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Claudia Pollack was born in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), a country that does not exist anymore. Through political and personal crises and years of not knowing what and how, her path has been a circuitous one. Claudia has moved between desire and mind, ultimately discovering her own inner strength. Throughout her journey of art, her life has been affected by many teachers, showing her the way back to her childish heart. She found it in the sun on the highest mountain top, well aware of the valleys at its feet. Claudia’s art is meant to uplift and portray strength despite the mess that is in the outside world. Her senses are heightened to every kind of beauty. As an artist and a human being, she searches for the positive answers to life’s questions. Claudia notes, “My sense of beauty oscillates between richness, minimalism, figurative art and abstraction. I am a painter who stretches into drawing, playing and collecting new insights to apply later into her paintings. Inspiration comes in the blink of an eye, an inner impression I try to capture in a quick sketch to hold the sensation. I don't think about my art, I feel it. Symbols feature heavily in my work, they come to me when my subconscious mind speaks. Nature offers spiritual inspiration. I like to observe and include it in fragments. For my mixed-media works I use yarns, pearls, fabrics, golden paper, wood and more to create layers that can be experienced and increase the richness of each piece. Portraiture subjects include mostly of women communicating feelings and meanings, building a direct connection with the observer.”

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“Shadows” or “Swimming with Crocodiles” 85×60 cm, Acrylic on MDF, 2019 ©Claudia

Claudia chose “Shadows” as her “mono”. She shares, “This painting marks a turning point in my development as an artist. I started working on it in 2017 when I was pregnant with my second child, who is now almost 4 and my first child is almost 17. So being pregnant again after such a long time, with a new partner was an adventure. I got half through with this painting until I gave birth to my son. The painting is called "Shadows" or "Swimming With Crocodiles" and the subject is all about parts of myself I did not know back then and with a question, if I want to swim with (accept) them? During the first intense time with our new born, my answer to this question developed inside of me. There were a lot of struggles with me and how I want relationships to be like, what I really want and to accept this. When I finally had more time to paint again in 2019, I found pleasure in new abstract forms and with that, a new kind of inspiration too. I also finished this painting quite quickly with a new clarity. This painting is like the edge between my old works and my new works. The woman in this painting now wants to swim with and through the crocodiles and the crocodiles themselves aren’t that scary anymore. Yes, they have sharp teeth, but that's how crocodiles are meant to be.”

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Farangiz Yusupova is an artist born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, currently based in New York. She earned a BFA degree from Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Her works explores ideas of space and home, with influences as diverse as modernist architecture, Indian and Persian miniature paintings, and a love for observing the light. Farangiz’s paintings simultaneously emulate a realm that is familiar and distant where memory and associations also play an important role. Recollections of her past, images of her childhood home, life in Uzbekistan keep resurfacing in her recent body of work. Her paintings evoke a sense of familiarity through touch instead of narrative; there are no figures, only traces of human existence. Farangiz’s work is highly process driven where she allows her compositions to change and evolve on their own, responding to the properties of acrylic and oil paints alongside different mediums.

“Neighbour’s Gift” 52×42 inches, Oil, Acrylic and Oil Pastels on Canvas, 2021 ©Farangiz

Farangiz chose “Neighbour’s Gift” as her “mono”. She shares, “Memory and associations are two most important factors in my work. Feelings of nostalgia engulf me when I look at family photographs and deep inside I want the paintings to elicit the same feelings by using transparent and fractured marks. The idea of home interests and intrigues me. I travel to my childhood house in my thoughts as it evokes the most vivid emotions.”

