supportive art community. They might sponsor exhibitions, fund residencies, or purchase works to donate to public galleries and institutions, ensuring that the art is seen and appreciated by a broader audience. In essence, art collectors are not just acquiring art; they’re investing in the future of the art world, fostering a rich cultural heritage for the next generation.

In your efforts to bring international attention to emerging artists, what message or legacy do youhope to leave for the future of the art world and aspiring collectors?

 My legacy is about lighting the path for future generations. It’s not just about the art I’ve collected but the artists I’ve supported and the passion for art that I’ve shared. I’m not just collecting art; I’m helping artists togrow, to feel seen and believed in. When I mentor an up- and-coming artist, it’s a chance to pass on what I’ve learned and to keep the art community strong and connected. I like to think that one day, these artists I’ve supported will do the same for others, keeping the spirit of creativity and mentorship alive.

In building this legacy, I hope to inspire not just my children and grandchildren but also other collectors and art lovers to see the power of art as a transformative force in society. It’s about fostering a deep appreciation for art and its ability to connect us, reflect our times, and push us toward new horizons.

„Art is a bridge between people, a mirror of our world.“ – Sonia Borell 

connect to Sonia via INSTAGRAM or her official WEBSITE 

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Interview with fine art photographer Xinyu Gao

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich 

Interview with photographer Xinyu Gao

Discover the creative world of visual artist, photographer, and researcher Xinyu Gao as she discusses her innovative approach to fine art photography and experimental image-making. Having garnered recognition in renowned international competitions, exhibitions and festivals, Xinyu shares her unique perspective and experience since graduating from University College London. Join us as we delve into her journey through the lens of artistry and research in the realm of contemporary photography.

How would you describe your overall artistic vision and what drives you to create?

From the sensitivity of senses and aesthetics, I am obsessed with visibility and invisibility, and the possibility beyond. The aesthetic and cultural diversity are my original pursuits throughout my creation.

Inspired by echoes from pictorialism in initial exploration, I constantly pricked from the perception of embodied senses, experience, emotion and memory. As I break the boundaries of categories and dive into fine art and conceptual photography, my work grows in observation, perception and reflection around critical issues. Recently, I have been thinking about the way of seeing in an era of attention and spectacle and keeping changing the point of view from viewfinders to conversations, from scenes to thingness, to any possibility.

Can you talk about any specific artists or photographers who have influenced your work?

It is quite difficult to mention a full list.

I admire pioneers including Eva Watson-Schütze, George H. Seeley, Jane Reece, and Claude Cahun, Sara Moon. Work by Paul Cupido, Constantin Schlachter, Alexander Tkachev, Laura Makabresku and Masao Yamamoto inspired me in a very early stage, especially in atmosphere, emotion and conceptual mind. Moreover, I am deeply attracted by diverse vitality from masterpieces by Alex Prager, Neil Krug, visual artist Stephen Mackey, and other masterpieces beyond the mentioned above.

I am so fortunate to encounter the pure aura of art in my journey. It is lucky to grow up as their audience.

How do you approach the process of creating your photographs, from conceptualization to execution?

From the beginning, instinct is everything, as the aura, the haze, even no consciousness and no method to learn. In most cases, inspiration comes at random moments.

Exposure to talents and masterpieces drives me to touch the world and gradually learn where I am. Based on observation and perception, I attempt to absorb multiple spirits from reading, and artwork without limitations. Meanwhile, the process of academic research at college in anthropology and media study influenced me to develop critical thoughts with a solid background.

My experience in ethnographic research takes me to fields to connect to the real world and the diverse cultural meanings behind it, which take me close to the earth instead of staying with structure. However, these are the only paths that build and support my mind in realistic aspects.

The most essential thing is, to keep the sensitivity, instinct and insight forever, and keep the initial hope and passion, no matter what kind of experiments of methodologies, reality and adventures.

The project „The Night We First Met“ focuses on underground ballroom culture. What drew you to this subject and what is the message you hope to convey through your photographs?

Influenced by my field experience rooted in anthropology spirit, diversity led me to queer communities, where individual representations are the most unique and sparking, in pure love and support from each other.

