Simon Casson

Artist Simon Casson
Photo: Sheridan Casson

Have you ever stood and gazed at a painting that you have been so captivated by, the narrative taking hold of every emotion in you, the landscape resonating all sorts of memories and desires.  Wherever you have had this experience, it resonates a profound sense of awe, that will most likely stay with you forever.  The landscape of Simon’s work is a multifaceted layering of this experience, his paintings, a stroll through museums from anywhere you can imagine, wandering through the old halls of an eclectic mix of Titian, Rubens, Gainsborough, Le Brun, Diego Velazquez or Orazio Gentileschi.  However, there is one catch, Simon’s skill with the paintbrush almost fooling you, one could be convinced that his works are extracts from the originals of those classics; creating a montage or collage effect.  These artworks are all original Casson paintings; assembled to create a landscape of poetic narrative.  It doesn’t stop there, he then combines a contemporary medium of blurring, cutting away elements with hard angles and blunt edges.  His paintings, appear layered up; the whole is a complete modern art form, with all the romance, colour, nostalgia and emotion of a baroque painting, capturing the same textures of silk dresses and garments and the opulence of floristry and romance.

Artwork by Simon Casson
Spirity and Spire I by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Auverlooked by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Frandish by Simon Casson

Born in the UK Simon spent a big chunk of his childhood in Zambia.  When I ask him if the country influenced his work at all he concretely says “no” although he does emphasise the vast landscapes and “a profound sense of green”.  I ask him if he knew he would be an artist when he was young, again he says no, he was not aware of his talent as a boy, although he does recall being top in the class at drawing and that he loved drawing trees.  He then mentions making cars out of wire; which if you have been to Africa you will have seen plenty of wire artworks.  He wanted to be a Game Guard and protect animals from poachers in Africa.  However it was a visit to the National Gallery in London and the painting of Bacchus and Adriane by Titian, that really had a profound impact on the young 10 year old Casson.  By now he was back in the UK attending a boarding school in Cumbria, over the next few years his interest in art developed.

Artwork by Simon Casson
Fretchety II by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Smeech and Vairn by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Vore-noon by Simon Casson

By the time he was 16, he decided he wanted to attend art college. He began with a foundation at Barnsley College of Art and Design; followed by the Rotterdam Acadamie van Beelden Kunsten, an undergraduate Scholarship in the Netherlands.  Returning to the United Kingdom, he attended the Exeter College of Art and Design.  He then completed a BA with First Class Honours in Fine Art at Central St Martins College of Art and Design.  Followed by The London Institute, Central School of Printmaking he completed a Postgraduate Diploma and then the Royal Academy Schools, the Royal Academy of Arts with an MA in Painting.

Artwork by Simon Casson
Keeve by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Ablement and Ablish by Simon Casson, commissioned by the Cadogan Hotel

Simon began teaching Fine Art when he left Art college.  He additionally became involved in prints, finding big sheets of steel from building sites, creating etchings by hand to make a print, along with zinc plates from builders scrap yards, exhibiting the artworks at the Royal Academy.  Now he paints primarily with oil on canvas, his style significant and recognisable.  He defines it beautifully “It’s like looking in the mirror, you recognise yourself and know who you are” his works are sold all over the world including the future king of England, H.R.H The Prince of Wales who owns two of Casson’s paintings, as well as commissions for the legendary Cadogan and Savoy Hotels.  His work has been auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York, 17 awards including the Royal Academy medal for painting.  I fist encountered his work at the Long and Ryle Gallery in central London in Pimlico.  He has had plenty of other solo exhibitions around the world, most recently the USA and filling one of the largest art galleries in Canada with his work.

Artwork by Simon Casson
Savoyards by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Lupercalia, Ilia II by Simon Casson
Artwork by Simon Casson
Anby by Simon Casson

Casson’s method is poetic he explains, he works on the aesthetic renaissance of the figure, bringing it into the 21century, painting more like poetry “When you read a poem” he explains “reading it over and over; when you re-read the poem 5 to 10 years later it has a different meaning” he emphasises.  As with his artworks, walking away for a time and then coming back to it.  Interestingly his inspirations are additionally abstract contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer and William De Kooning, Frank Stella as well as landscapes by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.  Cross pollinating from different mediums, film, poetry and photography he explains, borrowing from one discipline to another, blurring boundaries finding visual inspirations from various fields.  He references film director Peter Greenway’s contemporary films, like A Zed and Two Noughts, and that emotions of post modernism excite him.  Simon’s style is an alternative version of modern art, escaping from concept art, that has been taking hold of the art world for a couple of decades, with advertising executives like Charles Saatchi, becoming collectors and art dealers.

