I started my real art education at St. Petersburg College, where I had amazing professors that taught me a strong foundation. My first classes had a very traditional and classical approach that would focus on the technique rather than the concept of a work of art.
My first art classes in College
I remember doing a lot of still lives, portraits, and photo realism paintings. All things I liked a lot back then. However, I remember that I used to put not too much “thought” into it. I was truly focusing on the technique and to how close to a photograph my painting would look like.
When I made the painting Honey (below), I truly thought that this was my style. Receiving a lot of positive feedback made me confident that this was “the way” I was supposed to painting. Also, I was not really exposed to contemporary artists, and my knowledge of the 20th and 21st century art was very limited.
Conceptual art and USF
In 2019, I finally made up my mind, and decided that I wanted to go to art school, so I applied to USF and got accepted to the College of the Arts. I must say the first semester was very different compared to what I was used to. Professors did not have any rules, and just assisted students in their artistic journey. At the beginning I felt lost, and truly did not know what to paint. I experimented, made a lot of ugly paintings, and was told to stop copying photos. Instead, I had to focus on quantity over quality: making more paintings would have helped me figure things out.
Going from photo realism to quick paintings that were not so close to reality scared me so much. I lost all the confidence I have gained and I was not really sure about my painting skills any longer. Little did I know, I was actually starting a new journey as an artist.
The following semester began, and my professor had me start from zero, from still lives. The still lives, however, were made of objects that would tell a story. I had to pick objects from my daily life, bring them to school, and paint them. At this time, I also started to use oil paint, overcoming another huge fear of mine.
Telling a story within a painting
I finally started to understand painting on a deeper level. I wanted to create a narrative within my paintings, and it did not matter if my painting would not look like a photograph. Even better if it did not look like a photograph!
It is now March 2020, quarantine started, and I had a lot of time on my hands. I started a very personal series to me, my Home Series.
Do Not Disturb is one of my final works in my home series, and it truly shows my evolution as an artist. I am aware this may not be “my style” for the rest of my life, since I understood that my artwork will evolve with me, my experiences and my journey.
I no longer care to represent reality as it is. I make my own reality within a painting, and I am loving the final results. My paintings now leave room to questions, uncertainty and interpretation. It honestly feels like I am just getting started.
Read part 1 if you have missed it!
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