“Seven years ago, my family and I left our home behind, packing our whole life into a few suitcases. When we moved, we used to crack jokes with my family, that if only we could just lift up our entire house like in the adventure film “Up” and bring it to New York, we would not need anything else to be happy. This concept is particularly perceptible in Neighbour’s Gift, a painting that is based on an old photograph that was acquired at my neighbour’s garage sale. The architecture in the photograph strongly resembles old style houses in the Central Asian region. My neighbour told me that he has travelled to Uzbekistan and spoke the language, despite having no cultural connection to the country. I was fascinated by such a wonderful serendipity. So the photograph became an important relic in the studio and served as a reference image for a tumultuous journey of painting Neighbour’s Gift. The light blue area in the middle was re-worked countless times to create a swirling vortex of memories using pools of thin paint. Neighbour’s Gift has changed the course of direction in my work by being closely intertwined with my own past. I have made paintings before that used photographs as a reference, but in this painting, it was more personal and autobiographical. When I showed the painting to my sister, she said that it reminded her of home; to me it was the ultimate compliment.”

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Lu Meng is a Beijing born artist. She has been studying Chinese Traditional painting since the age of four. She further graduated with a master’s degree in Multimedia from the University of Stirling, UK. She used to be a Documentary Director at the China Center Television. Currently, she is a full-time painter, photographer and promoter of therapeutic art. Lu Meng mostly works under the medium of acrylic paints experimenting her ideas of dreamland, animals and portraiture subjects in expressionist manner. She has been impacted a lot by Chinese traditional Buddhist wall paintings, from which she could see extremely strong and powerful romance and freedom. She is very interested in learning and exploring unlimited and active expressions inspired by Picasso, Munch, Mark and Perrotin, Hockney and Huang Yongyu.

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“Blue Horse”  80×80 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2021 ©Lu Meng

Lu Meng chose “Blue Horse” as her “mono”. She notes, “Blue Horse is my latest work painted in my darkest time, which also is the milestone of my exploring in art creating. The sentence: “Blue Horse, please carry my dream to rush out of the impasse and reach the dreamland”, appeared in my mind which was then attempted to transfer on the canvas. I decided to return to fine arts in my middle age, since then, I have never stopped exploring the paths of my art. 2020 was my darkest time, when I sold no art and experienced confusion and hesitation during the lockdown. On the other hand, 2020 was also the year when I began my new journey, I decided to focus on my art this year and start working on the dreamland theme inspired by the Chinese Traditional Buddhist Wall Painting. I was stunned by the murals of the Northern Wei Dynasty, when I first saw it in my childhood. Now, I follow the roots of enthusiasm in my heart and am dedicated to learning and exploring unlimited and active expression used by my ancestors, which I also take it as a means to escape from the bind in real life. I hope the Blue Horse would carry my dream to rush out of the impasse and reach my dreamland.”

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Yukiko Nakashima is an Asian American artist who currently lives and works in New York City. She was born in Hiroshima, Japan and was brought to the US at the age of thirteen. Her primary focus has been on abstraction with oil-based medium on canvas which connotes to psychological entanglement of being bicultural, the history of Hiroshima, and unverbalized personal narratives. Her paintings call to mind the energy of Abstract Expressionism. The ritualistic manner of Japanese calligraphy and the urgency of the visual voices of street art. Yukiko received a BA from The City College of New York, CUNY in 2000, and a MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey in 2003, after which she has been a part of various exhibitions both online and in-gallery space. Figurative and representational style has been her approach for the past 30 years of her life as an artist, but something internally dramatic happened during the pandemic and her works shifted to abstract art. Abstract art is a type of visual language that is equivocal yet universal, ambiguous but emotional. The gestural marks and the interplay of the colours represent complex psychological narrative and that was what needed to be brought out: the accumulated personal stories of this difficult time, so that they are not suppressed and do not fall into oblivion.

Yukiko chose “Sunrised” as her “mono”. She shares, “My abstract painting is an analysis of memories and psychological states that are commonly shared across human experiences. The work “Sunrised” is a diptych painting that speaks of a personal narrative in an opened-book format. The concept derives from the antithesis of feelings towards a new day: the hope and the anguish. The visceral brush strokes connote to the joy and liveliness, and the dark blue and black marks punctuate to cancel such ambience. The gestural language is playful and elusive, but it is also violent and harsh.”

