Sunday, June 27, 2010

Artist Interview: Victoria Neblik

What is your name: Victoria Neblik

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: A mixture. I trained as a research scientist and had quite a bit of training in photography and related techniques during my doctorate to take high quality images for research purposes- animals in a wide range of situations- and pictures with microscopes and so on- so that has all been very useful for the technical side of photography. I have done a lot of evening classes in various arty things- life drawing, stone sculpture, metal sculpture...- but I am also partly self taught- I don’t have an art diploma.

What is the style of your pieces: Very naturalistic, representational- not abstract at all. People say my pictures are very peaceful, which is mostly true, but also odd, as I am not a very calm or placid person.

What is the medium in which you work: Photography.

What started you on your path as an artist: I’ve always liked art as a hobby. But I guess my photography stems from being in lots of exotic places as a scientist- doing fieldwork surrounded by amazing wildlife and wanting to capture something of that experience. I also got to play with a lot of very expensive photographic equipment in my work that I could never have afforded to buy, so that helped.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: Contentment. A sense of achievement. It is great to produce something that is as immediate as art- something you can be proud of and put on your wall or your shelf and say to yourself “I did that”. It is all very unlike science, where the subtleties of whatever work you do are very obscure and outside anything that most people can relate to or identify with.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: I love the Mike Shinoda- style urban art: graffiti.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: 
I have only done a few small showings – I got invited by friends of friends to do private showings. I recently did a showing in someone’s house as part of a day-event she was organising to raise money for cancer. There were only around 20 something guests there, so it was very informal. I also have a few illustrated talks lined up, which are partly to promote my photography book “Rock in the Landscape”.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in: Nope- whatever I am wearing.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? So far, nothing really. I also do science writing (mostly wildlife articles), so I have a balance of art and science, which is a very nice position to be in; when I have had enough of one, I work on the other for a while.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:  um... chicken, salad and crisp? I think crisps (=potato chips) in sandwiches is a very British thing...

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: 
Yes – I am a lot more confident about what I am doing now than I was a year ago and more settled in this direction.  I recently got a new SLR camera, too, which is a big improvement on my previous main camera.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: Visual artist- Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I had never even heard of him until I visited Vienna and saw the Hundertwasser Haus; that completely blew me away.  I think his paintings look a lot better in-the-flesh than on postcards, too. It surprises me now that he is not better known.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
I don’t know about “moving”, but “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” by John Singer Sargent   is really impressive when you see the real thing (in the Tate Britain in London)- it has an amazing lightness to the colours in it- almost as if the paper lanterns are really lit.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: 
 I have pet tortoises, but I’m not sure they’re art lovers- to be honest, most of their thoughts seem to be about salad items....

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: 

I will have signed giclée prints on sale at The Station in Richmond, North Yorkshire (England) from 24th July until 3rd September.

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