Time for a new artist interview! Isabel Lopes was recommended to me by Penny Lewin-Hetherington and I really like what I got to see! So here are Isabel’s answers:
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Isabel Lopes, I was born in Lisbon, Portugal and I now live and work in Darwin, Australia. I am a “jack of all trades”, started in photography moved onto design and jewellery design, then I discovered Landscape architecture and now I try to combine it all in one passion: visual arts mostly with painting.
What is your definition of art?
To me art is a platform of expression. There are many ways to express it and often artist and viewer experience the same work in many different ways. I love that!
Why have you become an artist?
I think I was born an artist. I was raised by creative parents; my dad is an architect but also a very keen photographer and drawer, mum is more of a poet. I grew up in my grandparents’ backyard and I remember making mud sculptures, painting with dad’s art materials and I don’t remember ever doing anything else that wasn’t creative. I love the fact that we can express ourselves through art; we can just live in an imaginary world and bring everything to live.
What is your favourite artwork of your own and why?
That is a very hard question, it changes all the time. However right now perhaps I could say it is ‘Mango season’, a painting that I did using mixed media experimenting with materials in a different way from my usual. It also refers to the ‘madness’ of the tropics (Darwin) during the build up season, when it is so hot and humid that people sometimes go a bit troppo (wild/mad). In a way it is a reflection of my current circumstances, now that the season is upon us.
How do you work?
I work mostly with mixed media. I like to experiment and sometimes use materials in a way that we were taught not to…for instance I love resin and I learnt that with resin we must use a source of heat at the end to eliminate air bubbles, well I do the opposite. I love the air bubbles and the holes sometimes its leaves on the work creating an added layer of interest. I then sometimes use the “holes” as a starting point for my “patterning”. I love layered works and I am now going through a phase of exploring layers, bold colours, texture and patterning. I mostly work on canvas and on paper. And I make mistakes, a lot of them, but instead of throwing away, I reuse it into new work, I pick sections of a painting, sections I like, and then I start the layering process creating an entire new piece. Also on Fridays, I like to paint to music, almost like a relaxing ritual, I pick a song and paint to it randomly, I see it as an exercise of experimentation. I guess with time I am learning to be more adventurous and relaxed with my own work. I was a lot more contrived 12 months ago.
Who is your favourite artist?
Too many, that is a very hard question. However I am absolutely passionate about Fred Williams and John Olsten, two great Australian masters. I admire their way of seeing and painting the Australian landscape. In 2011 I went to Canberra to visit Fred Williams retrospective exhibition “Infinite Horizons” and as soon as I walked in I started crying, his work really speaks to me. I love his abstractions of form and his sense of space and colour. He was a genius in my view. With Olsen I love his lighter and spaced approached to the landscape, particularly his “Lake Eyre” series of paintings.
What is your favourite material to work with and why?
I love acrylics, inks and oils. I also love pastels when mixed with the acrylics. It is fascinating to watch how they all react when mixed, how different textures and effects result from it. Oh and glue, I love pouring glue let it dry and then paint over it….the texture is very interesting. I would love to use oils more often but I am not very patient and having to wait long for it to dry just drives me up the wall. On the other hand, especially now in summer, acrylics dry way too fast here in Darwin. It is a constant “fight” deciding what to use for what…so I just go with my instinct.
Could you live without making art?
Absolutely not! I can not imagine my life without it, without making it. I have never known life without it. To me that would be a death sentence.
All photos © Isabel Lopes
Thanks a lot for your answers, Isabel! 🙂