Artwork by Simon Casson
The Great Daedale by Simon Casson

He moved away from London, after  spending 11 years in the city between 1988-1999.  He now lives in Somerset with his wife and three daughters, with their chickens, and other animals, however he visits London regularly, and with each visit, he goes back to the National Gallery, where his journey began.  He is still in love with sitting amongst those Greek Gods, and still visits Bacchus and Adriane.   

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

portrait of artist Simon Casson
Photo: Sheridan Casson

Nikoleta Sekulovic

portrait of artist Nikoleta Sekulovic
Photo courtesy of Nikoleta Sekulovic

We are all intrigued by the naked form, it’s what expresses the vulnerability of being human, we come into the world this way.  The larger than life paintings of naked mothers, all slightly turning away from the viewer; encapsulate the beauty of the female form in all her shapes.  The gentle curves of the voluptuous, the body language in how we sit, lie and hold ourselves.  Nikoleta’s paintings are life drawings with life painted into them, and it’s what makes them so unique, her subtle use of colour, her style encapsulating the differing characters of each of these women, all in the brush strokes of the skin.   The kindred spirit of all who have experienced the journey of becoming a mother along with all the gifts and sacrifices motherhood encompasses.  How mothers can feel like the unseen, yet are the centre of the universe to the children they bring into this world.  Nikoleta’s paintings highlight this part of womanhood, to be seen, how our lovers may look at us or how our bodies communicate with the world around us.

SANDRA artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
SANDRA by Nikoleta Sekulovic
MICOL artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
MICOL by Nikoleta Sekulovic
TOSCA artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
TOSCA by Nikoleta Sekulovic

Being naked reveals who we are, when we haven’t exercised enough, or when we have comforted ourselves with too many midnight snacks, when we feel fit and invigorated, or fragile and tired.  Nikoleta’s personalties come to life.  Her paintings are mostly from the back, nudes have been sexualised for so many centuries, she tells me.  No distractions with face, breast and other parts, each muse still recognises themselves.  The only clue is in the hair, that gives life to the person that may be seated or laying softly, with her naked body, portraying the very essence of who she is.

AGNODICE OF ATHENS artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
AGNODICE OF ATHENS by Nikoleta Sekulovic
ODYSSEY artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
ODYSSEY by Nikoleta Sekulovic

I am interviewing Nikoleta whilst she is on a working holiday in New Zealand with her family, we are talking as she sees her children off to school.  She explains that she is giving her daughters a different experience in New Zealand.  She has been living in Madrid for the last 18 years and that’s where they call home.  She is a bit of what I would call an international, her father from Serbia and her mother from Germany.  Nikoleta was born in Rome, her parents moved to Switzerland when she was three and that’s where she grew up.  Spending most of her childhood up in the idyllic mountains, skiing every weekend.  Her education at the French and then Italian schools, followed by the international school in Geneva.  She always painted often pretending to be sick so she could stay home and paint, everyone around her always commenting on her artistic ability.  She did graduate at the International Baccalaureate in art, however she was put off by the art department.  She felt the teachers kept on telling her how to be an artist, a different structure compared to how she wanted to work, describing her style as “a gut feeling”.

ISOKRATIA artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
ISOKRATIA by NIkoleta Sekulovic
Hydna of Scione ny Nikoleta Sekulovic
HYDNA OF SCIONE by Nikoleta Sekulovic
MAYA artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
MAYA by Nikoleta Sekulovic

So she continued her nomadic life, ignoring her obvious talent as a painter, and left Switzerland at 18 to pursue a career as an actor.  Surprisingly she admits to being always a very shy child, acting is by all accounts a very extrovert and social profession, however she always liked the spotlight, therefore going against her natural persona.  She went the extra mile to study acting in Exeter in the UK then Paris for five years, somehow she didn’t fear the stage as an actor, Nikoleta explains.  One year in London, then to New York, where she was asked to illustrate children’s books; 100 paintings in total.  Although her focus at the time, was her acting career, which lasted 18 years.  Her performances often involved, speaking in Italian, French and English.  She could also play the piano, and her desire to be with people; she started to attend the jazz clubs in New York.  Although, fearful of singing, her next adventure was as a singer on the jazz scene, even though her boyfriend at the time told her she couldn’t sing.  Almost as personal challenge to herself she started singing on stage as she stumbled upon a restaurant and joined a band.  However, she points out that she was always stressed before going on stage.

