Interview with Belle Fusion
Therese Lydia Joseph
1. Therese, when did you realize that being an Artist was going to be your path?
2. What inspires you or stimulates your thought?
Every day I stumble upon the hidden beauty of ordinary, often unnoticed and disregarded subjects including my fellow humans. I often get caught up in the unexpected wonder of a subject’s shape or form, colour or pattern, disposition or mood. My purpose as an artist is to grab a hold of the intense feeling this provokes in me and capture it on canvas. By approaching the canvas with that same intensity and spontaneity, I am able to be creative seemingly without limits. Using acrylics and mixed media allows me to express my love of bright colours, deep texture and detail. Ultimately I seek harmony between “strength and fragility” and “vibrancy and serenity”. When I feel the same awareness of wonder stirring in me as when I first came upon the hidden beauty of the subject - I know the painting is done and art is created.
3. What's your average day like?
I start with answering emails and catching up with social media. Around 10 am I head down to my studio and paint, collage, prepare canvases, sketch or draw until 3 pm. Of course I have a lunch break where I reflect on my work and see if I want to make any changes. Often I work on multiple paintings at the same time. I take photographs during the process and also of the finished work. If time permits I might write a blog post or add my new work to my website. In the evening, I enjoy cooking dinner and spending time with my family.
4. Why do you think it’s integral to work as an artist?
It is essential for me to create and invent in order to feel whole. The need to process and articulate my thoughts, feelings, and experiences is satisfied through artistic expression. For me, art is a method of communication - a way to interact with the world I live in. Painting is a visual language - a visual song and dance. Art is essential for mankind. It provokes diversity of thought, makes the viewer challenge their reality, wonder what if, and evokes all sorts of emotions while stimulating the senses. Art can heal, bring people together and open up new possibilities.
5. What kinds of stories do you like the most? Why?
In my artwork I like to engage the viewer in a story about a moment in life. Although these moments might be sad, tough, unfair or undesirable, I focus on that flicker of hope, that unseen beauty and strength, an honest thought, a genuine mood or a daring dream that hides inside my subjects.
I am intrigued when I find awesomeness in something or someone ordinary. I feel great satisfaction when I discover “the Beauty in the Beast”.
6. How has your practice changed over time?
During my first years as an artist, I primarily created abstract paintings. My work had an organic feel to it as opposed to a graphic feel. I used acrylic paint, medium, impasto and textiles in my paintings to create texture.Later on the abstract organic shapes were replaced with shapes of branches and trees. At that time I was participating in a weekly life drawing session and my trees morphed into the sensual shapes of semi-abstract female nudes. My nudes became more and more realistic as time went on. After receiving a grant, I embarked on a project called “Faces of the North Shore”. As a series of portraits, the project represented the diverse cultures of the North Shore. I used acrylic paint and collages of the North Shore Newspaper. Taking the idea of print collages to the next level, I moved to create large figurative works with themed collage from magazines - now part of my “Figure-It” collection. These can be viewed on my website.
7. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?
I have a few favorite figurative artists I admire. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt and Alexej von Jawlensky – German Expressionists. I am fascinated by their bold brushstroke, their daring use of colour and their somewhat simplistic shapes and forms of the human figure, portraits and clothing.
8. In today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have, what advice can you give to those who are also looking for direction and a path?
First and foremost, a painter must paint, paint, paint! You must spend time in the studio every day. Second, take criticism constructively rather than personally. Go to a professional artist to have your work assessed and critiqued. Know that you will not be able to please everyone with your art. Remember why you paint. Third, join some sort of a painters group or an artist’s guild. Feeling connected to other artists is a great source of strength and support especially at the beginning of your journey. Guilds and clubs will help you to get your art in group shows which are excellent as first exposure.
9. In your opinion, what role does 'Artist' play nowadays?
The role of an artist is first and foremost to make art, but showing and sharing are very important as well. Artists should share their inventions and creations, their stories, views and ideas with the community. It is healthy, visually and emotionally stimulating, and contributes to the wellbeing of a community.
10. What is your 5 year goal?
In the near future I plan to produce a new series of figurative abstract work. It is my goal to exhibit across Canada on a regular basis and establish a significant online representation. As it is every artist’s desire, I plan to sell more art each year.
Thank you, Therese, for sharing your experience with us.
Therese is also very involved in community connections and has participated in many kids art education as well. Check out her blog for more info!
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