Interview with Gia Strauss
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
I was three years old when I was first asked - what do you want to be when you are an adult? my answer was an artist. For me being an artist takes a number of forms: I am a pianist and compose my own compositions and play classical music, I produce films and oil paintings.
My first experience of performing was at 5 years of age, ballet dancing. My father, being an artist himself, recognised my painting ability and encouraged me to paint. My first real attempt at artistic expression occurred when I studied acting at the age of 17, I discovered different ways of expression on stage and on the canvas. I began by expressing my private emotions which at the time were mostly painful due to personal difficulties at the time. I developed a need to do so.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
I am an artist who loves life and am passionate about everything, I live in my own surreal world, my paintings, my films and my music are my reflections on, comments about, and reactions to the ever-changing world of the second decade of the 21st century. I portray myself mainly in different aspects that reveals my opinion about certain things or taboo subjects.
My work is multifaceted in line with the different aspects of my personality. Even I may not anticipate the way in which I might react to a given stimulus either in terms of medium (painting, music or film) or the precise nature of that response. I tend to react in the moment, feeling my way before reaching for the logic of strategy.
My art work can be absurd, surreal and touch upon taboo subjects, particularly with regard to different aspects of consumption.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration is a very precious commodity! It maybe found almost anywhere! An incident on the street, a news story, a personal event in present day or an event from history.
Then again, I admire the work of a wide variety of artists both living and dead and they too offer inspiration of a different kind. Interestingly, given my involvement with different forms of expression, I might get visual inspiration from a piece of music - or the other way around.
I don’t try to rationalise the impulses that stimulate inspiration, but merely accept them gratefully!
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
The instantaneous, immediate response to any creative work is almost always emotional. Logic and rational assessment may follow. But I treasure that initial burst of emotion, whatever it may be! Like most artists I want to generate strong feelings in the viewing public of my work. Naturally I would like those feelings to be positive. But frankly, I’ll take any reaction, good or bad, rather than being ignored!
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
Frankly, I do not believe that an art work can ever be finished, personally I reach a point where I think that enough is enough, my ability to push it further at this point seems to be limited and any additional work to it may destroy what I believe I have achieved at the time. However, in retrospect sometimes it looks better than I originally anticipated or worse. In each case I leave it. A finished art work means for me that I have exhausted all the emotional possibilities for me, if I will be pleased with each piece I will not try again to get a better result.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
I am very much carried along by the spirit of my work, by the surge of energy that infuses a new project. I have just completed an assignment that highlights some of the characteristics of the digital age in which we live. I’m very excited about this painting, and satisfied with the finished work. But equally, I’m deeply involved with the development of a new film and that too represents the breaking of new ground for my work in this area. Finally, to complicate the answer even more, I’m halfway through a new composition that a number of people feel might be my best work to date. So I think I would have to say that the most exciting moment in my career is right now!
Every production is exciting by itself at the time. In 2017 I had an exhibition at the Chelsea Town Hall where I sold all 10 of my paintings in one night, that was very exciting.
When one of my films was chosen for a film festival at the Groucho club earlier this year it was very exciting. But also rejected art can be exciting, for instance I had a poster in Russel Square tube station for an exhibition at Victoria House in March rejected due to the revealing of Venus De Milo’s body, I was annoyed at first but on second thoughts I was pleased because I knew that I had done something striking.
How long does it take to produce one work?
What’s that famous question: “How long is a piece of string?” Well, it all depends on a myriad of factors starting with the nature of the medium (painting, music or film making) and then the nature of the project. In some instances I’ve completed paintings in a few days, then again there are a couple of assignments that have been months in the making and are still unfinished! The same is true of my music and my films. For the most part, the nature of the task dictates the timing.
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks? At present I am working on self image, aspects of myself that can be expressed to the world through film, music, paintings and myself on a daily basis. I am living my art through different aspects of me.
As outlined above, I’m presently involved with a wide variety of projects: there are two different series of paintings underway (I’m midway through one and have just begun the other), I’m shooting a new film next week, and at the same time I’m trying to finish my new composition. Additionally, there is another daily mission in which I’m thoroughly engaged and that relates to aspects of self-image.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
I will be participating in a group exhibition under the title Digital Art at the Herrick Gallery as part of Mayfair art weekend, the 26th of June. My poster will be shown in Hyde Park Corner tube station.
Where do you see your art going in five years?
An impossible question! But I’ll take a shot at it. I believe that powerful artistry of any description transcends the hubbub of daily life. It commands immediate recognition and that in itself underscores the authenticity of the work. What I am aiming to do both now and in the future is to portray through the prism of my work (paintings, music and film) an evocative but relevant perspective of the times in which we live. In five years I am hoping to finish my PHD. If I can achieve that I will have accomplished my goals.