Breathing Art

"Calling to the Stage . . ."

Claire Farrugia


First Place in Art Competition
by Lakireddy Balireddy College of Engineering
in Vijayawada, India

Exhibited at 7th Malta Cultural Institute Concert

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How long have you been painting?

I've always remembered painting since a young age; it was when I took Art for O-Level that I took painting seriously. That was more or less where I really started.

What normally inspires you when you're working or about to work on a piece?

Stress. [laughs] The more stressed I am with exams the more I paint. That or music usually. If there's a new song I like, it inspires me and brings about a certain emotion, so I try and convey that to my drawings.Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

Looking at your works on your Facebook page, I gather your individual trademark as an artist is combining fused bursts of watercolors with simple pen or pencil drawings. Why this combination in particular?

I like watercolors. I also feel the pen helps gets the details out, and I like details. It’s a challenge to achieve them out with watercolors alone, yet I’m satisfied when I manage to depict the details with watercolors. I like to keep it simple as much as possible and allow the person space to make their own interpretation of the piece. Keeping the mystery of that vagueness.

Who are your favourite artists?Copyright © Diandra A. 2015
Unfortunately I haven’t studied art that much to know many artists, the classic ones are those I know the most. I have seen some classic ones which are inspiring; though I do love Michelangelo’s anatomy, I love looking at the sketches rather than his actual works. I personally don’t stick to one complete style; I feel different elements and combine them. Sometimes I incorporate them and sometimes I just leave them alone.

Favourite themes you go for. . .

I think when you look at paintings in watercolours they’re mainly sceneries. I personally find sceneries boring, so I tend to draw people instead because there’s a certain emotion behind people and especially the eyes, to me that’s interesting. Whereas with scenery it’s all, “oh look there’s another Mdina”. I need to draw some sceneries aswell; they sell, whereas people as subject matter don’t sell that much.Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

When it comes to sketching, what I specially like to do with my sketchbook is preserve a fragment of a day into each drawing. For instance when I was in Spain and I would be in a coffee shop alone, I’d sketch the scene and write the details of it, such as what time it was, what song was playing. It’s as though I took a part of that place with me. I like to collect, almost like creating a time-capsule on paper. It’s more intimate working in a sketch book.Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

For you personally what difficult inhibition do you face when exposing your art? 
What’s that one inhibition that’s holding you back?

[Smiles] That bring out the character. I’m really shy, I hold myself back about it and I’m not in-your-face kind of person. Even to upload something on Facebook, it’s a wrestling match with myself as to whether or not to upload a piece and if it's good enough to be viewed now or another day. 

Over a year ago you got to lead an art workshop on the use of watercolor blocks. How was the whole experience for you?Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

I was really nervous at first, but it was a brilliant experience. The people that attended had already seen my works and really loved them, so it was a great boost for my self-esteem on a different level. 

How did it feel to teach and pass on to others some techniques that you developed?

It was great because I got to work with an enthusiastic class! Despite giving people the same notes and techniques, each and every person will take what you gave them and change it to produce something new and different. I managed to learn plenty from them.

Talk to me about the art competition you did in India.Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

That was at a university; they were holding a competition where they set a list of themes. People could participate and I signed up and got first place. It was all sudden; the people that were taking care of us saw my work and were persuading me to show what I can do through this competition.Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

See I’m in an organization called AIESEC; two people from Malta went up to India, and later we had other interns in different AIESEC branches around the world. We were living with people from AIESEC India, who introduced me to this competition. They were also having a stand at that university to try and promote AIESEC. I got to go up onstage to get the certificate when I won; it was a proud moment.

You also had exhibited your work at the Cultural Institute Concert.

It was a very on-the-side exhibition. During the intermission people could come and take a look. It wasn’t focused on the art. 

Unfortunately I don’t have the resources to hold my own exhibition where my artwork could be the main focus. Though that sideline exhibition was still exposure, because that way I could see people’s reactions: see if they’re attracted to it, which ones they like best, which concepts, which colours especially. It’s good to see their reaction and get their feedback about it and see the way they interpret them. 

I don’t like being direct, in the sense I don’t dictate to the viewer through my work what they should be feeling. You let people interpret it and see what they want to think about it. Copyright © Diandra A. 2015

Copyright © Diandra A. 2015