Honest Art: Vera West about capturing volatile moments in a traditional way

Honest Art: Vera West about capturing volatile moments in a traditional way

Mar 15, 2012 |  by  |  Art
About the author
Joris likes to listen and play with music and has a broad interest in people and their creative outbursts.

When is a piece of work qualified as art? What does it take to be an artist? In my opinion, art is art when you think it is. In this series of interviews, artists display their best work irrespective of their status, age and their curriculum vitae.

A spark for Vera West

For most artists it’s obvious that creativity is a part of their life. But most of the time people do need a spark to figure that out. Vera West, the painter I talked with today, is a visual person since she can remember. But because she wasn’t a quick student as a child she never got to the creative part during elementary school. “In a way the creative frustration I felt as a child led to an urge to paint.” Luckily, due to a motivating teacher in high school, she discovered painting and drawing was really her thing. “It’s always nice to discover you’re really good at something, that’s why I continued painting.”

With my paintings I want to show that there’s so much unnoticed beauty at unexpected moments.

Of course being an artist always exercised an indefinable attraction to Vera. Isolating herself, playing music and working on a piece of art for hours really satisfies her. “It’s like a continuing drive to make cool stuff, get better and figure out more and more why I create and what kind of art I want to make.” Besides that she describes a pure need to capture her surroundings and life. “At the most unexpected moments I see a lot of pretty images around me, that I want to paint. I want to show people that there’s so much unnoticed beauty at these moments.”

The disciplines she uses are oil and acrylic painting and drawing. “I choose this discipline because I like the process of making a painting. It’s a slow process of creating, erasing, polishing and putting it all together again. You sort of dive into a painting and continue to tinker with it till it’s ready.” There’s a lot of pressure on painting since the eighties, according to Vera. That’s because photography took over the documenting function of painting. She doesn’t see that as a problem because the painting itself can serve all kinds of new purposes. “What I find interesting about the current time is that modern media and painting are unified by a lot of artists. It puts painting in a whole new perspective.”

Capturing time

Although Vera, inspired by realism and impressionism of the nineteenth century, is more traditional then a lot of young artists, photography also plays a role in her own work. “A photograph usually functions as the take off point for a painting.” Because of this it’s no surprise her inspiration comes from her daily life, images of people and their environment and street views. “I’m interested in the speed and chaos of a town, in contrast with the slow and intimate moments of the individual. It’s really fascinating to play with reality in a painting and display it in a distorted and indirect way.”

By making a lot of paintings and drawings I feel I have more grip on life and time.

Time and the transient character of it is a big theme in Vera’s work. “In my paintings I try to capture the essence of a arbitrarily moment. By using both photography and painting I try to create a fusion of an image of time that goes by combined with the strength of the moment. The modern human lives in a fast changing world while he convulsively tries to stay in the present. By making a lot of paintings and drawings I feel I have more grip on life and time.”

Although the message is pretty deep, the images Vera chooses to paint are chosen pretty intuitively. “I make a lot of pictures, sometimes deliberately blurred. But I also use pictures from the newspaper that intrigue me. These images I translate into an image of my own. In my work I try to interpret the suggestive and deceptive reality and capture the continuous variability of an image.” To express the volatility of a moment, Vera uses the transient character of time also as a visual aspect in her work by using speed and blurring images.

Most of the time I want so much, I don’t know where to start.

Hearing Vera talk so conscious about her work, you really wouldn’t figure she’s just at the start of her career. Of course there are some obstacles she has to face, they are mostly about wanting to do too much. “Street views and the vulnerability of the moment are my main themes, but because they can be interpreted very broad, the amount of images I want to make a painting about is gigantic. Most of the time I want so much, I don’t know where to start. Besides that, it’s difficult to find a balance between creating and doing business with the outside world. The challenge is to keep on developing on a creative level and at the same time exhibiting and selling art. If you stay true to yourself and your work and you make enough hours, you’ll get pretty far.”

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