REDMILK MEETS THE THE 24-YEAR-OLD TORONTO-BASED ARTIST WHO CUSTOMIZES THE PHOTOGRAPHS WITH PAINT IN A WAY DESIGNED TO ABSTRACT LANDSCAPES BUT WITHOUT COMPLETELY ABSTRACTING REALITY. DISCOVER THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
Why did you choose to combine the world of photography with painting?
I thought to combine the two mediums to abstract what we see every day and make it art. A way to abstract landscape but without completely abstracting reality. I want to create a new narrative with the added paint strokes, and in a way add a different perspective to photography
How would you describe your aesthetics to those who don’t know your work?
My aesthetic is vibrant, bright, sometimes ethereal. Mixed media work that is light, reflective, calming, sometimes mysterious or peculiar. I like to create work that has positive connotations
The landscapes in your works are abstract but at the same time realistic, thanks to photography. What is the concept underlying your art ?
Through gesture, texture, colour and strokes of paint I am trying to emulate an immersive reality for viewers and induce the sensation of actually being there just by looking. I’m also trying to create images that are more intimate and inviting. Even though it is through my lens and perspective, with the added abstraction I find it makes it less of my personal experience and more relatable
How and when you started to create your photographs with painting?
I was in my fourth year at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), where I was a photography major, I was mostly shooting fashion. I originally went to art school for painting but decided to switch majors, I would paint in my free time but was still missing something. After taking a trip to New York, I came back and I printed out a selection of my photos for a critique. I was feeling stagnant and wanted to experiment. I took out my acrylic paints and intuitively painted on each photograph. Sometimes photography can feel very technical, I’m always making sure I don’t mess up on the lighting, aperture..etc, so it was satisfying to paint freely and expressively on the photograph directly. I feel like it always works out that way, that we create our best work unintentionally.
Who is the artist that has influenced your artistic vision the most?
I can’t pick one but some of my favourite artists/photographers who have had an influence on my work are Helen Frankenthaler, Gehard Richter, De Kooning and Slim Aarons.
What is the message you wish to convey with your art?
A message of hope and beauty. Art can take our mind to a higher state of consciousness, it’s the best way to get out of our heads and escape from our everyday problems. I want to translate a positive message and show how naturally beautiful this world is (my paint strokes are just exaggerating that.) Life is hard enough, we see so many negative images, if my photography and colorful brushstrokes can set a good vibe and bring hope to my viewer, then I’m happy.
Why did you choose to connect landscapes with art?
Ever since I was little it was my main way to express myself, my first impulse was to just get what was going on in my head and translate that into art. In a way, creating art makes me feel whole, I just want to inspire others, open their imagination and hopefully put them in a good mood through my work.
Where do you find inspiration?
I draw most of my inspiration from nature and light. I try to create textures and enforce movement. If it’s a beach image, I’ll mimic the waves in the ocean or the feeling of that fresh breeze on your face. I’m also fascinated by people watching, it’s interesting to catch someone in their natural state. I try to emulate the movement of the setting and the people who were in it. Especially when I paint figuratively, I think back at how being there made me feel and have the abstracted figure represent that.
How important are social media to you?
Social media is very important to me, I don’t know if my art would of been discovered without it. It’s incredible how many people you can reach through an image on Instagram. The positive feedback I received on social media has really encouraged me. It has helped my self doubt and over thinking of my work. One of my favourite DM’s I have received “is that my work evokes the feeling of having an “ahhhhh!” like a satisfying release.”
3 adjectives that set your art apart.
Reflective, refreshing, eccentric.
Photos courtesy of the artist