Friday, December 22, 2006

Art Space Talk: Cecilia Ferreira

I recently interviewed artist Cecilia Ferreira. Cecilia is an emerging artist from South Africa. She now resides in Lisbon (Portugal) where she creates art using a variety of mediums. She is skilled in photography, digital art, printmaking, painting, chalk board art, drawing... you name it and Cecilia has most likely experimented with it.

Cecilia's art is darkly expressive.This is an artist who is interested in the human psyche and condition. Her work is a reflection of the darker side of society. However, she observes this as a positive aspect of her life. Thus, she captures a sense of tragic beauty within then context of her work while at the same time revealing the animalistic nature of humankind.

The viewer is forced to confront his or her emotional flaws and the flaws of society in general. Her work can be raw in its depiction of this depravity . However, it can also be playful... dangerously playful.
Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I discovered that art would be a part of my adult and childhood life at the age of five. My dad does political cartoons and I used to watch him draw. I used to see ink splashes in the dark just after bedtime as a young child, and they used to move in roller coaster patterns until I fell asleep. I didn't discover that art plays an important role: art discovered me and I have been freaked out by it ever since."
Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Everything I see and everything that is sensed by me is my art. My art is a direct reflection of my affair with reality (society) . We are chained to society; confined to it. We are jack in the box idiots who are trapped in matchboxes called urban blocks, parking lots and shopping malls. All my work reflects somehow how society has fucked us up in one way or the other. In the end it's all about being alive. What would we do without that intensely inflamed feeling of being alive? Be alone, I guess."
Q. On average, how long does it take you create one painting?

A. "It is usually a very quick thing, creation. It is explosion for me, not a thought-out, elongated plan of sorts. I usually never take longer than a day on a painting or drawing. Photo's, photo alterations and digital art is usually instant, like in ten minutes type of thing. They are quick thrusts of subconscious matter, as if it being vomit of brain matter and emotion. Many times I almost have no real recollection of thought and of how the creation took place, as if I am possessed or a channel, a simple mediocre medium for something intense trying to reach the eyes of those who are willing to look. I feel relieved after every creation."

Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

A. "They way the sun rises, the sound of cats fucking in the alley below, the sound of expresso cups clinging nervously, the introverted morning mist, breathing: life gets me in the mood for working.

Having eyes gets me out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. I don't sleep much, because I cannot sleep with my eyes open. In the times when creation was forced by studying I used to smoke endless joints of Swazi weed to get me in the mood. I have grown up slightly and life in itself trips me out lately.

There is so much beauty in the world it becomes ugly. Like a trip that just got too intense and the beauty becomes a frantic realization of life."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A. "After high school I attended a private art school in observatory, Cape Town. My art gained more from living there than it actually did from going to art school. I left the school and returned to my home town, Port Elizabeth, and did a three year course in Fine Art at the Techinicon.

I am not an academic. I have no thought. I am filled with opinions with no back up. Emotion has always overshadowed rational thought.

Studying fucked up so many things. The longest break I have ever taken from my art was straight after tertiary studies. I did not pick up a brush for a year. I had to recover from the way it sucked on me, like a parasite. I have wished before that I never studied art. But I am a believer in destiny, so, what the fuck…it is all a means to an end. I just sometime think what my art could have been based on pure emotional interpretation, without that voice of knowledge whispering in my ear, telling me about visual etiquette and what beauty is supposed to or not supposed to look like."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "Because at the time I felt like feeling it."

Q.Where can we see more of your art?

A. "
This site sucks. It keeps removing my work because it is daring and has nudity. It feels a little like school being there. I am working on a website of my own, but it's going slowly. Soon there will be a http://www.cecilia/.... For now my blogs will have to do. Here I have some self portraiture which I upload and then think: "O damn, I better remove that one." But I never do.

I also have an online diary here, which is filled with thoughts and images about life. It is all about communicating and creating and having a ball of a time doing it. The internet is the modern day sketch pad, filled with doodles and electric lines connecting us."

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?
A. "None, Zero. It's mad. My work is in storage. I am not represented by a gallery.

I have no upcoming exhibitions. I guess I am waiting for something to knock on my door. It is a fateful characteristic of an introvert, this patiently waiting-thing.

I am using the internet as a main gallery. I have some work in a few mags online like: "

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "The "trend" in the art world is the inevitable surrender to technological means. It is beautiful. How I used to be seduced by technology, but as a fine artist I kept my artistic talent strapped to the chastity belt of pastel on paper and oil on canvas. I lost this virginity the minute I realized I would never loose from succumbing to this vast and penetrating invasion of the times: I could only gain from it.

Trends are those vital parts that make development tick."

Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "My work is censored on a site where I have it now. It is awesome. I love being censored, it make me feel my art achieved something at that very moment. The only sad thing about it is the work of art not reaching as many eyes as it should have. The eyes of the viewer should be that sensor that drops that moral veil or not."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A. "I am at rock bottom, because I am not making a full time career out of my art yet. Creatively I am soaring…professionally, I am sniffing my way on the bottom like a stray."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "Art created me."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. " Lisbon. Don't have a lot of time to check out scenes here. There is a lot of art here, amazing art."

Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A. "Politics enter everything, whether it has been invited to do so or not."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "Yes."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Cecilia Ferreira. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

Wow. The image with the plastic wrap suffocation is burned in my head. Great interview.

Anonymous said...

I like a lot of her work, especially the photography and self portraits have great and immediate depth, though I don't think there is anything positive to take out of some of the really dark stuff, not because Im in denial but because society regurgitates that in front of our eyes daily. Just turn on the tv for instance, its all bad news, CSI, murder and crime shows everywhere. I think that society has enoughh fear and loathing in it as it is and people know about it. Its time we get out of focusing on the darkness after all we become what we focus on. Never the less if she likes people reacting to her work by it getting censored I think that defeats the purpose. Each to their own.

Anonymous said...

I like Cecilia's work, particularly the gutsy "don't give a shit what you think" attitude that is evident in her interview and work. Her dark work to me represents the ever present modern day pessimism, denoting our western culture, it's instantly recognizable (sadly) and it's fascinating. Doesn't our degenerate and base human nature intrinsically fascinate all of us? I think that Cecilia should do more of what she's doing and stop waiting for that knock on the door - get out there and get paid for the fascinating work that you do girl!!!