Interview: Julia Szeder
Luca Curci talks with Julia Szeder during the 17th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
I was born (1964) in Budapest and used to live the ordinary business life of an office worker on support for film production. After attending a painting course at a Balaton Lake beach opening event some years ago, a whole new world opened up for me through painting. In my first encounter with acrylic paint and canvas, the colours, the techniques and the venue came together in a magical way to create an unforgettable experience. My absolute favorite is the paint knife impasto technique, which allows me to transform my presentation in a modern way with some abstract style. I add an extra twist by building stamps into the canvas for completing the story. So the recycling of old, used postage stamps have become my unique profile. This is how ‘impasted stamps’ artworks are born. Take a long view of the skyline, the landscape or the alleyways, then dive into the unexpected small details, discover what secrets the often funny stamps reveal.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Julia Szeder – For me, the main motivating factors are my favourite Mediterranean travel destinations, the old renaissance towns, the narrow alleys where history is present. I am inspired by the lights, the decaying beauty of crumbling plasterwork, impressionism. I’m also fascinated by the beautiful used postage stamps that help me unravel the stories in my images. My main motivation is to paint my happy memories, which I trust will be familiar to anyone who also enjoys the Mediterranean way of life.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
JS – SI feel that I have created a unique style with applying stamps on canvas on top of which I develop the subject matter with paint knife technique. From distance, the street scene, landscape and coast dominate, but when one gets closer, the story unfolds, the stamps tell stories of moods and times. My favourite subject at the moment is antiques, the bustling alleyway, but I’m also interested in the lights of the seaside.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
JS – I have a vast collection of stamps of all kinds. As I am sorting them by type, sometimes an iconic figure catches my attention and perfectly fits into the context of my experiences. In this way a piece of art is beginning to take shape. These experiences are not so unique, I believe anyone can have a similar heartwarming memory, and that is my goal, to make my paintings evoke happy recollections.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
JS – The greatest challenge for me is to develop the message of an image sufficiently in order for a complete story to unfold. Should the landscape, background dominate or iconic stamps prevail on the canvas? It’s a creative, self-realising dilemma, a long process that I feel very much at home with.
LC – How is your creative process?
JS – Once I have a vision of a new painting in my head, I start to sort through my stamp collection. I try to decide which stamps are the most appropriate for that particular theme, which colours I can best work with, as well as which of my preferred techniques would be more instrumental in unravelling the story I’m imagined. I first make a sketch on the canvas, then apply the stamps one by one. After this priming I allow the world of colours and paint to take over. During the painting process, as I apply layer after layer of paint, a lot can change depending on the concept I have in mind. With acrylic paint, I can apply different layers than with oil paint. I couldn’t really say which technique I prefer from the two. Painting with acrylic substances yields a more textured and faster-drying artwork, whereas the pictures born with oil colours have some sort of a divine radiance to themselves.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
JS – I feel that the concept of the exhibition fits perfectly with my previously mentioned creative themes. The landscapes, the Mediterranean way of life, are rooted in the past, based on happy memories and define the future.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
JS – The message I want to convey with all three of my images is that the values of the past are eternal, that we are defined by our experiences. The Venetian theme was also inspired by the location of the exhibition.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JS – I enjoyed and found it exciting to cooperate with the ITSLIQUID GROUP correspondents. I received a lot of help as this was my first physical exhibition ever.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JS – The ITSLIQUID GROUP’s Platform is, in my opinion, very eye-catching and fresh. They add modern, contemporary content to the tradition of palazzos, rich in museum values in several historic cities.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
JS – Events are organised in a professional manner, with all relevant information made available according to well-established procedures. I received prompt and accurate answers to all my questions. The only thing missing for me after the exhibition was some personal feedback, as I was unable to attend the opening. It would have been nice to know if there were any comments or inquiries.