21 Aug “I constantly aim to challenge myself” — Artist Feature of Mirella Bandini
- Are you working on any new work at the moment? If so — what themes are they exploring and why?
I have been exploring the wonderful natural world of land art of late. It’s something I have always been interested in, but recently my opportunities have leaned more in that direction so I’m enjoying the change and the new challenges that present themselves with any new medium. It’s an incredibly peaceful and stimulating way of communing with nature but also of learning more about onesself. This is of course the case with most art as it’s a personal and emotional expression, but land art is that combined with a collaboration with nature which makes it a little different… I think it’s something everyone should try and experience at least once.
- You are both a 2D and 3D artist – how do you define which medium to work in when you are inspired to create?
I don’t really consider myself a 2D artist but I’ve recently started drawing again. Although I am not particularly confident in this medium, I’m growing and learning to embrace my own style, which is a journey in itself. I tend to use the 2D images in conjunction with the 3D, whether that is as an image superimposed upon a sculpture, or as a conceptual standpoint from which to work. Having trained as a landscape architect I had it drilled into me that one cannot think without a pencil in one’s hand and I have come to believe that this is wholly true! I do my best soul-searching, thinking and conceptualising while drawing. It’s something I think we should all do. I don’t know where I lost that child-like confidence but I’m working hard to get it back again and it brings me much joy.
- How important do you think it is that ArtCan is able to offer opportunities for both 2D and 3D works?
I think it’s really important, but obviously I’m slightly biased! J It’s imperative to include as many different types of art and mediums as possible as it makes for a more exciting and dynamic show. The wonderful thing about ArtCan is that they always seem open to new things which makes for a well-rounded and innovative arts organisation that remains relevant and cutting-edge.
- Who historically has influenced you?
I’m a bit all over the show in this regard. In general, my work starts off as an intuitive process of making and exploring. I am inspired by primitive art as well as natural forms and found objects. From a conceptual standpoint, I generally delve into the human psyche. I tend to be inspired by the latest thing I see and then move on as fast as the next one comes along. Right now my mini obsession is Remedious Varo – the narrative built into her paintings is incredibly intriguing and inspires me to no end! But in general, life is all one big blur of influence and inspiration!
- What are your aims for 2017/2018 as an artist?
The same as most emerging artists I suppose…to sell a few pieces would be great! On a more serious note, I constantly aim to challenge myself, to explore new areas and to grow in the process. To produce something I’m really proud of – I’m always chasing that one! I suppose as an artist you’re always afraid that whatever you make next will not be as good as the piece you made before. So I aim to be the best I can be, to not settle and to not put too much pressure on myself because that’s a sure fire way of stifling my creativity!
- What was your experience like working with ArtCan; how will it help you in the future?
ArtCan has been amazing!!! The exhibition opportunities have truly surpassed my expectations and it has made meeting other artists, networking and sharing ideas and opportunities so much easier. I have grown in the past year as a result of my involvement with ArtCan, not just as an artist, but also on a personal level. I have met wonderful people and made new friends. It has literally been one of the most important collaborations in my career as an artist.
- Do you have to balance your art practice with a day job or other work? If so, do you feel this is just the way an artist has to survive these days?
I think it is a reality for a lot of artists. Up until this point I have been lucky enough not to have had to work full time while trying to squeeze my art in too. I take my hat off to those who do, as it must take real dedication and self-discipline. Even now it takes some serious mental convincing to get me into the studio some days. I know once I’m there that I will immerse myself and love every minute, but it’s the getting there that’s the problem. I think after a long day’s work it would be even harder. I dare say I shall soon understand what it’s like, but for now, I will remain thankful and make it last as long as possible before reality descends.
- What would be your advice for artists starting out in their careers?
Goodness… perseverance I suppose. Broaden your shoulders and learn to brush off the rejections. Doing what you love makes it easier of course, but there will always be difficult days. Trust your path and just keep going. Don’t ever give up!
- How long have you been in the UK and what is the difference you’ve found between the South African and UK art worlds? Or other countries you’ve visited/worked in?
I’ve been in the UK just short of 2 years. I’ve found that there are so many more opportunities here, both to exhibit in the UK and internationally. Europe is so accessible and ArtCan has been great in this regard because it has links with many international artists. This opens doors, promotes cross-pollination and enriches the opportunities for collaboration. My list of exhibitions is growing, my list of contacts and friends is growing and London is on my doorstep with all its inspiration and opportunity. I’m loving every minute of my time here, and I think it shows in my work.