Interview: Laura Nies
Luca Curci talks with Laura Nies during Venice International Art Fair 2021 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Laura Nies is a visual artist currently based in Belgium and Portugal. She received her education in academic drawing at the Barcelona Academy of Art. Her work is created out of a personal experience around socio-political subjects such as sexual orientation, gender identity, neurodiversity, and oppression. She continues to explore the world through her work, finding connections with symbols taken from nature, spiritual tradition and her own every-day life.
LUCA CURCI – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
LAURA NIES – I grew up in Antwerp, my parents are art dealers which gave me the privilege to be around art almost my whole life. I went to a catholic school where I didn’t fit in very well. Drawing was a way for me to create a space into my own world at that time, I was interested in connections, physical as well as emotional. I started discovering this idea with drawings and it eventually grew into the work that I am making now.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
LN – I love finding connections with symbols taken from nature, spiritual tradition, and my everyday life. Subjects like sexual orientation, gender identity, neurodiversity, and oppression often find their way into my work.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
LN – I think every artist has a different purpose. For some it’s to raise spiritual awareness, for others it can be just as simple as making the world just a bit more beautiful with the works they create. Artists create a world for others to escape in, I believe art and artists are here to make people feel seen and understood in an often alienating world. Artists are kind of translators whether they are conscious of it or not, who bring the spiritual and imaginary world to life.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
LN – It is a very rewarding job because you have a lot of freedom and you can do what you love doing. It sadly also has to be a business like anything else these days to be able to do it full time. It takes up about half of the work if not more, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
LN – After high school, I went to the Barcelona Academy of Art where I learned academic drawing. I’m very grateful for what I learned there from amazing teachers and other students. After Barcelona I had the confidence to start creating bigger work, which opened up a whole new world for me.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
LN – “Faces” is part of a series of work made as a tribute to lives lost to violence in the LGBTQ+ community. The first work I made in this series was two years ago for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to memorialise those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. “Woman with black cat” is a readaptation of “Woman with cat” a painting by Renoir. I made a connection between the stigma around black cats and the stigmas surrounding women. I wanted to create a peaceful scene between the two. I love finding inspiration in the work of old masters and other artists from the past and recreating them from a modern and personal perspective. The work “Bubbles” is all about women in their safe space. It is about the power of women spending time by themselves.