Thursday, June 18, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Yi Blondel

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Yi's painting "Blood Orange Wedges" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Yi's DPW Gallery Page:

I feel like I am at the start of my artistic journey and thankful to these days of quarantine for getting me to see and do things a little differently. What inspires and fascinates me is light, color, shadows and people. Light, color and shadows are easier to capture in stillness.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always loved drawing, painting, and making things and grew up in a home with a very creative and hard working single mother. When I was young I used to also like making up worlds with images, but somewhere along the way I stopped. It was only about three years ago that I tried, and fell in love, with oil painting and since then I can’t seem to get enough.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

About what feels like a hundred years ago, I did two years of art school / college. I at the time felt pressure that I had to do something more ‘serious’ or ‘meaningful’ for my career and stopped drawing and painting for a long time until I started again a few years ago.

Blood Orange Wedges
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Yi's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

While at art school I tried many different mediums and enjoyed printmaking even though it is quite technical. When I think back I didn’t really enjoy painting, so I was surprised when I started painting again and instantly felt connected to it but maybe it was because back then acrylic was the only option.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I love painting with oils and would like to try doing printmaking and collage again but my space and access to a press is limited at the moment. Also I feel I have just begun to understand a little about color and light, which is fascinating, and oils produce the most vibrant colors. There is also something seductive about the texture and smell of oil paint and mediums.

Lemon Reflecitons
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Mixed media and also being able to do larger works would be great fun. I have also always had a fascination for movement and a sense of space so any medium, combined with painting, that could convey those things would be fun to explore.

Who or what inspires you most?

What inspires me most is just looking at things, and people. I love observing colors and light…..and also people, but haven’t manage to integrate the people watching into my paintings yet. I have also had a couple of great teachers who have taught me a lot about how to use those observations and translate them into colors and strokes on canvas. There are so many awe inspiring painters and artists to learn from but I also feel it can be overwhelming and want to figure out my own visual language.

Shadow Life of a Leaf
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

This is a great question! Procrastination for me is simply not painting or not pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone. I can easily get stuck in the world of ideas and thoughts and perceptions of how something should be perfect. Thankfully, I have realized that I learn more by doing and perfection doesn’t exist.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I remind myself that it is a priority even if there are lots of other things that need to be done and also make sure to have my materials ready and easily at hand. I also don’t pressure myself to get a specific result, the most important thing is to do a little something everyday.

Leggy Nude
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

At this stage I have so many ideas I tend to try and keep it simple so I am sure I actually paint something. Also, there is poetry and whole universes in simple things and I like to see if I can capture part of that.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

To be honest, I think it is the other way around, painting has kept me from ‘life burnout’ so I haven’t experienced that so far.

Breakfast Shadows
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I feel I need to put myself out there and learn how to make painting something more or less sustainable so I can keep doing it. I am at a double cross-roads where I am learning the process of finding my own visual voice, including figuring out if and what I want to share with my paintings, and also the marketing part of it.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I can do it. It is a gift that I took for granted for too long. Every time, even when I am not completely satisfied with the result, I am still a little in awe that I somehow pull it off. It feels a bit like magic; especially those times when I am not in the mood or tired and sure I won’t be able to make something decent but still do.

Pink Aluminum Fruit
(click to view)

Thanks, Yi!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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