In conversation with Hamburg artist Ilona Schmidt.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest in the arts?
My constant interest in the different individual human characteristics and peculiarities and my enthusiasm for art led to the decision to start independent studies and to take a path of continuous self-optimisation and refinement of my own techniques. So my development can be described as a kind of journey through the world of art, in which I can always get to know new people, techniques, places and impressions.
Can you talk about the influences upon your work?
Life itself, the fascination that lies in the detail of social interaction, supposedly small things that others may not notice: these leave me with a deep emotional imprint, which I translate into works of art with the skills I have learned.
Your work is very raw and immediate. Can you talk about the themes you are exploring through this?
My goal is to express my thoughts and ideas on various topics such as environment, fragility or questions of belonging, through the use of different methods, to allow viewers of my art a different way of understanding.
Because of the unconventional nature of the painting and the unadulterated reproduction of my thoughts, I also try to bring problematic topics such as questions of social injustice, transience of being, death and also strong emotions such as anger and grief to a more direct, emotional level of communication. In doing so, I embark on a form of self-study in which I grapple with current questions and ideas and use the emotions that are released to give the topics greater personal significance and new relevance.
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, and is there a particular pattern?
The entire process of creating one of my works is as diverse as are my works themselves.
This is because I allow every impression, or rather every emotion, the same amount of space. This also means that every inspiration requires a different approach. For the most part, I let my intuition guide me in my work and do without classic methods such as scripts or sketches. My process of creating is thus the fusion of the manifestation of what I have experienced in my thoughts and my own intuitive creative wealth of experience. There is a recurring pattern in the approach to a new project alone: Be open, in a positive tension, ready to venture into new areas of your own world of thought and creativity.
How do you balance personal work with commissioned work?
I prefer not to do commissioned work because it limits the creative process.
However, I am more positive about orders that correspond to my portfolio and leave me a certain amount of room for manoeuvre.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?
The one thing does not exclude the other.
Immersing yourself in the creative process is a feeling that can be described as a kind of change into another world. When my impressions and emotions take shape through the colours and materials, it triggers a deep relaxation that is difficult to grasp, but is based directly on the experience of communicating on a different level.
I attribute a therapeutic benefit to any kind of artistic activity, since art, whether painting, music, sculpture or other things, is used to process and cope with one’s own emotions, especially those that are difficult to put into words.