NEREID artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
NEREID by Nikoleta Sekulovic
SOLON artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
SOLON by Nikoleta Sekulovic

As a singer she became a regular at the jazz clubs and that’s where she met her husband, her biggest fan.  He came regularly just to watch and listen to her.  They now have two daughters and  have been together for 20 years.  She confesses that being a mother was her next big fear.  Motherhood did end her acting career Nikoleta confesses.  Her children took her to the next level she explains; as an actor and singer she always felt she was swimming up-stream, by returning to fine art she felt she was going with the stream.  She never tries to be perfect whereas  she tried to be perfect as an actor, she explains.

HYPNOS artwork by Nikoleta Sekulovic
HYPNOS by Nikoleta Sekulovic

Nikoleta describes being an artist as like being a beginner, because she came into it very intuitively.  She always had an agility with the paint brush.  Although she did go to art school, she defines herself as self taught, her inspirations Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha.  Nikoleta started her series of paintings, when she asked a friend to pose for her, her friend brought her lively dog.  Nikoleta started taking images of the moments with her camera, and so she began her series of paintings.  All of them mothers, as they were her friends.  This led to her commissions and it took off, now she has collectively painted about 200 mothers.  She managed to publish a book of her artworks, presented the works which led to solo shows in Madrid, New York, Paris, as well as with prominent galleries in London.  Most recently she has had two exhibitions with the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in the West End of London.  This is where I discovered her work, they had a stall at the London Art Fair, I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw her painting.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

portrait of artist Nikoleta Sekulovic
Photo courtesy of Nikoleta Sekulovic

Masayoshi Nojo

Artist Masayoshi Nojo
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

If you have ever driven past a forest at night, when the full moon is out and thought about pulling over in your car to walk through the trees in the moonlight, something probably stopped you, in most cases a bit of fear.  Artist Masayoshi has re-created this foreboding of darkness with the experience, of immersing yourself in this mystery of being lost in the silver and shadiness of tall shadowy trees.  A forest where things are hidden is replaced with the true beauty of this natural phenomenon.  The forms of forest foliage picking up the rays of moonbeams, in an array of iridescent reflection as it glimmers and glows, immersing you in shadowy forms that engulf you, much like our childhood fiction.  You can almost feel the presence of souls and spirits, as your imagination journeys with the cavorting light in the night of nature.  Especially when standing in front of his six meter forest.  The body of work ranges in scale and size as he focuses on other forms of nature as light leaps on top of leaves, or the moonlight in the opening of the woods with the softness of water at night.  Hints of yellow gold and shades of green resonate through in a delicate dance.  The body of work is currently displayed at the JD Malat gallery in Mayfair, London.  The space itself lends to the experience of Masayoshi’s giant artwork.

Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #45 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #46 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight, Mirage by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #36 by Masayoshi Nojo

The method of his creations is what gives them this immersive and luminous quality.  Inspired by his walks in the deep forests, surrounding the Meiji shrine, located in Shibuya, Tokyo.  Masayoshi explains that 70% of Japan’s landscape is mountains, mostly covered with woodland. His artworks identify with Japanese culture, embracing the natural phenomena of nature, a very popular motive in Japanese art, he explains.  Paintings of flowers and blossoms and the use of gold and silver leaf on artworks going as far back to the Azuchi–Momoyama period from 1573 to 1615.  However most notably Ogata Korin from the 17 century Edo period, famous for his blooms on gold leaf and marbled silver rivers.  The changing colours of the metal through oxidisation over time, that has become so symbolic in Japanese art.  It is this very combination of the influence in the elements in Korins work reflecting the passing of time, combined with the western contemporary approach in Masyoshi’s work that is so extraordinary.  It is reflected in this multifaceted layering.  He first creates a marbled base made of acrylic, then he photographs the natural environment of the woodlands, emphasising the passage of time with the use of metal leafs.  Images can vary from the time of day, the weather changing the lighting and ambience, therefore the art is influenced by the effects of time, Masayoshi explains.