This project comes from the night when the most beautiful souls of humans and nonhumans meet each other in the first voguing ball open to the public in Beijing, embracing everyone and every difference, without judgment and limitations. The senses of materials in leather and feather, metal and skin reflected under the disco ball bring me to the imagination where subjective creativity grows from nonlinear time and broken spaces.

It is a remarkable honour to create a conceptual series with unseen stories in highlights, celebrating freedom and love as the never-ending light above us. Through these moments, I also hope to reflect on how images serve as anchors for archives and history, as well as the invisibility and appearance of images in the public domain.

The First Night We Met © Xinyu Gao

Your series „Beyond the Borders“ showcases scenes from different corners of the world. How do you capture the diversity and fusion in these images?

 How to make something different in both the aesthetic and conceptual aspects is always my study and thoughts around this cultivate my curating mind that is never satisfied with presentations that already exist. I started my adventure with traces recorded during my journey and found the magical connection and echoes between corners, where the possibility of fusion became visible. Initially, shapes and colours spread and overlap with each other, as images speak for themselves, in the spirit of celebration of diversity. I am touched to keep the image in the state of self-telling, my pursuit as always, and to present aesthetic perception and humanistic spirit.

Your project „EastCoastRide“ explores the perception of memory through images. How do you convey the emotional structures and aesthetic atmosphere of memory in your photographs?

It is a kind of instinct that I can’t help to immerse myself in the perception of embodied senses, experience, emotion and memory. The specific moments inspired me to create the abstract and universal representation, in a tension between every touch and the infinite distance out of imagination. In this way, I try to reflect the alienated texture of perception in contemporary contexts, especially influenced by time and space tension.

The series ‘EastCoastRide’ constructs the landscape based on the shading and shaping of memory. From the most familiar places in sensory perception rooted in daily experience, images reach the geographical and environmental atmosphere, with distant and intimate, obscure and detailed, alienated and mutual touch, to present the perception of memory in emotional structures and aesthetic atmosphere.

East Coast Ride © Xinyu Gao

Could you discuss the inspiration behind your series „Blue Lullabies“ and „Scenic Poem“? How do these projects explore the themes of childhood, emotions, and nature?

During that period, I was obsessed and influenced by pictorialism and willing to present the aesthetic scenes and lands in my mind. Observation and immersion of scenes and landscapes evoke my initial inspiration for stories in a way of visual painting, for pure aesthetics. The picturesque nature of Tokyo Garden and Kew Garden in London bring me to distant and surreal dreams.

In the project ‘Scenic Poem’, the silence of pine trees and rock, and the flowing of water drops present the metaphor of oriental philosophy, in the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

‘Blue Lullabies’ starts from the blurry atmosphere of girlish memory, the gaze and whispers behind the gauze, with shadows in the breeze floating on it. From the senses between visibility and invisibility, images take us back to the pure emotion and innocent touch of summertime memory.

What is your favorite project so far and why?

I think there could never be a clear answer to this. However, thanks to this question, I am encouraged to look back and think about the truth and the core spirit of my work.

For me, every project is my exploration in diverse stages. It is closer to the reception of my journey and traces of growth, from the inner self to the observations, and conversations inspired by our living and creating environment.

Blue Lullabies © Xinyu Gao

What are you woking on at the moment?

 I am currently developing my conception project ‘WindFall’ accumulated for years with a draft shaped during my study in London. I hope to present it in a photo book, also for the potential opportunity of exhibitions.

This project explores the ordinary secrets and secret ordinariness in stills of everyday life and the existence of pieces influenced by how the way of seeing changed in the era of attention and spectacle.

As the viewfinder turns from scenes to thingness, this series could be regarded as a fight against society gradually shaped by accelerationism. Escaping, retreating, seeking and hiding into the details of everyday life, by breaking the speed and concreteness, texture and image, the image seeks to immerse and resist the ever-increasing sense of temporal tension and information implosion through perception, in softness and sharpness.

I am confused about this alternative way between photography and collage, especially because of its unusual and surreal presentation. Enjoying the sharpness and softness on the same surface, it easily falls into to boringness of format. I wish I could keep experimenting and share it with you in the near future.

