To celebrate our latest exhibition transferring from the virtual to the actual walls of Over-Seas House next week, when the clubhouse reopens on 3 August, we meet one of the exhibiting artisits, Marcelina Amelia.
Marcelina Amelia is a UK based contemporary artist working with mixed media approaches to print, painting and drawing. She often draws inspirations from her Polish heritage, looking to religious iconography and folk tales, as well as childhood memories, the power of dreams, spirituality, sexuality, and the human condition.
In the build up to the exhibition we reached out to Marcelina Amelia to find out more about her and her work.
Can you talk a little bit about the work you have contributed to Women by Women?
Most of the works I’m contributing to the show are from my “I only want everything” collection. I Only Want Everything is a wry comment on the 21st century culture of ‘on-demand’ materialism. Deeply self-aware - and a more than a little satirical - my pieces are meant to remind us to pause, look up, and enjoy the beauty of art, life, and our colourful surroundings.
Is there something particularly relevant between your life experiences and the art you produce?
I like to think of my work as existential smoothies of reality. Each piece I have created is tightly connected to my life and the observations of the people around me, all of my work is very personal. I remember Marina Abramovic once said that what makes an artist is their biography, and I definitely agree with that quote, as the art that usually speaks to me has a strong motional charge and a kind of honesty about it that you can just see and feel. So I tend to transform experiences from my own life, sometimes those bluer and darker ones and make them into something completely new and something that feels empowering to me, I guess it’s my own way of healing and navigating in this world.
Can you describe one artwork or series from your oeuvre that you feel was pivotal in your career.
I think the painting that then turned into a hand-finished limited edition titled How to Fill the Void, whichis another story from the ‘I Only Want Everything’ series was quite important to me.
It’s a journey of self-discovery; questioning the participatory, fast paced, performative world we live in right now, overloaded with information and ideas of exceptionalism, where it is easier to be lost in the stream than to be your own person. Each painting in this series is representing a different emotional state, an identity crisis. How do we satisfy that craving, when in our essence, we are 99.9% empty space?
Do you have any other artists that you look to as inspiration? What makes a great artist?
My first art crush was an Austrian painter Egon Schiele and his maestro Gustav Klimt; I’ll never forget the moment when I saw their work for the first time. Without exaggeration, it has changed my life. I must have been 14/15 years old then, already an owner of an extensive collection of self-initiated sketchbooks. Since I was a little girl I have been a compulsive sketcher, but I didn’t think anything of my scribbles until I saw Egon’s work. There are so many artists, writers, directors that I admire, but I would like to highlight Marina Abramović for her spirituality, Tracy Emin for her honesty, Picasso for being so bold and prolific, Jean Michael Basquiat and the charged photography of Nan Golding. I must also list Federico Fellini especially his movie 8 1/2, I remember seeing it was very important in shaping my relationship and my connection to my inner world. Ah and Marlene Dumas, Danny Fox, Mattise! There are too many to list!
As for what makes a great artist I would say again honesty. All of the artists I have listed I feel like they weren’t afraid of showing who they really are and producing the work that they really felt like making, not following the current trends, they were sticking to their “guns” no matter what.
What advice would you give to emerging artists entering the art world?
I would say that being talented and hardworking is not enough. You have to be incredibly resilient and prepared to hear a lot of no’s and also be prepared that people will doubt you, questions your choices and think that your ideas are weak and perhaps you are being unrealistic and too ambitions.
My best advice would be to just never give up and to do what you really believe in no matter what. Which I know can be super hard sometimes and you have to have unlimited amounts of self believe.
Find out more about the other exhibition artists at www.rosl.org.uk/womenbywomen