Under the Moonlight, Mirage by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #44 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight, Mirage by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #47 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #48 by Masayoshi Nojo

Masayoshi works on his images in photoshop, manipulating the photographs, which are then transferred via silk screen printing onto the acrylic marbled base; inspired by the traditional techniques used to create patterns on Kimonos.  He does the screen printing himself, creating a multi faceted depth to the works and then additionally applies silver and aluminium leaf.  Refining the intricacy of light and shadow.  He describes at as a ‘mirage’ depending on how the light effects the artworks, a perception of time, the relationship of memory using light to transform the reality of the artwork.  He references “wabi-sabi” a world centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, the aesthetic in Japanese culture, that beauty is in all things, even those that are imperfect. This appreciation of change is reflected in his materials and his process of creating the art.

Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #43 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #40 by Masayoshi Nojo
Under the Moonlight by Masayoshi Nojo
Mirage #42 by Masayoshi Nojo

Remarkably, Masayoshi reveals that he made the screen printer himself, the actual machine, he explains it was cost effective to make it himself, which he keeps in his one of his two studios in Tokyo.  He was born in  Kanagawa, in 1989, to an artistic family.  I ask him if always knew he would be an artist, and he reveals, his early years as a boy he was always painting, the only member of the family who isn’t a professional musician.  His mother a piano and music teacher, along with his sister a professional violinist and his brother plays both the violin and guitar.  However undecided on his career choice, Masayoshi went to an academic school and he didn’t paint during this period.  His mother did encourage him to paint; after graduating from high school, he decided on the Kyoto University of Art and Design to study Fine Art for four years, along with a masters for two years in art and design.  During his masters in 2014, he made his first visit to London, inspired by the museums, galleries and art fairs the experience left an impression, “There were so many differences from Japan” he explains and decided that he wanted to exhibit in this city famous for its diversity.  Additionally Masayoshi is Influenced by artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Michael Borremans, Olafur Eliasson,On Kawar and Rudolf Stingel.

JD Malat gallery
‘Under the Moonlight’ by Masayoshi Nojo at the JD Malat Gallery
JD Malat Gallery
‘Under the Moonlight’ by Masayoshi Nojo at the JD Malat Gallery

Masayoshi’s work has appeared in various art galleries in Tokyo.  However in the spring of 2018, is when visionary and internationally recognised Art Dealer Jean-David Malat discovered Masayoshi’s work at the Volta NY in New York, US.  Jean-David exhibits contemporary artists in his gallery, advocating the emerging and modern talents, to some of the most prominent collectors. That vision Masayoshi had as a student, has become a reality, now exhibiting at the JD Malat Gallery, in Mayfair.  The series of work, his ‘Mirage’ titled, Under the Moonlight his first solo show. 

The exhibition runs until the 15 February 2020, at the JD Malat Gallery just next door to Claridge’s. 

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Artist Masayoshi Nojo
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Sara Pope

Photo Portrait of artist Sara Pope
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

When we walk down the road and smile at a stranger, or sit in a coffee shop sipping on hot coffee and talk to our friend sitting opposite us.  We don’t necessarily think about our lips, maybe only to apply lipstick or to moisturise them when they are dry.  Actually our face has a significant amount of information in every detail, how our faces communicate is what fascinates contemporary artist Sara.  She has narrowed it down though and is concentrating on just lips.  We may notice those lips, when you watch the news reader discuss the topics of the day, or the musician on stage as their mouth touches the microphone, or that sensuous excitement the moment you stare at a someones lips just before you are about to kiss them.  Her pop art style entices the very essence of the mouth.  Beautiful sumptuous full bodied kissable lips, mischievous lips, shy lips, nervous lips, sexy, deliciously glamorous and erotic lips.  In flamboyant reds on gold, sparkling diamonds on pinks, baby neon blues and black there is something devilishly dramatic in her art, with a sophisticated edge.