Follow Xinyu Gao

on Instagram here 

her website 

and LensCulture 

In conversation with VANESSA ONUK

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich

In conversation with artist Vanessa Onuk

In a world where art and science collide, Vanessa Onuk has found her unique artistic voice. Born and raised near Frankfurt am Main, Onuk initially pursued a path in medicine before following her passion for painting in 2022. With a clear vision in mind, she uses acrylic paint to create layers of textures and vibrant color gradients in her artwork. Experimenting with different canvas substrates, she discovered that working on pure, unprimed linen allows her to achieve the perfect mix of bleeding colors and precise applications. Onuk’s abstract landscapes aim to capture moments that mesmerize us, where we want to linger and absorb the beauty of our surroundings. By reducing her works to shapes, colors, and feelings, she invites viewers to bring their own experiences and memories to the artwork, creating a uniquely personal connection. Onuk’s intuitive approach offers a framework for emotions and memories to arise individually, resulting in a captivating and thought-provoking experience for each viewer. We wanted to know more about Vanessa and her approach..

Can you tell us about your journey as an artist? How did your upbringing and education influence your decision to pursue art professionally?

The interesting thing about life is that it always takes different paths than you planned. I am a trained doctor, still run a practice with my husband, and have already worked in one of the largest prisons in Germany in my career and am currently a forensic doctor for the police. This more scientific way of life is something that I would never want to miss, but I always missed the creative part of my life. My uncle is an artist and I have been fascinated by art since I was a small child. As a young woman and mother, I was unable to pursue artistic independence for many years. At the beginning of 2023, my husband gave the impetus to publish my pictures. I have now come to terms with the fact that I need both parts of my life to find inner peace.

What inspired you to start experimenting with acrylic paint and different techniques to achieve layers, textures, and strong color gradients in your artwork?

I have always been magically fascinated by bleeding colors and natural color gradients. At the beginning I had a lot of problems achieving these effects, let alone using them specifically, because the paint rested on the canvas instead of sinking into it. Due to the lack of unprimed canvases, I started experimenting with substrates to achieve the desired effect. While experimenting, I accidentally noticed how wonderful the color changes appear when the colors are applied in layers and I specifically tried to recreate these effects. From my point of view, this technique gives my images a lightness and transparency, overall the finish is matt with a strong vintage effect, especially when looking closely at the canvas, which reveals the unique structure.

Vanessa Onuk Catharsis acrylic on linen 160x80cm 2023

Why did you choose to work exclusively on pure, unprimed linen as your canvas substrate? How does it contribute to the desired effects in your paintings?

Part of the question has already been answered in the paragraph above. When choosing the substrate (cotton or linen), the difference is that the denser and evenly woven cotton allows very even, controlled transitions to be achieved and at the same time sharp, clear lines can be achieved. The end result is always a little sharper, less abstract. Pure linen absorbs the color more strongly, they dry much more transparently and brightly overall. At the same time uncontrollable bleeding effects occur at the edges. the application of paint on linen is more raw and leads to extremely unique, abstract effects.

How have your artistic experiments and discoveries evolved over time? Have you encountered any challenges or breakthrough moments in your pursuit of your artistic goals?

The artistic breakthrough for me personally was the moment when I was able to understand colors and backgrounds in their reactions. At the beginning of my artistic journey, effects were often products of chance and the actual idea behind the image was only partly possible. Over time I can assess the advantages and disadvantages of the bases of the colors and can influence them through the different degrees of pre-watering of canvas and paint in order to achieve my desired effects. This means that I have been able to offer corresponding commission work for a few months now, which I really enjoy.

Vanessa Onuk Gentle Reduction 

Can you share your experience of being nominated for the Finalist Awards in several art competitions and being featured in magazines and art magazines? How has this recognition impacted your career as an artist?

First of all, I obviously felt very honored, especially because I didn’t expect it after such a short time in the business. The really positive effect, however, is the increased visibility as an artist. Because in my opinion, the biggest obstacle as a “new artist” is the lack of visibility. Especially with the changes in the algorithm in social media and the flood of artists on large platforms, it is a good opportunity to set yourself apart.

What can we expect from your upcoming exhibitions? Can you give us a glimpse into the concept or theme of the exhibition and the artwork you will be showcasing?

I would be very honored if I had the opportunity to have a solo exhibition of my pictures in the future. Since I paint both abstract landscapes and figurative abstract paintings, an exhibition of one of the motif forms would be the perfect opportunity to present my way of representation in a larger collective of images. My big dream would be to be able to exhibit large formats as well, as I find the effect in large dimensions to be very impressive.

