I am so happy to have my friend Sandra Gea featured today on Art Wednesday. She is a Soul Collage facilitator, an archer, and one of the kindest people I know. I hope you enjoy her interview today!
Tell us about the moment you realized you were an artist.
Creativity has always been present in my life as far as I can remember. I grew up in a modest family where upcycling, fixing, reusing was part of our lifestyle. I would spend hours crafting out of paper and fabric. During my teen years, I used to collage a lot. Even if I chose a different academic path and career, through my different corporate jobs, I was always somehow involved with creativity and design.
The seed was always there waiting for me to make the choice. It is interesting to observe how collage and recycling have found again their place in my art.
What projects are you working on now?
Currently I am working on two painting projects. One entitled “Souls of Mongolia” and the other “Archery, Tai Chi and the art of Zen”.
The third project is called “The Earth is our Home” where I recreate places of the world out of recycled and handmade paper.
I just got a one year residence at the Art Hotel Cavalieri in Malta and I have committed to exhibit a different project every three months. It is both challenging and exciting. I have several ideas in mind that I will experiment with. This is what I love about art that I never know where an idea will lead me, what stories will be unraveled.
Does you work have a theme? Are you exploring a particular topic or subject?
I do. Themes either come through the work, I start one painting and then I decide to make it a series or a phrase will catch my attention. I trust spontaneity and serendipity, always prepared to welcome the muse!
The project “The Earth is our Home” began with my participation to the Twitter Art Exhibit which this year will benefit the project Home Start Moss in Norway. My idea was to make a piece of art with “Home” as a theme and message. The inspiration came spontaneously to create a theme exclusively with recycled materials as a message to take care of our environment and remember that we are guests on this earth. Once the card was made, I decided to extend this theme to a series. So far I have created Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, Regensburg and Delphos.
What type of art/ or artist do you most identify with?
I would say I identify most with the surrealist movement in art and literature. How the surrealists deconstructed and played with reality and language through art. As a linguist and polyglot, I love words and puns, exploring the different levels of meaning, as much as I can I incorporate it in my work. I am currently exploring the work Joan Miró, his paintings and collages have a simplicity and (false) naiveté that I are inspiring.
What inspires you?
My environment and nature are my main sources of inspiration. I observe and absorb the world around me, open for the muse to call by. My aim is to make every moment in my daily life a time for inspiration, creativity, spontaneity and play.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an artist? What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I received was from a danish photographer that I met a few years ago when I was in the midst of change. He told me: “You go to university to study to become. To become a doctor, a lawyer…You don’t need to go and study to be an artist. You are already one.”
Though it took me a couple of years to step out of my comfort zone, to trust, dare and throw myself out in the world!
If I had to give an advice it will be the same I received: You are an artist! Just do, be you. Be inspired by others but do not imitate or copy, find your own style. Be authentic. Create from heart. Be one with your art. Give it all, it’s worth it!
What is your dream project?
I have many dream projects!
I dream to travel with my art, get invited to a place and paint on site. Since my painting process is intuitive I am curious to see and feel what each place will reveal on the canvas.
I am currently dreaming of an experimental photography project /performance, an exploration of femininity through my own exposure.
I dream to collect all my notes and writings : poetry, plays, fiction and make something out of them.
What medium do you like to work in most?
Paper, definitely! I am obsessed with recycling paper. It is the basic ingredient for most of my art. Any paper support that can fall into my hands has a potential: envelopes, stamps, magazines, newspaper, bus/underground tickets etc…Collage is a fabulous adventure and improvisation, I always work with the materials available. I never know from the beginning what will come out so I start cutting, playing, gluing and the stories unfold themselves. It feels like magic!
Is there an art supply you couldn’t live without?
It is not really a supply but rather a tool. I could not live without my pair of scissors. It has been my faithful companions for nearly 28 years and it has a very special story. This scissors are handcrafted by an artisan from Burgundy, France, where I grew up. There was an artisan fair in my village and his stall was just below the wall that surrounded the property where my family lived. I was sitting on that wall with my friends watching the fair. This man handled me a bottle of plastic and asked me for water. I had been told not to speak to strangers. But something in me told me to take the bottle and go fill it at home. Disobeying. As a thank you this man gave me this pair of scissors. It has been with me throughout my school and university years, in every country I have lived. Last year I got it sharpened and revamped for the first time in 28 years. I have to admit it got me emotional.
Why do you make art?
I make art because of the spontaneity that comes through me during the creative process: the curiosity, the experimentation, the joy, the play, the stories unfold. It is the space where my soul comes to full expression and through which the invisible becomes visible. To me art is the purest expression of my soul through which I connect with other souls.
What impact do you want your art to make on the world?
Through the different exhibitions that have put me directly in touch with the public, I have observed different interesting responses. People being moved by my paintings telling me how much they soothed them and inspired them calmness. I have seen people bursting out of laughter when I was telling them the name of my collages, how they connected with the words and the pictures. It is interesting to see how I can touch people in different ways. My wish is that my art leaves them with a positive feeling: peace, harmony, joy. Specially joy. That through art we experience this special connection from soul to soul, that they felt connected to the story I told and that it touched them deeply.
I’m Sandra Gea, linguist, wanderer, self-taught artist. The passion for languages and the desire to experience different cultures have taken me on a voyage to create myself and bring my soul to full expression. My lifestyle, art and writing are reflections of this voyage – flowing, multicultural, exciting.
Please visit these links to learn more about Sandra Gea and her artwork:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.