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.

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