Interview: Marie Perony Luca Curci talks with Marie Perony during BODYSPACES, first appointment of CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
I was born in Germany and lived in several African countries from an early age at a time when travel was not yet a mass phenomenon. I also lived a few years in Portugal right after the revolution. Because of my father’s profession, we travelled a lot, and I was often the one who was “different” in school. Since that time, I have claimed to be a “citizen of the world”. This, I guess opened my eyes to differences. I have degree (Masters) in Communication. After 30 years of experience in the Communication field, I finally take the risk, at over 60 years old, to present here my “work”. I am a self-taught artist, having used several mediums (sculpture, oil and watercolor), before trying digital painting, and… I love it! Deeply influenced by my life experiences in Africa and the USA, I try, in all my paintings, to offer the emotion that people or life scenes arouse in me. I am now at a turning point in my life, and I am looking to join an artist residency in the US or/and a digital art university, again in the US. I am based in the Indian Ocean, on a tiny island: La Réunion. And since 2020, I have had an Artist Value certification made by Jacques-Armand Akoun.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
MP – My favourite subjects are life scenes and portraits. I don’t know why, but I love working on New York buildings, maybe because I really fell in love with this city, and maybe also because, despite what one may think, I find in these heaps of steel and glass, a certain soul. I also like the contrast between the hyper-urbanization of New York which highlights the fragility of the human being. That said, artistically, it is far from easy to achieve! Because of my life and experiences, I have spent all my life in contrasts and dichotomies, and this is reflected in the subjects I paint New York and its buildings Vs Africa, Reunion Island. The vastness, the grandeur of the buildings Vs the loneliness of human beings, the materials of the buildings – and maybe their impersonality?- Vs the faces that I like so much to create… In the end, the spectacular side cannot exist without the fragility of the human being. At this very moment, I am digressing a little and my last paintings are about the island of La Reunion, where I currently live. These are atmosphere scenes in small restaurants and beach bars, but I feel oddly much happier and freer when I paint NY scenes rather than beaches.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
MP – I have always liked to “sketch” life scenes and beautiful stylized photos. There is something irresistible about me that, when I see something that I like, I HAVE to “sketch” it. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is of course the technique, since I am a self-taught: the more I practice, the better I can transcribe what I like; even if there is still a lot of work to improve! I started digital painting in 2019. First, for a practical question: as I was working during the day and couldn’t paint at night because of the lack of brightness, it was a very good way to paint at night! and there is also this practical side since I can take my «canvas» anywhere! Now, I am a big fan of this digital art, and I try, as best I can, to make it known around me, and to break the preconceived image that most people have of this art. Yes! we really paint! only the medium changes! However, my style is different from that of my colleagues who go more towards illustration: I do digital painting as a «traditional» painting, with all the emotions I want to share.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
MP – My style has not changed that much, despite the different mediums I have used (acrylic, oil, watercolor and now digital): it is still centred on people (portraits and bodies), scenes of life, Africa, New York, loneliness, fragility and beauty of the human being, aesthetics. In my works, I try to go beyond the appearance and question the other side of the scene. I would also say that the line, over the last few years, is more assertive and my expression more “unbridled”, even if I still do not reach the desired freedom. For me, this work is like a long journey towards freedom. These past years I have also painted some “militant” paintings: against fat-phobia and the “body positive”, for “my body, my choice”, and against the war in Ukraine. But these paintings remain marginal. My friends find my style eclectic, (probably, because I don’t want to and can’t stay locked up), modern, airy, true and open on the human and the world. Me, in the end, I don’t know. I just paint what moves me in my guts, or what I find “beautiful”, because there is already too much ugliness in this world.
LC – How is your creative process?
MP – My creative process usually comes from a great «appeal»: either I have seen in the news things that bother me and force me to express myself, or I see something very beautiful that I want to appropriate through painting. And I need to create it very quickly, a little to exorcise it. Thanks to my tablet, I paint everywhere: when I arrive early at RDV, in the car, on the beach, and finally every night in front of the TV, because I can’t stay without doing anything! I never go out without my tablet… I also take my inspiration from photos.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
MP – There are several themes, in fact, which I mentioned above: New York and its buildings, the fragility and loneliness of the human being, Africa and its portraits, centred on the characters (portraits and bodies) and the scenes of life; the feminine, the multi-ethnic because we are all citizens of the same world.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
MP – Yes, absolutely. Being a communicator by profession as well as an artist, I can only like this communication platform for contemporary art! I really like this idea of a cultural hub between creatives, exhibition spaces and art lovers. I find organizing events around the world very interesting for artists in a world that I find is closing and shrinking. And I especially appreciate that ITSLIQUID Group supports some of the most important non-profit organizations.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
MP – The theme of the exhibition is “bodyspaces”: the body and space, the human being and the place, and the relationship between humans and buildings. I presented a work where a woman is seen, going towards the Empire State Building (ESB) between two buildings. One can see the spectacular side of the buildings and the fragility, the solitude of this woman; but one can also see the departure from an enclosed space (these 2 walls of buildings) towards the promise of an open and promising horizon, the ESB, so emblematic of New-York. It is perhaps also what represents me the most as an artist: this quest to leave for a more promising place.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MP – Itsiliquid is a professional web platform, a cultural hub between creatives, exhibition spaces and art lovers. Exhibitions and newsletters help many artists take the step of an international exhibition.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MP – Yes, I think so! It helps artists to promote themselves through a professional service.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MP – So far, yes! I have “met”, by email and by phone, a team that is attentive and caring. Giulia helped me to finalize my application in a very friendly way. I only regret that Itsiliquid does not issue a certificate of attendance. So I have no proof of having exhibited at this prestigious exhibition!