Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An interview with Vanetta Joffe

Vanetta Joffe is participating again in the Swindon Open Studios this year and you won't regret the visit to her studio if you go. This interview will give you a glimpse of what is coming in September 12th and 13th.
But there is no reason to wait to see Vanetta's wonderful work. Make sure you visit Vanetta's solo exhibition:

"Life Elements: Abstracts and Figure"
6th to 31st July,

Belgravia Lettings, 69 Commercial Road, Swindon SN1 5NX . Tel. 01793 436400.
Open invitation to the Preview: Saturday July 4, 6.30 to 9 pm
Thereafter weekdays only till Friday31st July.

FABRIANO NUDE by Vanetta Joffe

Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?

I have lived in Swindon and Liddington for almost 40 years, having emigrated from South Africa with my husband and daughters when we decided that we did not want to raise a family in an apartheid state. In spite of my accent I feel truly British, having been welcomed here so warmly.

Q - How did you become interested in art?

I have been drawing and painting all my life. Having gained a diploma in Graphic Design at the Swindon College as a mature student, I practised as a designer for several years before deciding to fulfil my lifelong dream of being an artist.

Q - What inspires you most as an artist?

My main passion is figure drawing from life, though I have become very interest ed in interpreting natural forms and mythical ideas in an abstract way.

PETROGLYPH: from the series ELEMENTS - by Vanetta Joffe

Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?

I enjoy working in many different media; I suppose I would say that water-colour is my least favourite, mainly because I’m not very good at it.

Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?

Lately I am interpreting ideas from literary sources as well as natural forms. I’m now thinking of ways to combine those elements with figurative drawing, but I do not want to become too illustrative, or trite.

The abstracts are mostly mixed media works, and the figurative work mainly with drawing media. I have also done some portraits in oils.

Q - How would you define your style?

“Eclectic” is the polite word. Mentors have advised that I should concentrate on one style, to be my “signature”. For me this is totally against my instincts; I like to explore all kinds of media and styles, and if this means I am Jack of all trades and master of none, well, so be it.

Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?

Hans Holbein the younger, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio , Velazquez and John Singer Sergeant. I admire Kurt Jackson’s work and that of Ken Howard.

Q - How do you choose the subjects of your works?

They choose me really, in the sense that a subject intrigues me for various reasons, whether it be from life or an idea from a literary source.

Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?

I make sure that my best work is framed and presented to its best possible advantage. I do not create work specifically for an exhibition, but if it is a themed exhibition, I would choose work to fit that theme.

I have installed spotlights for displaying my paintings, as areas of my house can be a bit dark. An excellent investment.

Some works are mounted only, to display in a browser, and then there are also portfolios of drawings for leisurely perusal.

On the walls of my studio I pin up sketches, notes and inspirational photographs etc. I make sure the studio is clean and child-proof, and easily accessible for visitors.

I also provide a good tea!

Q- You took part in the Swindon Open Studios in the past, what did it bring to you?

Many new friends, constructive criticism, ideas , and a good balance of sales. 2008 was my best year so far.

Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?

I made a conscious decision about ten years ago not to do sculpture, as I thought that I would then become too distracted, given that I am not a full-time artist. But I do regret that now, and may well dip into the 3D world. I am confident that new disciplines can only be of benefit.

Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?

To have a fully-equipped, purpose built studio and gallery. To be successful in the sales department, which would establish a track record and thus give me an entrée into the commercial galleries.

In the final analysis however, the kitchen table artist can produce wonderful work; the secret is in the commitment and talent.

Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?

Don’t dream about it, DO IT. Don’t be precious about your work; every time you create something it does not have to be perfect. If you can free yourself from that notion, your work will flow from the heart, as it should.

You can view more of Vanetta's drawings and paintings on her website: http://www.vjoffeartist.com/

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