Interview: Janette K. Hopper & Ariana Pirela Sanchez
Luca Curci talks with Janette K Hopper & Ariana Pirela Sanchez during Venice International Art Fair 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Ariana Pirela Sánchez, born and raised in Venezuela in a Spanish family, Ariana Pirela Sánchez holds a BA in Mass Media with a major in audiovisual arts from the Andres Bello Catholic University of Caracas. She did her professional training in dance at L’école de danse de Québec and works in Montréal as a performer, choreographer, researcher and dance teacher. She also started to develop her practice in dance and movement film making in 2019. She was also a speaker in 2019 at the international conference about cultural heritage at the San Gerónimo University at La Habana, Cuba.
Janette K. Hopper is a painter, printmaker and performance artist. She served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Maria la Baja, Colombia SA. Since receiving her MFA from the University of Oregon, she has taught in Denmark, Germany and in the United States at Boise State University, University of Oregon, Columbia Basin College WA, Central Michigan University and, as the Art Department Chair, at the University of North Carolina Pembroke. Her work has been shown and collected extensively in museums, public venues, colleges and universities and in private galleries nationally and internationally in Spain, Mexico, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, New Zealand and Denmark. She participated as an artist in SIANOJA XIX (Simposio Internacional de Artistas Noja) in Noja Spain where she spent 10 days creating works with 13 artists from around the world.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Janette K. Hopper & Ariana Pirela Sanchez – I have been in the visual arts all of my life. I was a college professor and chair of an art department and am now working full time on my own art. I was two years in Colombia as a Peace Corps volunteer, one year in Denmark making art and teaching on a Fulbright and my works have been exhibited and collected internationally with over 250 exhibits and 40 works in public collections and much more privately. I work in a variety of media: film, performance, masks, painting, printmaking and drawing. Go to my website: www.janettekhopper.com to see my portfolio.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
JKH & AP – My most recent experience that influenced my work was an online artist residency with Proyecto ‘ace (Proyecto’ace – Programa Internacional de Residencias Artísticas) in Buenos Aires called ‘’Together Apart: Shelter’’ during the pandemic. It was the collaboration and visiting artists that inspired me.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
JKH & AP – My subjects are inspired by nature and our consciousness in relation to the environment. Presently Ariana and I are working on a collaboration with the ocean as the central theme. We are addressing it from both the personal and the global view. It includes again: Ari’s dancing, my performance in my masks that I make from natural materials collected in nature, haikus that I have written and read, film pieces that we have shot of the ocean and at the aquarium, and music from a contemporary musician playing on the pans. The first part of our new ocean series film is being shown in Spain with an opening of my ink washes and water-coloured tints, the El Mar Series. I continue to paint, inspired by the sky & water.
LC – How much is the editing process important?
JKH & AP – Ariana does most of the editing of the material. We talk about what works and doesn’t and collaborate on ideas. She asks me to do something she thinks would work and sometimes I tell her to cut something or make suggestions to her. She is the one who has the technical skill to put all these images and movements together. I am so grateful. The way the material is put together is so important to the impact.
LC – How much is yours?
JKH & AP – In the last film. I read the haikus and decided where to make the inserts and the musician did the sound and inserted the readings. Ariana makes beautiful visual transitions of print, motion, and visual material. I make masks, perform and move and still pictures. I supply the input to Ariana and she responds in dance.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society?
JKH & AP – The artist solves problems through the creative process. This brings consciousness to anyone who considers it. Art is a language that speaks internationally and across all borders, boundaries and cultures. It unites us and shares from the heart the most important aspects of life.
LC – And contemporary art?
JKH & AP – We are living now in a time that is challenging and nothing has changed. We have to focus on being the artist we are with honesty and energy. At the end of the artistic process, we share our work with a society which speaks to all of life.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
JKH & AP – I am an outdoors person. I hike, ride my bicycle, swim in the ocean and garden; these activities allow me to observe nature. I am inspired by music, poetry, dance, and other artists. Research into many themes informs my art and gives me inspiration. Most recently I looked into jellyfish and was amazed at their Medusa phase and their longevity. This will influence my haikus. People and their comments and lives and especially friends both artists and others inspire me. I am so inspired by the international connections with other artists that continue and I am so grateful for the internet for keeping us connected with those who are wonderful inspirations.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular?
JKH & AP – As I look around my studio, I would say my work expressed the awe I have for nature and its intricate beauty. Some of my work expressed my frustration with war, injustice, poverty, and global warming always its human consciousness and often the figure in spaces whether objectively present or not.
LC – Is it your medium of expression?
JKH & AP – Art gives me a way to express things that can’t be expressed in any other way. It is intuitive and one wonders about the self when it enters into the art. It is a means of knowing about yourself. It also gives you a chance to start a conversation with the viewer.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition?
JKH & AP – It is a complex interaction of the body, the personal consciousness and nature in our particular times.
LC – How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
JKH & AP – We entered your festival because we loved the words that you used to describe the theme and our film is a perfect fit.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
JKH & AP – I love the theme of the festival. It fits ‘’Quintessence’’ perfectly. It is broad and addresses both the body and personal identity and the space of nature that surrounds our work.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
JKH & AP – The themes are stimulating and it is one way to share your art in a wonderful venues in European cities. I am sure if you can be there the interaction with persons of many cultures and the inspiration of the cities themselves are quite an affirmation of the work you do alone.