People relate more through social media platforms in our progressively technological society. We at ART AFRICA are extending an invitation to artists from the African diaspora to use our Instagram account as a platform to give us their viewpoint as an artist, showcase their work, art-making process, studios and current exhibitions.
We are proud to introduce our second artist, Alexia Vogel, who took over our Instagram account the 3 – 7 July 2017. She is a Michaelis School of Fine Arts graduate and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Alexia Vogel in front of En Route. 2017. Photograph by Vanessa Cowling. Image courtesy of Alexia Vogel.
ART AFRICA: Nature seems to play a prominent role in your work especially the element of water. Could you please expand on what caused you to take on this approach?
Alexia Vogel: As mentioned in my Instagram takeover, I rely on the fluidity of the paint and the way it falls, seeps and stains the canvas to direct the beginning of the painting. It is the actual quality of the ‘turpsy’ paint that ends up pooling in interesting ways and results in a more figurative depiction of water.
I rarely work directly from source images. I work a lot from my imagination and I think it is the dreamy memories of places I’ve been to, or seen in photographs, that first ignited my love for depicting landscapes and nature.
Being a Cape Town based artist, how has the local environment and your education at Michaelis influenced your style and ultimate decision in creating the specific art that you do?
I began to use a lot of turpentine at Michaelis, where we were encouraged to ‘loosen up’ and a few of us did so by thinning our paint to a liquid form. Emphasis was also placed on mark-making, and I think that has really stuck with me, allowing me to focus more on the process and less on the subject.
The local environment has mostly just been a great encouragement. Painting is really thriving in Cape Town and there are so many talented artists using the medium. It is always inspiring to see the different approaches to painting, and I think it is important to keep looking at art within our local context.
Out of the large variety of mediums available in the art sphere, why have oil-based paints become your tool of choice among so many other modern art forms?
Oil paint is just so yum! I love what it does with turpentine as a glaze, its rich colour and the pigment’s ability to separate from the oil. It also allows me to remove a lot of paint from the surface to expose the canvas beneath, using turps as a tool for erasure. I would not be able to achieve this with other media.
Your work has gained widespread recognition around South Africa, and in 2016 an international exhibition of ‘Yonder’ took place in Australia. When did you start to discover your passion for fine art and in addition when did you decide to pursue it?
Throughout school I was always the most passionate about my art projects, but it was only in third year at Michaelis that I decided to pursue being an artist as a career. It was never really an option in my mind before, even though I loved painting and making things. I think it was the combination of good lecturers, inspiring studio mates and a tough yet enjoyable degree that drove my pursuit.
Growing up in the era of the internet and being a relatively young artist, what are your thoughts surrounding social media and applications such as Instagram and Facebook playing such a large role in the promotion of contemporary art?
I think it has completely changed the way art and the artist are seen. It has given so much more power and control to the artist, allowing them to share insight into their processes and life, making them more approachable and human.
Social media gives us so much more access to other art, artists and galleries now. We have the chance to discover and interact with artists from all across the world and I think that is really exciting.