How do you feel about having your art represented in a respected online gallery? How does it influence the reach and exposure of your artwork?

Although I think that art is always best judged when it can be viewed in person, I strongly believe that online galleries offer the form of representation of the future to easily connect art lovers and collectors worldwide and make art more visible. For this reason, being included in a reputable online gallery is another of my artistic goals.

 

Thank you, Vanessa, and good luck with your artistic goals!

Official website 

Vanessa Onuk on  Instagram 

Interview with Fashion and Portrait Photographer Dmitry Bulin

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich 

Interview with fashion and portrait photographer Dmitry Bulin

Purplehaze Magazine is excited to feature Dmitry Bulin’s photography on our recent cover and took the opportunity to interview Dmitry about his approach to his art. Born in a small village in the southern part of the Krasnoyarsk region, Dmitry moved to Moscow in 2002 to study directing at VGIK (Russian State University of Cinematography). Inspired by cinematic images, he began capturing his college friends on a vintage Zenit camera, originally belonging to his father. As he received his first digital SLR camera as a gift after graduation, photography evolved from a hobby into a fully-fledged profession.

 

Images by Dmitry Bulin 

Images by Dmitry Bulin 

Upcycling Fashion

Follow Dmitry on his INSTAGRAM 

In Focus | London based artist Emma Coyle

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich 

In Focus | London based artist Emma Coyle

Renowned artist Emma Coyle is captivating audiences with her vibrant and graphic paintings that challenge traditional artistic conventions. Her unique style incorporates elements from advertising, magazines, and fashion, resulting in visually striking portrayals of stylish people. Having established herself in London in 2006, Emma Coyle’s technicolor paintings pay homage to the legacy of Pop Art while also breaking new ground. Departing from the historical conventions of the movement, Coyle utilizes bold contours and pastel palettes to depict her subjects, who exude self-assuredness while posing for the viewer. Notably, her work counters the long-standing influence of the male gaze by presenting dignified and fashionable women who reclaim their narrative.

In this exclusive interview, we aim to delve into Emma Coyle’s creative process, the inspiration behind her art, and the challenges she faced in redefining traditional notions of female representation.

How has your fascination with 1960s Pop Art influenced your artistic journey over the past 20 years?

Initially, it was the ‘look’ that first intrigued me. I have a strong interest in many art movements, but the impact of bold colours and even the size of some of the works which were created in the 1960s really interested me. In particular, James Rosenquist’s larger-than-life paintings and the soft sculptures of Claus Oldenberg.

Over the years I chose different themes to work with but kept a Pop Art style, images from Hollywood’s Silver Screen or Japanese advertisements of the 1920’s. In recent years I have chosen to contemporise Pop Art using current print media advertising images as my starting point. Returning to what first inspired Pop artists, an interest in using imagery that is familiar and current to create art.

Can you tell us more about your recent solo exhibition titled ‚The Best Revenge‘ at the Helwaser Gallery in New York? What was the inspiration behind the artworks showcased?

The Helwaser Gallery exhibition was a real turning point for me, to exhibit with such an accomplished gallery on Madison Avenue. The paintings on exhibit represented a growth in my studio work. A few years prior I had challenged myself to work on larger canvases, and experiment more with colour and compositions. Some of the work featured for the first time, off-centred figures, white painted backgrounds that contain small amounts of pigment, and collaging images together on the canvas.

Copyright | Emma Coyle 

How do you approach combining contemporary fashion magazine imagery and advertisements with traditional painting techniques to create your figurative work?

Preliminary work is especially important to each of my paintings. I constantly collect print magazines and every few years start tearing out hundreds of images. I spend months drawing and tracing, manipulating images, and combining groups of images together. Minimizing details and considering the possibilities of which colours to use can be a long process. Although an extensive amount of work is done before I move to the canvas, I can still mix paint on the canvas or rework lines throughout the painting process.

Could you share your experience of being represented by various galleries in London, such as Arte Globale, Contemporary Collective, and The Marylebone Gallery? How has this exposure contributed to your artistic career?

Expanding my audience has always been my drive for working with galleries. I have been very fortunate to work with some incredibly supportive galleries in London. Their continual hard work promoting my paintings online or including work in exhibitions has helped me to focus on the studio side and further develop my paintings.

