Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with illustrator and digital artist, Viet-My Bui

Viet-My Bui, formerly known by her psuedonym Ravenskar on digital art platform DeviantArt, is a talented digital artist and illustrator residing in Melbourne. Her work has gained a lot of exposure through DA and her blog, Recently she has been involved in Fly the Colour Fantastica, an exciting new comic anthology funded through Kickstarter.

1. If you had to identify your number one artistic inspiration, what would you say it is?
 That is a difficult-ass question. Probably... being around people who are passionate about something and are striving towards it.

 2. Name your top three artistic achievements so far. 
Finally pursuing my dreams and starting art/design school is definitely the top artistic achievement thus far. As for the other two achievements... hmm, probably trying to paint for the first time last year. And also just drawing at all. Is that lame? That's an achievement for me, since I've had great difficulty with that for the past few years.

3. What is the best cure for art block?
Not letting it define you. It's okay if you don't have any ideas, or you don't feel like drawing. Take it easy on yourself and be encouraging. For some, continuing to produce artwork regardless is something that will eventually cure them of the art block. But I also think pouring energy into other positive parts of your life (family, friends, other hobbies, your own wellbeing, etc) will eventually lead you back to your own creativity.

 4. What projects are you currently working on and what future aspirations do you have for your art?
Right now, I'm just focused on getting through my first semester of uni. I want to do well because this means so much to me. Once I settle in, I plan to start posting on my blog again. I hope to get into freelancing again (properly, this time). But also, I am really looking forward to finally finding the time to start drawing personal pieces again. I feel a significant amount of personal and artistic growth will come from those personal projects.

 5. Is there a subject matter that you' would like to explore more that you haven't yet?. More personal and conceptual themes. I would like to learn how to unlock my thoughts and articulate them through art. Also! I want to learn how to paint! With real paint! I'm quite excited about that. Thanks for askin'!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with artist Christiana Aprozeanu


Christiana Aprozeanu is a Melbourne-based artist I have known since primary school. Working with traditional media, her work stands out for both its incredible detail and for the emotion and sensitivity it conveys to the viewer.
1. Tell us a little about your artistic background- how your style originated and evolved? This one’s still a mystery to me. I never ‘studied’ art; I like to think that art found me. And boy, it was a reunion of sorts! We perhaps first met many moons ago in the first grade. Our art teacher encouraged creativity to a level that I soon endorsed and escalated to overshadow other homework tasks such as mathematics or literature, much to my parents’ chagrin. So I filled my scrapbook full and beamed with all the A+ marks. Ironically, my mum and dad are both heavily artistically gifted but neither did anything about it. I remember sifting through old suitcases dad kept under his bed in our 7th storey ‘shoebox’ concrete apartment in Bucharest, Romania. A multitude of loose papers heavily painted with watercolour and acrylic paints depicting landscapes, dinosaurs, plethora of fauna and flora. These caught my attention on a weekly basis and my 5 year old self promised myself that I would one day be capable of same. My mum’s cacti landscapes and aquarium fish sketches drawn by her to adorn my dad’s Plant and Animal Collector’s monthly magazine, left me repeatedly mesmerized. We migrated to Australia when I was 9. I had a battle ahead of me to assimilate in new surroundings, learn a new language and more importantly, make friends. Breaking the stereotypical ‘spoilt only child syndrome’, I instead grew up with the ingrained outlook that art was not a livelihood; I was guided instead to excel academically. This resulted in an unhappy career; art subsequently lost out, and a little of my soul with it. It is only now that I am on the cusp of realising that I can no longer deny my true path in life. Despite the pressure to come out top of class, I spent (and spend!) every spare second looking at art, researching artists, buying art books, buying art, reading biographies, frequenting exhibitions and galleries, and sketching. I often say that I have both a 9 – 730 career, and a 12 – late calling. I keep occupied with commissions but of course the main satisfaction comes from following my own themes and exhibiting my artwork in galleries.

2. Your artwork is often quite emotive and evocative- what sort of events or inspirations influence your work from an emotional angle? I love realism and live in constant fear that it is becoming extinct especially in this technology-driven era. Realism is real, it is universal, it is aesthetically pleasing and is best for expressing emotion, truth and connecting with your audience. There is no sugar coating, nowhere to hide: it is raw and exposed. At first I wished to focus my artwork on getting the technique right as any beginner does. Being self-taught, this carries with it the respective self-doubts, and I often have to obtain clarification from independent members of society as to whether for example, the hair that I have drawn, actually resembles ‘hair’, and enquire as to whether viewed on its own and not positioned on top of a head, the viewer would form the same opinion (yes, qualms, got many!). Once I felt comfortable that my subject matter resembled its actual real-life counterpart and not just an incomprehensible blob, I ventured into integrating the concept of feeling in my works. Realism can have its drawbacks in being too photorealistic and commonplace. I wished to evolve my work to a greater level, so then appealed to emotion. It’s something that appeals to me in artworks.

Reboot, and hello

After a very long hiatus, I decided to give this little corner of the web a much-needed re-boot. I've been working as a sub-editor for a monthly art and lifestyle mag here in Hong Kong for about half a year now covering wine and mostly large-scale art exhibitions such as Art Basel, but neglected my writing outside of that- tried to write for other blogs, but flopped partly due to not making the time, partly due to motivation/anxiety/silliness- been a non-conducive headspace to anything productive or creative for a bit.

I did make a compilation/porfolio of my other online work though.

But now, no excuses! I've been wanting to showcase some exciting artists and inspirations both from Melbourne and HK here, and have some interviews with a few artists done up already.


A few things I like lately: Word Crimes by Weird Al

It's really fun- both for the lyrics (perfect for writers/editors and English teachers) and use of animation/typography.

Caring is Creepy by the Shins

 This song is a perfect mix of memorable lyrics and wistfulness. It seems to be about the nature of words and truthfulness? But I'm not 100% sure. It's also super catchy.

Fly the Colour Fantastica

 The Colour Fantastica is a project started by a few of the people I did Stage Fright with including Viet-My Bui - a charity art event I was involved with in 2012. It looks super awesome and I can't wait to see the end results.