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18 Questions with Artist Monika Feuerstein

1. Who are you, what do you do and why do you do it?

I am a Melbourne based Visual Artist and mostly paint in oils, but do like to explore other mediums some times. After an Interior Design background, I decided to study art and become a full-time Artist.

I also play the drums, I have been having lessons with my favourite drummer/musician for nearly 5 years now. A big part of my life is being part of the thriving Melbourne Blues music scene (watching live music), so my art

reflects that as well. Eventually, I would love to be a musician as well, just have to work on that balance at being great at both.

I started my arts practice in 2011 after 4 years of art school. I set up a studio in an arts hub with 31 art studios in Richmond. I stayed there for 7 years and then decided I needed a change and then set up my studio at home.

I like to play with surreal colours, environments and situations creating drama with strong contrasts and light. I love oils because of the intensity of hues and brilliance. Creating depth through layers and layers of glazes. In this fast-paced world, I love this slow art. Nothing else compares with oil, It’s archival and will last forever.

“body of music” Oil on canvas 51 by 51 cm

2. I create art because...

To make sense of this world and to express myself and tell my story, when I paint, it's like running away without leaving home. I go to this other place and I feel bliss.

3. How has your practice changed over time?

Over time I have been told, my art keeps getting better. I see things, I probably didn’t see in the beginning of my practice. I am a perfectionist and I guess, I am my worst critic. I don’t stop, till I am totally happy with the painting. I also realized I have to paint with my heart and soul and put all my emotions into it and paint what I feel, so this comes out in the Painting.

4. What art do you most identify with?

Figurative, Realism, Surrealism

“High heels & drums” Oil on canvas 51 by 51cm

5. What themes do you pursue?

I describe my art as figurative realism with a hint of surrealism. Themes evolve, as to what’s happening in my life at the time. Also a large part of my life is watching live music, so a lot of my art depicts music to add surrealism. Sometimes I place subjects in surreal surroundings.

“Affettuoso” (with feeling) Oil on canvas 51 by 51 cm

6. What’s your scariest art experience?

I was getting ready for one of my solo exhibitions, the paintings were hanging and ready in the Gallery, the next morning (the same day as the opening) the canvases were loose at the edges and corners – that some times happens through temperature changes, I found out later. I had to get them off the wall and hammer in the pegs at the back and yes that worked.

7. If you have one, what’s your favourite artwork?

Jeffrey Smart’s, painting of Clive James (love his Visual humour).

8. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Being a finalist at the Portia Geach portrait Art Award, I flew to Sydney for the opening and met very inspirational Artists such as Kathrin Longhurst, Lix North and Kim Leutwyler. Being also a finalist with these Artists gave me a real sense of achievement.

“Micky D” Water soluble ink pencil & Gouache on canvas 41 by 41 cm

9. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

Studied a 3 years apprenticeship for waiter and hotel management (20 years in hospitality) in Austria, England and Australia. Studied Interior design and decoration (a few projects here and there and worked for Hawthorn Interiors as a Colour Consultant, Studied Visual Art (curator and Gallery manager) (2 years) at the Artists Studios/Gallery in Richmond and ran the Art Studios for 6 months while the owner was in hospital as well. Teacher- I teach one on one or 2 max in my studio for a 6 weeks workshop for beginners Oil painting (since 2012).

10. Why is art important in today's society?

I believe art is an important part of our lives because...It is the expression of our creative ideas and imagination. Art makes us a better person, by making us think profoundly, by making us feel deeper, and by expressing what we do not have the words to say. Art brings people together, it elicits different reactions and emotions and makes people think, feel, and react, it makes people realise the importance of pursuing our passions and expressing our selves - Art is important.

“Fermata”(Pause) Oil on linen 70 by 170cm

11. Is your artistic life lonely or do you find living as an artist to be lonely?

It can be lonely sometimes, but it is important to stay in touch with other Artists and even if it’s just online, that’s why MAVA is great with their meetups and discussions online. But when I am in my studio and I am at work, I

go to this other place, this other world and I don’t think of anything, I feel calm and content. It’s like running away without leaving home.

12. What do you dislike about the art world?

Dislikes about the Art world – commercial Galleries, for example, putting pressure on Artists to produce quantity; telling Artists what to paint, I guess they are thinking about (what would sell). The Art world is a business and the big Galleries convince their clients to buy art for investment purposes and some of it is not even good Art. So maybe I don’t want to be represented by a commercial Gallery. They also discriminate, Age, sex, etc. I guess you are more in luck if you are in your 20’s and a white male. Then they will more likely to invest in you.

“Tim Burnham” Water soluble ink pencil & gouache on canvas 41 by 41 cm

13. What makes you angry?

I feel, if you want to buy an original painting and spend that money, it should make you feel something and; you can relate to it and see your own story in it. That way you will never get bored of it and every time you look at it, you see something else and don’t buy art as an investment and then later sell it, that’s not why the Artist painted it.

14. What is your dream project?

When I create a painting for the Moran Prize and I think I have an Award winning subject.

15. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

By my drum teacher- never give up your dreams.

16. What superpower would you have and why?

I would love to fly, wouldn’t we all?

17. Professionally, what’s your art goal?

I would love to leave my mark in this world, be recognised in the Art world, even if it’s just the Australian Art world, that’s fine.

"Tim Hulsman" Water soluble ink pencil & gouache on canvas 41 by 41 cm

18. Do you have a favourite art tool and if so what is it and why?

My big brush, (It’s a very fine brush), I use it for glazing, it’s brilliant, I also use it some times if I want to create a really smooth graduation between shades or colours and also when I don’t want to show any brush strokes.

Visit Monika's Artist Directory listing


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