During the holiday period, Agora Gallery will be hosting an exhibition by a Montreal artist who truly found life through art. Between December 16, 2010 and January 7, 2011, Gallery II will feature the work of the talented VéroniKaH, and visitors will have the opportunity to be both warmed and invigorated by her art. The opening reception will be on December 16, 2010 and art-lovers are encouraged to attend and take the chance to meet the artist in person.
VéroniKaH is an artist whose works have an otherworldly, ethereal charm as they combine abstract backgrounds with often indistinct forms, encouraging the viewer to connect with what they are seeing and enter into dialog with it. Although she began painting at a time of darkness and distress in her life, that solemnity rarely reaches into her paintings – though when it does it is powerfully poignant. Yet in most cases, the works sparkle and gleam with vivacity and whole-hearted enjoyment of life. It’s an immensely appealing characteristic that the audience cannot help but share. We were delighted to be able to interview her about her work for her forthcoming solo exhibition, and she shared with us the life-changing impact art has had on her life:
You use a range of media in your art – acrylics, inks, mixed media. How do you choose what to use for which piece?
Every time I start a painting I have no idea which medium I will use, so I go to Omer de Serres, where I buy all my art supplies, and after that I have a mini store at home… I keep all the materials I might need just in case and each time I go shopping I try to find a new medium or something special that captures my attention. Often when the store receives something new they let me know and I try it!
I never choose in advance because it will kill the inspiration of the moment, when I am in my studio (the basement of my house) I am in another world and I let my imagination take control. It’s always an instinctive kind of thing…
I’ve heard you say that starting to paint changed your life. Can you tell us a bit about that?
When I got really sick (with anorexia) in 2000, I was hospitalized and the doctor told my husband that I needed to find something inside me to give me the strength to fight against the disease and make me want to live again. As a kid I was always drawing and painting for fun so my husband brought some canvas and acrylic paints to the hospital and day by day I rediscovered my real identity. I was and will be always different because I am an Artist and have been since my birth. I was sick because I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing. Starting to paint made me rediscover my identity and I started wanting to live and make a difference in the world with my artwork. It symbolized to me LIFE and ENERGY, the fact that you cannot be happy if you are not expressing who you really are. I am now the MOST HAPPY person in the world and I want each of my paintings to bring this joy of life to the people who are looking at it!
What steps have been important in your development as a professional artist?
I decided to organize an Open House from time to time, so that people could come to my house and see all of my creations without being forced to buy, just like they would in a gallery. Then I started selling artwork, and so I sent my CV to galleries hoping that I would receive a positive reaction. Montreal galleries didn’t respond to my demand but the suburbs did, so I started having my paintings in different galleries in my area. I knew that it wasn’t enough so I sent my CV to Agora and then my world changed. Been recognized in NYC made a big difference. I started selling more and more at each Open House and more galleries were ready to take me. Also I have paintings up at places like beauty salons, spas, and boutiques of different kinds, so my work is being seen by more and more people. Now people go less and less to galleries so I knew I need something different to be recognized. Agora is the only gallery where I have great recognition, all the others are there for the money only (which is very sad)…
I know your family is very important to you – do they impact on your work?
Definitively YES, especially my younger kids, twin boys called Léo and Noé (7 years old). I wanted to have a better life to offer them. Being an artist helps me be more in touch with my inner thoughts and I can be home in the afternoon and have time to spend with them during the week. Also my kids, including Jérémy, who is 15 years old, are the reason that I am fighting against anorexia because I do not want to die anymore. I decided to like myself a little more every day because I do awesome things and I started thinking that I wasn’t that bad anymore. I have to be strong and be a great mother so they can have a wonderful life themselves. If I make it BIG I would be so happy to offer them financial support so they could choose a job regardless of the paycheck.
My husband of 25 years is basically the most important person who has supported me since the beginning. I wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t been in my life. He always believed I was a TRUE ARTIST and the TRUE LOVE that I got from him made me who I am now and I want him to be proud of me.
When is your most creative time of day?
I paint at the end of the day, starting around 8:00pm after the twins are in bed. It’s because I don’t want to be interrupted and because during the day I experience a lot of emotions and feelings and I use that to inspire me. I let my heart do the work, not my head!
What is the most important message you would like people to take away from your art?
The most important message I want to give to the world is: NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!!
I almost died in January 2000 and look where I am now. I hated myself for so long and now I love who I am and what I have become. It’s really difficult when you are different from everybody else. People judge you and make you feel like you don’t belong or you are weird or something and it’s painful to be alone… Now I am never alone, I have my paintings and the universe to discover with my artwork. Every day when I wake up I am happy to be alive and able to create something totally new and never seen before. When I am dead (we all have to die!) my artwork will still be there for a long long time and I know that what I did will help others find themselves and be happy with who they are …
We are all different and yet all the same at the end of the day. We want to be loved and cherished, happy and surrounded by family and friends and most of all see our life as a success story not a nightmare!
Exhibition dates: December 16, 2010 – January 7, 2011
Reception: Thursday, December 16, 2010 6-8 PM
Gallery Location: 530 West 25th St, New York City
Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.