Neon lips artwork by Sara Pope
LIT by Sara Pope
Contemporary Neon lips artwork
MIAMI REALNESS by Sara Pope

When I first meet Sara, it’s almost obvious that she would be the artist, as I enter the Turner Barnes gallery in the affluent Brentwood.  Standing tall and elegant amongst her rainbow of red paintings displayed on the fresh white walls, she brings me some water as we sit down to talk.  Her lips are painted red and I am immediately looking at them as we start to chat about communication.  She started her first collection about ten years ago, her fascination with the human face are her inspirations.  Her portraits of elderly women in New York resonate that desire to transform ourselves, next a series of distorted paintings of glamours women with applied make-up, particularly resonate the influence of Francis Bacon.  Expression, it all comes through the face she explains, you don’t even have to say anything, “it’s the curl of a lip!” and Sara demonstrably curls her lip up.  She is equally fascinated with how people modify themselves.  How make-up and dressing changes the way you feel, it’s transformative, and we discuss a time when this was the only way women could express themselves and communicate, especially with each other.

Lips artworks by Sara Pope
BOSS by Sara Pope
Artwork by Sara Pope in CAKE
APHRODITE by Sara Pope
portrait of artist Sara Pope
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Sara grew up in the industrial town of Stoke on Trent near Manchester, not a visually striking place as she describes it, and although she loved to draw from a young age and had a love for fashion and make-up.  She went on to have a very academic education.  School was terrible for art, where she grew up, dry and boring, is how she explains it.  However Sara was particularly excellent in maths and she has a degree in Mathematics.  Her mother was a teacher and her father a computer scientist who headed a computer firm, ahead of his time, leading the way in the computer science industry.  They retired at 50, moving to Spain.  She tells me how when she visited Barcelona at 21 that she decided her path was in the creative industry so she made the choice to live in this beautiful city and applied for a short course in Graphic and design.  Always fascinated with how people dressed and expressed themselves and how it changes the way you feel.  Sara returned to London and started working in the magazine industry as an Art Director and designer.  Addressing her passion for fashion, she became an avid collector of Vintage shoes and clothes and then created a vintage shop with parties selling her precious finds. Then she met a fashion designer who invited her to design a collection of shoes.

neon artwork of lips by Sara Pope
SPOILER ALERT by Sara Pope
Modern Lips artwork by Sara Pope
PSYCHO CANDY by Sara Pope

This incredible turn in her life led to a degree at the London College of Fashion graduating as a shoe designer, drawing shoes and working for many years in the industry, for designers such as Paul Smith, as well as projects for brands like Zara designing for catwalks, in Spain and Paris.  As she talks to me about her career in shoe design, I am thinking to myself, this has got be the perfect job, however Sara didn’t feel she was fully expressing herself.  She secretly started dabbling in her own art, “I felt compelled to start painting” so Sara started teaching herself how to paint, working with oils and acrylic, diluted, blending and reapplied to create a smooth effect, that in some cases her lips look so realistic you think it’s a photo.

Artwork of lips by Sara Pope
SCARLET STARLET by Sara Pope
Contemporary artwork of lips
VILLANELLE by Sara Pope

Inspired by perfection of the finished image, she works with models, taking photographs of her subjects expressing themselves, then amplifies the mouth, it’s super slick, ultra polished all creating an illusion and influenced by working in the magazine industry.  It becomes even more fascinating when you look at the mathematics behind of what is regarded as beauty or perfection, some plastic surgeons work with the theory of the symmetry of the Golden ratio. Arguably some may disprove this notion of what is beautiful, but it’s interesting nonetheless.  There is equally another theory of the ratio between things the Rule of thirds, this applies to the composition of paintings, photography or graphic design. Don’t forget Sara is also a mathematician. Then she quotes Galileo “Nature is written in the language of maths”.  Sara may no longer work in the fashion industry, she has made a name for herself an artist, exhibiting in galleries around the world.  A current project with Tiger Heart Creative, is taking her to another dimension, an Artificial intelligence (AI) experience.  A large scale hologram of lips and viewers can have a conversation with these AI lips, and the conversation can go anywhere.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photoshoot location and cakes courtesy of Turner Barnes Gallery

Photography by Antoinette Haselhorst
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

portrait of artists Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Anne’s artworks are so interesting in that her collage is ultimately a personal journey in time, combined with an almost fixated observation of human behaviours. Exploring the attic of her grandmother’s old home and discovering old photographs from the 1960s and 70s. They represent a modern timeless quality in as such that our society at present has almost shifted into a nostalgia of the simplicity and elegance of this period; which makes Anne’s works so captivating.  Much of her collage cut outs are a Namibian history lesson of a time in our society, it has that resonance of the old colonialism of young Europeans exploring their new conquests, learning to integrate in their alien environments, embracing the new and marking their territories with a naïveté and youthful arrogance.  You can imagine what it must have been like, the excitement and challenges.  Depicting a time when we were free to rebel and pushed forward new ideas, how we changed the world without knowing the consequences in our vigorous candour. That real time is what Anne manipulates, it is to create art so controversial it will raise your eyebrows.

collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Lets Take a Dive by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Giraffes and Dirt Roads by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Hanging on a Dream by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

It’s when she discovered her grandmother’s old photographs, she started creating her collage art, capturing moments of her life in Namibia, juxtaposed with her life in London. It’s the comparative of the then and now.  Her observations of two alien cultures trying to exist together.  What fascinates her is people’s responses.  How some from the different countries react to her works, a Londoner being shocked with an artwork of a hyena with a woman in her mouth and Namibian shocked by a woman exposing herself.  Most of her work is unconscious, 85% of her time cutting out all sorts of images and in a meditative state the artworks come together.  Anne always appropriates things, making weird combinations of the little resources in Africa, that you use everything and then Anne draws reference, how poor people will find old tins cans, plastic bottles, lids anything and create artefacts which they sell to survive.  We talk about mass media and how it’s only relevant for five minutes, but she gives them another lease of life.

Homoerotic/Homeland Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Homoerotic/Homeland by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Daydreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Flower Girl by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Born and raised in the harsh Namibian landscapes in Otjiwarongo, which translates into ‘where the Cattle graze’.  She did grow up in the centre of nature in the middle of a cattle farm, where she was taught to hunt antelopes, in an environment where death was different.  You learnt to hunt your meal.  She recalls she once killed a Kudu with a gun and she can still remember the feeling of guilt she felt.  All the meat was used, it fed 30 workers. This relationship with nature and how taking a life to feed is treated with respect.  This reality of life combining the wilds of natural Africa, living with indigenous people from this part of the world, within the time of European integration.  She remembers the Chagall painting hanging above her parents bed.  Her mother was a Goldsmith and her father a designer and maker of fur coats. Both her parents, creative hippies, as she describes them, until they moved to run her grandparent’s cattle farm.  Anne attended the University of Stellenbosch, in Cape Town were she studied Fine Art and graduated with Honours.  Her works in Sculpture, installation, photography, and video work, are what inspired her at the time, “I couldn’t draw, or paint”  Anna sighs.

collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Sheep for Sleep by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Shy Wild collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Ball Games by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Day Dreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Farmers Hangover by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

After Anne’s fine art degree, she decided to come to London, she came to do a gap year 13 years ago, and fell in love with the energy, there is always something going on, she explains.  Eventually moving to the UK permanently, her graduate work was just video art at the time.  She started work as a runner for a film production company in Soho, then junior editor, before long she was editor for the film company for three years.  She was always interested in storytelling, however she felt the work was too commercial and not very creative working on day time television programs and decided she didn’t want to sit in a dark room any more.  So Anne applied for an MA at Central St Martins, and after one year of courses across the board, she applied for a job posted at the University and started teaching Media Techniques; in adobe photo shop and other media softwares.  She loved the teaching Anne emphasises, but then explains how she became disillusioned with the politics and began to focus more on her own art.  Anne has a business mind and as a freelance artist she bolsters her income with mobile network apps for summer music festivals and then she tells me of a business making fake snow for film and TV.  They dress huge areas for film sets, including the renewal of the film Murder on the Orient express.

collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Colonial Kid By Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Gagging the Outlaw by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Then Anne expresses how African artists influenced her, it’s how they see things she exclaims, and we talk about the Shona Sculptures carved with Soap stone, the modern art movement originally from Zimbabwe and how these carvers took their skills to other parts of Southern Africa, many European artists including Picasso and Matisse were heavily influenced by these artists as well.  Anne resonates, that Southern African artists have a political agenda in their work, it reflects their society, huge aspects of humour in their approach to art.  This is what is essential to Anne’s work, it’s controversial, non mainstream, with somewhat humorous topics, from random dark fetishes and ideals, to the psychology behind people and what makes people different.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photography portrait of artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Serena Korda

Artist installation art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

The first installation work I viewed by Serena, I was mesmerised by a gigantic puppet show, with a giant monster that resembles a dinosaur moving gently. Slowly I realised that its movements were achieved by puppeteers each moving different parts of the monster; I didn’t notice this at first so enchanted was I by his movements.  The camera pans and a girl appears dancing, wearing ballet shoes, pale pink tights, over a tutu she is wearing a rounded ball of boobs.  She dances with the monster seducing him.  The installation ‘Aping the Beast’ was Serena’s first big solo show at Camden Arts Centre 2013.  Since then she has created shows over a vast array of topics and mediums, some among them The Jug Choir, Black Diamond, Missing Time, Laid To Rest, The Namer of Clouds and There is a Strange Wind Blowing.