Copyright | Emma Coyle 

Congratulations on receiving the International Art Market’s Gold List award. How has this recognition impacted your artistic practice and reputation in the art world?

Awards have a significant impact on any artist’s career and encourage you to work even harder. Whether an artist’s artistic drive is to achieve awards or they are received as nominations, the results are helpful to achieving international attention. The Gold List Award helped me to create sales, have work acquired by renowned collectors, and also helped achieve solo shows internationally.

How do you incorporate ideas of abstraction, minimalism, and negative space into your figurative paintings?

These are three very important aspects of my figurative paintings. They are aspects  achieved in my preliminary work for each piece. When making drawings for months on end, my main focus at this stage is to minimalize chosen images.

I want to almost flatten each figurative form as much as possible by taking away line work. By focusing on creating negative space and abstract space within each drawing it creates a minimal form.

Can you tell us more about your previous exhibitions in Ireland and the recognition you received as a promising new artist? How has your work evolved since then?

I received huge interest and support for my work in Ireland when I graduated in the early 2000’s. I was awarded funding, I had a solo show in Dublin’s Central Bank and I also exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy. My work was picked up by newspapers and I enjoyed the success of my early paintings.

My work has hugely changed over the years and has steadily evolved each year from my dedication to my studio work. I find my colour pallet constantly changes, the work is still very painterly, being able to see brush strokes on the canvas or paper. The themes of my painting series have changed throughout the past twenty years and the size of my paintings on canvas have grown. My recently completed one year painting project titled ‘Collective Selection [1]’ reached 366cm/144inches, the largest painting to date. My studio work progresses because of my interest in challenging myself in the studio.

We’d love to hear about your ongoing painting series ‚Sw16‘ based on contemporary print media images. What concepts or messages are you exploring through this series, and how do you hope viewers will interpret your artwork?

My ‘Sw16’ series is currently represented by Covent Garden’s Arte Globale Gallery. The paintings are very bold, bright and exciting. ‘Sw16’ series is a continuation from my ‘12.16’ series which is represented by Helwaser Gallery in New York. This new series is again exploring the use of colour, line work, and composition. When I am working on a painting or in a series I do not think of the narratives within the painting. This is something I leave to the viewer. For me my paintings are about the act of painting, composing a visual on a canvas or paper.

Thank you, Emma and good luck with your artistic endeavor!

Connect to follow Emma here and here 

Meet the artist: 5 Questions to SANTO

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich 

Meet the artist: 5 Questions to SANTO

 

Please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.

My education in design began at a design school in California, known for its intensive curriculum. This experience broadened my understanding of various design aspects, eventually leading me to roles in art direction, animation, and abstract painting. Over time, I found a special affinity for abstract painting. It resonated with me as it allowed the freedom to explore my own ideas rather than adhering to prescribed briefs.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion? 

To be honest, since I was a kid. Art has been a part of my life since childhood, a realm where I felt most at ease, at peace – especially when other subjects in school didn’t come as naturally.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

My creative process involves thoughtful reflection on ideas that capture my interest, often stemming from personal experiences or observations. In my approach to visual art, I try not to overthink, allowing the art to flow naturally. Experimentation is a key part of my process, sometimes leading me to try new materials or techniques, which can bring unexpected depth to my work. I’ve learned to embrace imperfections, finding that they often add a unique character to my pieces.

© SANTO 

What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?

To me, art is a personal meditation as well as an outward expression, a way to share aspects of myself with the world. Goal; It’s rewarding to think that my art might positively affect someone’s environment or mood, whether it brings tranquility or energetic inspiration.

What are your plans for 2024?

For 2024, my aim is to keep exploring and growing as an artist. I’m excited to try out new methods, play with different colors, and continue developing my own voice in the vast world of art.

Discover more about SANTO and her ART at HAZE.GALLERY

Interview with YAN JUN WHITE

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

B I O G R A P H Y
I am a painter who studied arts at the Luxun Academy for Fine Arts in Shenyang, China. My paintings are a reflection of my versatility, as I experiment with different tech- niques to express my inner self. As a resident of Berlin, I am inspired by the vibrant
art scene and constantly strive to push the boundaries of my own artistic expression

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Interview with photographer Diana Smykova

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Meet Diana Smykova, a talented visual artist whose work seamlessly merges documentary and fine art photography. Through the incorporation of video and text into her projects, she skillfully captures the essence of her subjects and the stories they tell.

