'OUR INSPIRATIONS' INTERVIEW
“I am a human – an Earthling, but I am also a citizen of heaven. Art provides me an opportunity for capturing the invisible in a form of a visible image. When I am in these two opposite areas – of heaven and of the earth, I reconcile them inside me, which is reflected in my paintings. This is why I named on of my paintings cycles Closer to heaven. I have double citizenship – of the earth and of the sky – and I express myself in the third area – art. Closer to heaven, closer to Him, closer to self understanding, and closer to painting.” – says Monika Shaded.
To capture the invisible
Sylwia Tomczyk: How do you reconcile these to areas inside you – this double citizenship?
Monika Shaded: My paintings are abstract. I use a kind of a sign, and the viewer takes an effort of “decrypting” my painting diary. My paintings are a record of conversations from my workshop – with myself, with God, with the resistant painting matter. The are a record of my thoughts that I put in them. I look for a trace, a stopped unfinished gesture that would allow for many different interpretations. I want to let a lot of light and space into my painting. I like experimenting. Sometimes finding certain gestures, situations I would like to depict, takes more time than the painting itself.
S.T. Is there anything you consider really important in your work?
M.S. God made us in His image. He also gave us a desire to create, because He is a Creator. Artistic works have different contents and different messages, but they always play a significant role in shaping the identity of society. What is important for me are the motivations behind such art. Do we create to worship God or to “build a statue” for ourselves? To be honest, I am still exploring my heart and motivations in this subject.
S.T. Can we say then that your works are religious?
M.S. I spent a long time wondering which way to go with my art. It was very releasing for me to think that while being a christian artist, I don’t have to create strictly religious works. I used to believe I did. It was a very narrow minded way of thinking. It showed how little I knew God. We don’t have to limit God’s creation to only these artistic works, which have a religious symbol or reference.
S.T. How other people perceive your painting?
M.S. I often talk with different people during vernissage. Sometimes the interpretations of the viewers are a big surprise for me, and their reactions to my paintings inspire me. Sometimes there are conversations about God. On the other hand, many people are interested in the technique itself, and it raises questions.
S.T. Can you tell other people about God through painting?
M.S. Of course. As I mentioned before, art may be a very powerful tool for speaking about God. In my work I try to leave some space for the viewers, so they can find their “subjects” and make their own interpretations. Usually before presenting my paintings I inform where my inspiration came from, and what were the reasons I created each work.
S.T. What do you think is the meaning of art in our life?
M.S. Art in general, not only the visual part of it, has many different functions. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp its meaning or define its role, but when it’s gone, we instantly feel it. For me art is an opportunity to speak up, to talk about a specific subject in a form of painting. Of course, there are as many possibilities as there are types or art. I don’t discredit drawing, sculpture, photography, architecture, literature, theatre, music or any other types of creation.
S.T. So art is also influencing the environment?
M.S. Yes, it is an area of great influence. What I noticed – and my artist frieds noticed it as well – is that often the believing artist don’t speak up, they back down. They don’t appreciate the value of their artistic work and they are under social pressure. By being only passive observers of the art world, we banish ourselves and loose our chance for influencing through artistic speach. And that’s a shame, because by doing that, we give up without even trying to fight. In my family home I learn a rule that if you don’t say anything, you agree with the conversation. I see a resemblance in the believing artists attitude.
S.T. What is one important thought you wold like to convey to other believing artists?
M.S. A big breakthrough for me was finding that art is not something bad, that it doesn’t oppose worshiping God. It may soud very trivial, but God likes it when we create. He’s happy when we write, paint, dance, perform. In the Bible there are many examples of artistic work. God gave us certain talents, gifts, and we should use them, and worship Him by doing it. It is especially important in the world we live in today, where verbal communication is being replaced by nonverbal communication, and where art is so important in shhaping society.
And this is why I encourage everyone who feels the need of creating, to not fearfully fall under social pressure, and not run away from the unknown. After all, creativity is not only “beautifying” the christian iniciatives.
Monika Shaded was interviewed by Sylwia Tomczyk
The interview was printed in the „Nasze Inspiracje” magazine, 4/2010