Installation Art, Film, Puppet
Aping The Beast, Battle of the river: Serena Korda
Installation Art, film, dance
The Transmittirs: Serena Korda
Artist Installation Art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Her work is extraordinary, it challenges every aspect of your psyche, it is science, altruism, philosophy, sound, cosmology, multiverse and mythical.  All her ideas stem from a reality and connects with an external idea, then she researches her concepts before implementing her artworks.  Often working on different projects at a time, her projects involve sound engineers, morse code, sound healers, mystics, mathematicians and scientists.  She includes musicians, who might be a local choir whom she records to embody the sound of elves, or members of the public chiming her porcelain mushroom bells. Recording sounds of the universe from homemade radio telescopes and replicating sound resonators inspired by acoustic sound mirrors that were used as pre-radar devices.  Serena created a series of these dishes each weighing a hefty 40 kilograms for Missing Time.  Nothing breaks more boundaries than Serena’s work and yet all of it resonates some form of common sense and thinking, that everything in the universe is interconnected. 

Installation art, Artist
Black Diamond: Serena Korda
Installation Art, Artist
Missing Time: Serena Korda

 

Artist Installation art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

She tells me about how her devoted mother encouraged her when she realised her drawings at five were well beyond any other child of that age.  She was additionally very academic and as Serena puts it to me, a nerdy swat.  We had just taken a series of portraits in her studio and garden in Hoxton, when we chat over lunch after our shoot.  Speaking rapidly about her work and then more reflective when I ask about her personal life, her Jewish upbringing, the challenging relationship with her Hungarian father who taught her  a strong work ethic and his passing two years ago whilst she was working on Missing Time with the Norman Lipman/Baltic Fellowship at Newcastle University.  She explains how as an electrical engineer he was initially discouraged by her choice of profession, “ He didn’t get my work at first ” Serena states.  Her deep love and respect for him and his accomplishments is very obvious as she sneaks a photo to me of her parent’s wedding.  I notice how Serena’s eyes are the beautiful sharp blue like her mother with a jet of thick dark hair, and her classically sculptured jawline like her father.  

Mushroom Porcelain bells
Hold Fast Stand Sure, I scream a Revolution: Serena Korda
Installation Art, Contemporary Artist
Laid To Rest, The Procession: Serena Korda

Serena attended Middlesex university in Fine art at the age of 19, following her graduation she began teaching and eventually decided to embark on an MA at the Royal College of Art, so she could focus on her own work.  She concentrated on printmaking and expanding her ideas of film and performance art, “ I was never satisfied by just putting things on a wall” Korda explains choosing performance, was about making objects come to life.  One of her earliest works, in Bow, East London in 2004, Old Mens Flesh, is akin to an anthropological study, Korda explains it’s about machismo, chivalry, tattoos, embroidery and relationships with people.  Serena’s ‘Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I Scream a Revolution’, first shown at Glasgow International 2016, is a breathtaking installation on symbiotic relations, her work with mushrooms, fungi and their important role in communicating to different plant species in the forest.  This symbiosis is a recurring theme in her work and in the works that inspire her such as the book The Third Policeman by Flan O’Brien, which she describes as fusing pseudo science and imagination.  Then I think about her ‘Library of Secrets’ or the ‘ The Prognosticator’ as she films in a Hitchcockian style the relations between an owner and her black cat. 