Born in the Far Russian North, Diana has dedicated herself to exploring the culture of the Arkhangelsk region and delving into her own identity through her photography. By immersing herself in remote northern villages and traversing her homeland, she has been able to shed light on the personal narratives of local people, as well as explore intimate themes such as sacred landscapes, beliefs, and folklore.

Currently residing in Turkey, Diana lives as a nomad and is in a constant state of travel. Her latest project delves into the concept of home and how it is perceived by people from different countries. Through her lens, she tackles profound topics such as trauma, migration, and identity.

A member of esteemed organizations such as Women Photograph and the Russian Photography Society, Diana Smykova is a rising star in the world of photography. Her unique perspective and dedication to storytelling make her work truly exceptional.

Read our exclusive interview, where we delve deeper into Diana’s artistic journey, inspirations, and the stories behind her captivating images.

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Interview with Art Collective founders of ALTTTTTAR, Alfiia Koneeva & Mariia Bokovnia

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich

IInterview with Art Collective founders of ALTTTTTAR, Alfiia Koneeva and Mariia Bokovnia

How did you choose the theme or concept for your art event, and what inspires your creative direction?

The concept for „Archive of Upcoming“ was deeply rooted in the captivating venue we selected – a former archive. This choice was not accidental; it symbolizes our commitment to challenging conventional notions of archives and their connection to our uncertain future. Our inspiration came from the tumultuous social, ideological, and political landscape of our times, which profoundly shapes our perception of what lies ahead. In this exhibition, we embarked on a profound exploration of the intricate interplay between our contemporary world and the mysterious frontiers of the future.

As curators, we were personally drawn to the theme because it allowed us to delve into the enigmatic uncertainties that often cloak the future. We were fascinated by how these uncertainties sometimes render the future unclear and, occasionally, disconcertingly dystopian. Throughout the curation process, we were continually struck by the recurring theme of the past, present, and future intersecting in the works of the artists we selected. This theme encouraged us to challenge our own detachment from reality, question the blurred lines between utopian dreams and dystopian realities, and deeply reflect on the profound impact of human activity on our planet.

„Archive of Upcoming“ became, for us, a symbolic space where the past and future coalesced, offering a profound reflection of our present moment. We came to view archives as more than mere repositories of history; they transformed into dynamic spaces that showcased a tapestry of diverse visions of the future. These visions, sometimes fragmented and uncertain, provided unique perspectives that could very well become integral chapters in our evolving history.

As we navigated the artistic tapestry woven by these talented individuals, we were personally inspired to envision the intriguing contours of what lies ahead. It was an invitation to participate in an ongoing dialogue that shapes the very essence of our existence, to blur the boundaries between past and future, and to engage with the intricate complexities of our world. „Archive of Upcoming“ became, to us, a testament to the ever-evolving nature of our reality and our collective pursuit of understanding the enigmatic future.

Can you describe the process of curating artists and artworks for your event and what criteria do you consider?

The process of curating artists and artworks for „Archive of Upcoming“ was an exciting and personally rewarding journey. What set our approach apart was our emphasis on the artists‘ works themselves, prioritizing their creative expressions above all else. In fact, many of the artists we featured were previously unknown to us, a testament to our commitment to discovering fresh, emerging talent. Our foremost criterion in selecting artists was the undeniable talent showcased in their works. We were drawn to pieces that resonated deeply with the concept of the exhibition, capturing the essence of uncertainty and the interplay between past, present, and future. Each artwork had to contribute meaningfully to the narrative we aimed to construct within the space.

We also considered how the artworks would harmonize with the unique style and atmosphere of the venue. The former archive, with its captivating history and architectural character, served as a canvas upon which the artworks would be displayed. It was crucial for us that the artists‘ works not only complemented the overarching theme but also enriched the aesthetic of the space itself.

Our primary focus was always on artistic quality and conceptual alignment. This approach allowed us to curate a diverse yet harmonious collection of works, providing a platform for emerging artists to shine while contributing to the overarching narrative of „Archive of Upcoming.“

photo credit Alizee Gazeau

What promotional and marketing techniques have proven successful in attracting a diverse audience to your independent art event?

