Interview with Raea Zaniq)Tell me something about yourself..What's your background.?
By age ten or so, I was in a private program called Studio Elysia; a more intensive and yet liberal program for aspiring artists. We didn’t return home with the exact same macaroni necklace, if you know what I mean. Real materials were offered to tiny artists-to-be.
At sixteen, I was recruited into an organization involving five other young girls, created by three established artists. The purpose was for us as young women to begin developing our voices through art and under the supervision of experienced women artists. That was when the light really went off for me and I began creating from a more intuitive and expressive place.
By the time I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to go to an art school. I took a year off to save up some money, and then was off to Maine of Art, where I graduated with a BFA in ceramics.
a)I have always had an affinity towards the arts. I started with ballet and jazz/tap when I was three years old, but quit that by five. My mother told me I had to be involved in something so I took and an art class and it snowballed from there. My first teacher, Dorothy Abram, was truly inspiring to me.
q)How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?
a)It’s funny, visual fine artists like painters and sculptures don’t inspire me as much as musicians and directors. They have their place in my heart, don’t get me wrong. Maybe it’s a case of being too close to the trees to see the forest. While I can admire other fine artists to the ends of the earth, I find myself turning to other things for inspiration. Sometimes I’ll watch a movie and the color palette will influence my next piece. Sometimes I’ll be sitting in my studio staring off into space while listening to music, and the lyrics or the tone of an instrumental piece will resonate inside me, and off I go. It’s a peculiar occurrence, how inspiration strikes. Often it is like lightening; I become almost feverish with an idea and work until the sculpture is complete, no matter how long that may be.
Aside from that, my interest in people greatly impacts my work. I’m a people watcher. I adore people, and learn from everyone I meet (even if it’s learning how not to live my life!). People are the most curious creatures, so loaded and complex, wanting and primal. I’ll never stop analyzing people, and learning.
a)Why not? It’s good advertising! The internet allows us to connect with other artists and lovers of art around the world. Do I fear that the internet will replace a great gallery or museum? No. This is nothing like seeing art “in the flesh”. The contours, the texture, the scale of an affective sculpture cannot be experienced in it’s entirety by looking at an image on the computer. Same goes for painting, mixed media, etc.
What stands out to me most it a box of trinkets I have from my grandmother. She passed when I was quite young and we were extremely close. She used to make ornaments for the tree every Christmas. They consisted of a hollowed eggshell with a hole cut on one side. You could look inside the egg and see plastic deer amongst tiny evergreens, a baby angel sleeping on a cloud…those sorts of things. I suppose they are a bit cheesy, but they were always a wondrous site to me. It was as if my grandmother had captured a moment in time, a piece of a narrative, and placed it in the tiny egg to be strung on the tree. So I keep all those trinkets she’d put inside the eggs. They allow my mind to wander and make up stories.
q)Got any new projects planned?
My advice to “surviving” as an artist in a more general sense: Don’t waste your time trying to fit into whatever is mainstream at the moment. Do what you do in you heart of hearts. Create like your life depends on it, because ultimately, it does. Don’t read too many articles about yourself, and don’t take any of them too seriously, even the good ones. Create for the sheer enjoyment of it. If your art ever becomes real work and you stop enjoying yourself, then stop creating, at least for a little while. It’s easy to try and push production and get burnt out. Your work and your psyche with suffer if you do this. Try to remember that being and artist is a gift, as corny and clichéd as that may sound. Stay humble. Enjoy the journey.