“This particular work titled “Sunrised” was a turning point in terms of techniques  and overall aesthetic effect – the colours connote to the sunrise itself but with more complex movements of brush strokes to reflect on the personal feelings towards a scene of a new beginning. This painting was created in April of this year, just around when the vaccination for COVID 19 became more widely available, giving us hope for the new day. At the same time, it is also true that not everyone wishes for a new day, and such hidden denial is captured by the darker black marks spread across the canvas. There is always a moment for an artist (although it may not be often) that a work leads the creator for the next step or mark, and those things start to happen rather spontaneously on the surface of a canvas. This was such piece and it gave me a very positive feeling towards studio practice that had to be halted due to the limited access to my studio. I feel that I have started a new phase in my practice with the mixed feelings of pure joy and still remaining stubborn anxiety.”

“Sunrised”  68×48 inches, Oil on Canvas, 2021 ©Yukiko

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Kateryna Bortsova

Kateryna Bortsova is a painter and graphic artist. In her works, Kateryna focuses on themes of the female body, modern consumption society and reflects her view on the modern-fake reality. One of the main thesis of her project is that in the modern world not everything is what we think, many things have different meanings; and sometimes it is difficult to understand the true essence of things today. Kateryna thinks that art means confrontation between life and aesthetics and it is a hard struggle for both of them. She believes that keeping up with ephemera fashion shall not serve as a factor of art work modernity. A statement that humans shall study and develop oneself for a whole life impresses her very much. She considers that a talented person is obliged to find out something new throughout their life, to reach new more tops. If it ceases to develop oneself it will have nothing more to say to the audience by means of its works.

“Dance of Life”  250×150 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2020 ©Kateryna

Kateryna chose “Dance of Life” as her “mono”. She says, “This work was made during the time I spent at one of the Canarias Islands. This Island is situated far from touristic places. So I made this work being in double self-isolation – one – official quarantine; second – geographical and social distance. In this work I displayed allegory to our life; her cyclic recurrence.”

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Fazar Roma Agung Wibisono

Fazar Roma is an artist from Bandung, Indonesia. He pursued academic degree in the College of Fine Arts and Design to further learn about techniques of art, practices of materials and knowledge of understanding paper work and canvas, studying various mediums of colours and many more. In terms of professional practice, he enjoys using technical artforms such as surrealism, cartoony, lowbrow, symbolism and semi-realistic techniques in his paintings. He is now a freelance painter and pursuing a career as a full-time artist.

“A New Beat from a Dead Heart”  21.8×14.5 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2019 ©Fazar Roma

Fazar Roma chose “A New Beat from a Dead Heart” as his “mono”. He says, “replanting seeds from scratch, to make one of the many things in nature that have been left behind in urban communities, such as destruction, logging, deforestation, replanting is not an easy matter to start with, because of the land and area. By starting to replant various kinds of trees, they can be a bit of a help to the surrounding air even though there will be a little change in the climate experience at present, it will always change, because this nature will continue to change, depending on what is becoming, a selection.”

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Barbara Schneider is a designer, illustrator and multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Germany who carries great passion for toys, children literature, fashion, textiles, printmaking and photography. Some of the themes of her works include planet re-design, childhood and discussion of humanity, our modern life, and our world culture.

“Born Free or Happily Ever After”  19.5×14.5 cm,

Mixed-Media, Photo-Etching, Intaglio on Paper, 2010 ©Barbara

Barbara chose “Born Free or Happily Ever After” as her “mono”. She shares, “The environment/climate change and children´s rights are currently discussed more deeply worldwide, but LOVE, PEACE, and the right to PLAY are also still very important for children and a fulfilling future. Born Free or happily Ever After - illustrates the rights and desires of every child like the right to love, education, art and (pursuit of) happiness, play, and healthy life, special care and protection and emphasize the necessity to live peacefully forever. It is a call for a peaceful, healthy and happy future!”

So much art & So little time!


© 2021 by, Aishwarya Kulkarni

All rights reserved.

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