We were deeply passionate about reaching a wide and diverse audience. To achieve this, we engaged in collaborations with local influencers and art communities who shared our vision. These collaborations not only helped us reach a broader audience but also allowed us to tap into the creativity and energy of the local art scene.

Another key element of our promotion was the use of creative and eye-catching materials. We understood the importance of visual appeal in today’s digital age. By investing time and effort into creating compelling promotional materials, we aimed to capture the essence of our event and draw people in.

Moreover, word-of-mouth played a significant role. Our personal connections and networks were invaluable in spreading the word about our event. The genuine passion we had for „Archive of Upcoming“ was evident in every conversation, and this authenticity resonated with others, driving them to attend and support the exhibition.

How do you plan to create an engaging and immersive experience for attendees beyond the artworks themselves?

At „Archive of Upcoming,“ our vision extended beyond merely presenting a collection of artworks. We were deeply committed to crafting an immersive space that beckoned attendees to actively engage with the art. To achieve this, we meticulously curated the exhibition environment, ensuring that it not only complemented the artworks but also invited personal interaction.

Moreover, we are thrilled to announce a forthcoming highlight of the exhibition experience: on September 14th, we will host a captivating sound performance concert. This concert will feature five diverse DJs, each poised to infuse the space with their unique sonic perspectives. This addition promises to transform the event into a multisensory journey, allowing attendees not only to appreciate the art but also to become an integral part of the immersive experience. We believe that art should not be a passive encounter but a vibrant and engaging one that fosters deeper connections and understanding. Join us on September 14th for this exciting exploration of art and sound, where past, present, and future collide in a mesmerizing sensory fusion.

Photo Credit Evgenia Chetvetkova

Can you share any challenges you’ve faced in organizing this art event independently and how you overcame them?

One of the most profound challenges we encountered during this journey was the lack of financial resources. This challenge was particularly impactful as young collectives and artists, especially those with diverse backgrounds, struggle to secure financial support in the current art landscape. In the contemporary art scene, resources often flow to already established and successful galleries and projects. This dynamic creates a significant barrier for emerging artists and collectives. As curators with backgrounds that don’t include well-connected families or established networks in the art world, the process was pretty exhausting.

However, we overcame this hurdle by pooling our own resources, seeking alternative funding sources, like support with the venue from „Konnekt Berlin“ and huge help from our friends and artists. It was a testament to our commitment to the vision we held for „Archive of Upcoming“ and the belief that art should not be limited by financial constraints. The personal and collective sacrifices made this journey even more meaningful, reinforcing our dedication to fostering a space for emerging artists to shine, regardless of financial barriers.

What role does technology or digital platforms play in enhancing or expanding the reach of your art event?

While Instagram remained a primary platform for us, the recent algorithmic changes presented a challenge. However, we recognized the importance of adapting to evolving digital landscapes. Despite algorithmic complexities, digital platforms remained instrumental in reaching a global audience. We leveraged these platforms not just for promotion but also for creating a digital extension of the exhibition, allowing those unable to attend in person to experience the art virtually.

The digital realm also provided a space for artists to share their stories and processes, fostering a deeper connection between creators and their audience. While technology brought its challenges, it also opened up new avenues for engagement and outreach.

photo credit Alizee Gazeau

In what ways do you foster collaboration and community engagement within the art scene through your event?

The birth of Art Collective ALTTTTTAR in Berlin in 2022 was a deeply personal journey for Mariia Bokovnia and Alfiia Koneeva. It was born from a desire to redefine how art is represented and experienced. ALTTTTTAR aimed to break down barriers for young artists, regardless of their cultural or social backgrounds, offering a platform where talent could shine.

This mission resonated deeply with us as artists and curators, as we felt the impact of the established art hierarchy on emerging artists. ALTTTTTAR became a place where cultures converged, and art served as a universal language that united people.

Through exhibitions in unconventional spaces, we sought to disrupt the norm and bring art directly into the daily lives of city dwellers. This approach allowed us to create a unique dialogue between art and everyday life, enriching both. Our commitment to providing an inclusive space for artists was deeply personal, reflecting our values and aspirations for the art community.

