28 Feb Artist Feature: Geraldine Molia
ArtCan are pleased to introduce you to our artist, Geraldine Molia. We recently caught up with her to discuss her motivation as an artist, predictions for the art world in Europe, and her personal practise and future plans. Enjoy!
What is your art practice and what themes are you exploring and why?
In my art practice I explore the theme of nature with organic and abstract forms. I use pencil, copper leaf, watercolour as well as ink, which is more enjoyable to use on a bigger scale. I am constantly astonished by these media as the result is every time unpredictable.
Nature itself can sometimes surprisingly participate in my creative process – I was about to apply a copper leaf on my drawing during a warm evening this summer when suddenly the breeze moved the fragile medium and created an unexpected shape. I instantly applied the glue to retain the shape.
I am fascinated by philosophies and aestheticism that embrace nature in particular the Wabi-Sabi and the Kintsugi in Japan as well as the friluftsliv in Scandinavia.
My work invites the viewers to immerse themselves consciously into a microcosm of calmness and serenity. I also hope to seed a conversation by inviting the viewer to question his own relation with nature, in particular with regards to the present fundamental global climate shift.
Which artists and movements historically have influenced you?
Paul Klee (1879 -1940) triggered my passion for the Arts – his colorful squares fascinated me – I remember filling checkered notepads with my pencils at the age of eight and reproducing many of his paintings as a teenager. I am particularly blown away by the subtlety and vibrancy of his watercolours from Tunisia and Sicily.
The Bauhaus School (1919 -1933) ethos has made a great impact on my art. Ceramics, carpentry, theatre, architecture, textile, all disciplines were taught and respected for their intrinsic qualities. Students, artists and craftsmen shared their practice experience without boundaries – an artistic community to a certain extent. Not a surprise I am a member of ArtCan, where the same values prevail – ArtCan is the new Bauhaus!
Klee was a teacher at the Bauhaus School alongside his close friend Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). The latter wrote Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1910), exploring the symbolism in shapes and colors on our consciousness. Klee explored for his part the relation between painting and music. Nowadays we are used to analyse these notions via Art therapy and numerous scientific studies, but at the time it was revolutionary. Synesthesia is a fascinating subject.
I would also mention randomly my love for the Art Deco aestheticism (1910’s-1930’s), the movement and textures with Rubens (1577-1640), the spirituality with Rothko (1903-1970), the precise compositions of Piero Della Francesca (1412-1492), Morandi (1890-1964) and Balthus’ paintings (1908-2001). Not to mention my admiration for contemporary dance and architecture.
Living icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (1967-) and singer Björk (1965-) have also a lasting impact on my vision of nature. Listening Björk’s songs while painting makes me reach a meditative state which is inestimable for my art practice. Ten years ago my MA dissertation was about how Björk embraces the concept of Total Art as defined by the German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883).
How important do you think it is that ArtCan is able to offer opportunities for exhibiting outside of the formal gallery structure?
ArtCan offers a kaleidoscope of unconventional exhibition spaces such as community centres, retail shops or residencies in corporate companies’ offices. These diverse venues allow the ArtCan artists to network with a variety of potential clients, which they could not meet in a formal art gallery.
ArtCan is an organic organisation despite its defined structure as a registered charity. Each member, trustee and committee shares his own experience and ideas with the community with generosity and indulgence, something that you might not find in a formal gallery. This openness encourages the members to move forward in their own practice within the group. It also offers much flexibility to its members to be involved at the level they wish or need.
ArtCan strength resides in its members counting over 100 artists from 20 countries.Firstly, the organisation is present all around the UK. Last year I exhibited in Sheffield, a show organised by ArtCan member Nick Grindrod. As a French native, the exhibitions outside London also give me the opportunity to discover the UK.
Secondly, I have gladly noticed an active commitment from the ArtCan artists based abroad. I suppose this motivation may come from a lack of similar organisations of this caliber in their own country. For instance, I was selected to exhibit in Italy this summer and the entire trip and organisation were made possible thanks to the fabulous ArtCan member Michelle Hold, who lives in the Piedmont area. And what a four days experience! We networked at the ArtCan private view in Valenza, discussed the organisation of the second exhibition in Casale Monferrato, visited Italian artists’ studios, all from the partner art association “ArtMoleto”, were in the local press, painted a collective artwork and as you might imagine, tasted exquisite food and wine. This enriching experience was also a fantastic way to create closer bonds with my fellow ArtCan artists – Kate Enters, Director, Founder and Trustee of ArtCan, Mirella Bandini, Heather Burwell and Michelle Hold.
What is your experience like working with ArtCan? And how will it help you in the future?
I have been an ArtCan member since 2017 but have followed the organisation from 2015. ArtCan and its activities have encouraged me to shift my artistic practice from a hobby to a profession. So this support has had a tremendous impact on my artistic journey and will certainly continue to do so. On a daily basis, the organisation offers me a framework by focusing on my own goals such as exhibitions’ deadlines and networks with professionals from the art sectors.
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 have at present found a healthy balance: I work four days a week as a studio coordinator in an architectural practice and the other days are dedicated to my art practice and teaching.
However living in London comes with a cost. It is a luxury to have access to so many museums, galleries and other artistic venues in one single city. So unless you have family money, cheap living costs, large clients database, exhibitions and art fairs all year long, I am doubtful on how artists can make a living in London only from their own art. A lot of artists have already left London for more affordable capital cities in Europe such as Berlin or areas outside London. Last November I visited stunning bright and large artists’ studios in The Chocolate Factory in Wood Green (London – N22) – and after 25 years in these premises, one artist informed me that they all had to leave by Christmas as the site will be regenerated to welcome “luxurious apartments”…
What would be your advice for artists starting out in their careers?
Be constantly curious and amazed from impressive to insignificant actions, objects, and creatures — anything can trigger your next artwork.
Be open to meeting new people. Being an artist can be a solitary profession, nevertheless, if you are curious, outgoing, and approachable, this will greatly help you to welcome advice, and create new connections and opportunities.
Be precise, as the devil is in the details. What does your business card say about you? Which type of content do you share from each of your social media accounts? What do you wear to meet new connections? How do you describe yourself in your biography? You are an artist but you are also your own best PR, marketing, and business partner.
Stay focused. It is essential to reach accessible art goals every week despite a daily job routine which can make you choose Netflix and the sofa instead of your brushes and canvas. The common belief is that being an artist looks very romantic but it is an enduring profession.
What are your aims for 2019/2020 as an artist?
I intend to have my first solo exhibition in London, exhibit more abroad and expand my presence on the online art galleries. I also aim to teach more. I have developed bespoke workshops for adults and will for instance give art workshops for Hibiscus, a charity which helps women who were victims of trafficking or previously prosecuted. I have been introduced to this charity by ArtCan. In spring time I will teach for the Imagine Art Club, an amazing art school for children. Creating and transmitting my passion for the Arts, a terrific and fulfilling combination!
Find out more about Geraldine Molia’s work here: www.geraldinemolia.com