SAVE THE DATE

Studio Visit | Tora Aghanayova

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich, Photography Johannes Pol 

Studio visit | Tora Aghabayova

How did your journey as an artist begin, and what inspired you to specialize in figurative and surrealist painting?

The journey began not by the easel but by piano. My family believed I would make a good pianist. But I guess I did not have a proper physics for that as my fingers are not long enough or perhaps the music school program was not fiery enough, anyway,  I turned to paper. Several years in all sorts of art schools and I graduated from Azerbaijani State Art Academy with full knowledge of putting those fat strokes, soviet style painting, you know? Creativity is not very welcome but skills must be fine. No complaints about that. I would not want any direction on my thoughts. The most interesting things are happening in the head that is left alone. 

Painting was never my main medium. It is one of the languages that I speak to spread the suggestion of the parallel reality world or call it a surreal world. Less verbal, more intuitive. Painting has the entertaining factor to it, while the videos or some of the conceptual works that I do are like a fall in the music piece when the melody drops from “major” to “minor” and puts one in a melancholic mood.  Painting is a basic language, an old form of expression. I love it.

 Can you tell us about your experience as an Azerbaijani artist living and working in Berlin? How has this influenced your artistic style and subject matter?

The place where you begin your life journey – first your house, then your street, then your city, and so on, shapes you, it gives you a perspective on the world. Everything I see now, everything I experience, first goes through the folder in my brain that is called “home”, a 5-year-old me on a sofa, it processes there and then goes to the other more advanced parts of the institution of my head. I guess that’s why my hair is so curly, it’s the overloaded wires. So I carry this Home wherever I go, like a snail. It is important that the artist must not be attached to geographical matters, and it certainly helps to be away. There were the times I was living in China, the conception of a home being the center of the universe evaporated there. Now I am in Germany, and I clearly know that anyone born here has a German perspective on the world just like I have my Azerbaijani one, which I do not suppress. The theme is lingering in my artworks, I don’t force it and I don’t resist it. It is what it is.

What themes or ideas do you often explore in your paintings? Are there any specific cultural or personal influences that inspire your work?

I am very much fascinated by “happiness” or feeling “good”. We are moving through the age of massive hysteria, when things are speeding up, so much information from all over the world, catastrophes that you would not normally find out about 30 years ago, now with the internet you know too many events of suffering. A problem is cultivated, is respected. A good times event, good news is overlooked, lightness is considered to be a vulgarity, shallowness. So I do explore the ideas of moving through the times of information and finding a good spot during these times. 

studio impressions  by Johannes Pol

 Could you walk us through your creative process? How do you typically approach a new painting, from conception to completion?

I love talking to people. All sorts of people. Everywhere. I gather the stories, then I dive into my head with them, experiencing some silence, while I am in a tram that goes to I don’t know where or walking on the sand somewhere,  I glue the stories into a shabby magazine, then I turn the pages and I find pictures in between.

In your opinion, what is the significance of figurative and surrealist art in today’s contemporary art scene? How does it allow you to express your artistic vision and connect with your audience?

It is certainly one of the most digestible genres. Even if one can not relate to what is going on there on the canvas, at least there are familiar forms, that may lead the viewer to create his own story, often very interesting variations on what you suggested there, sometimes nothing to do with your idea but still beautiful.  

Tora by Johannes Pol 

 Have you faced any challenges or obstacles as a female artist in the art industry? How do you navigate them and stay motivated to pursue your artistic goals?

I have my ups and downs. I don’t have a fashion to blame it on my gender. I know many females who are doing great, I know males who do worse than me. There is so much in the art world that is based on luck. My luck is like a cat. When I move and make some steps to attract it, it may come my way, sometimes it’s just being a lazy cat and won’t move, then I just keep doing whatever attracts it and the cat will come your way at some point. It is a matter of having enough treats to offer. Nothing comes easily.

What are your aspirations and plans for the future? Are there any upcoming projects or exhibitions we can look forward to?

A Solo show in Baku this September on the topic of shiny screens, pretty objects, and hybrids.

And in Berlin during the art week in Schoeneberg, it’s the first week of November, a gallery “Under The Mango Tree” will be showing my solo where I concentrate on private paradise moments. Let us not be so discreet about the beauty of the moment. Our life is made of seconds, each one can be beautiful.

 

For more news from Tora on her instagram 

studio impressions