Film, artwork, black cat, cake
The Prognosticator: Serena Korda
Installation Art, Artist, Cake
There is a Strange Wind Blowing: Serena Korda
Installation art, film, dance
The Hosts: Serena Korda

Currently she is working with the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill.  The Lore of the Land, is an exhibition co-curated by The Collective featuring Korda’s work ‘ Sensitive Chaos’.  This new work sits alongside objects from the Hornimans anthropological collection challenging our anthropocentric view of the natural world whilst highlighting plant and water consciousness.  This combines sculpture and a soundscape made up of plant signals that have been put through synthesisers.  The coming together of science and art, and how all cultures actually come to the same conclusion, plants are powerful.  Then just before we leave she tells me how she included her fathers voice on  Missing Time.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Artist Instalation art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst,  Hair and Make-up: Aston Davies

Ignacio Lalanne

photo portrait artist cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

The first painting I saw by Ignacio Lalanne, I was taken by the expression of a portrait of a man’s face, with large deep soulful tragic eyes and pink puckered lips, in almost a heart shape, with rose coloured cheeks as if too much make-up had been applied and a straight bold bone structure with dark rigid lines.  It has elements of a stained glass window, a definitive Romanesque influence, completely pulled apart and put back together to be something completely unique.  As you continue to peruse his other works, from his portrait of Queen Elizabeth I  to his Matador holding his hat, or his painting of a lady with tied up gold hair in a black gothic dress, his style activates and grabs your soul.

artwork painting artist cake
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
Painting Queen Elizabeth 1 cake artist
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
painting matador contemporary artist
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
Artist painter cake Argentina
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

His influences came early as he grew up in beautiful San Isidro on the river, Río de la Plata, translated, River of Silver, in Buenos Aires, visiting the La Iglesia Del Pilar church every Sunday as a boy with his elegant grandmother.  He paid attention to the fine choreography in the woodwork and embroidered statues, he tells me, as we sit outside South Kensington having a coffee and water in the evening sun.  That was the first layer of the inner core of his artwork, he explains.

Painting art cake artwork
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne

Then tragedy struck the nine year old boy with the death of his mother; isolated and confused he started reading, a deep interest in theology and spiritualism embroiled itself.  After finishing High School in Buenos Aires, he took his back pack and as a free spirit ventured on his quest through Asia.  Two months ended up as being one year, India, Pakistan, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.  India stood out on this quest for knowledge,  working with Saint Mother Theresa’s charitable organisation at the holiest of the seven sacred cities, Varanasi.  He searched for higher knowledge through Hatha yoga as well as exploring traditions of the world.  During this pilgrimage he developed a passion for Japanese art and whilst in India he read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse as well as poems by Rumi.  What he discovered is that beauty and pain come together as one.  “The Lotus grows in dirty water” he tells me, and with this awakening, ” It was as if I had to throw up all this beauty and decided to paint.”  He pulls his palms out to express the release as he says this, the decision happened India, when he decided to study art.

Artist painting artwork cake
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
painting sailor contemporary art
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

painting Goddess India
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
Artist portrait painting
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne

In 2001 when Argentina had its financial crisis, Ignacio had to leave Pakistan on his fathers bequest and come to London to sort out family affairs; visiting his Godmother who lived in Gloucester Road.  London started to become his base, working in pubs to save for a foundation course at Kensington and Chelsea then studying fine art in Central Saint Martins.  Other jobs included working in the reception in an apartment block, where he made friends with a gentleman, who was deeply taken by Ignacio’s diligence as the young student sat with books and notes studying in the back during shift breaks.  The man offered to cover a large percentage of his tuition costs.  Lalanne looks at me intently and explains how surprised he was that someone who doesn’t know you can trust you and see something in you.  He tells me about the three most important influences in his life, to whom he is most grateful; his partner, his best friend and his sponsor. 

Artwork artist painting cake
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
photo artist painter cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

After graduation Lalanne, made his roots here in London, Ignacio hired a studio and started his own practice in now trendy Bow, East London.  With plenty of Exhibitions under his belt, he has made a reputation for himself, however he has felt isolated in his studio at times and didn’t want his art just to be a commodity.   So Ignacio studied mindfulness and theology, and he now uses art as form of healing and meditation as he sees art as a window into our inner soul, recently visiting a spiritual retreat in Ibero, Spain, where he was giving mindfulness workshops.  

art artworks painting cake
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne
Artwork artist painting cake
Artwork: Ignacio Lalanne

We talk more about his art and influences, and he tells me Egon Schiele is an artist whose work he loves, Mugal art, Cusco School as well as Tudor Court paintings.  He tells me about paradox, referencing a visit to Israel, and that he saw the most beauty, most absurdity and the most sacredness.  The alpha and omega, the beauty and ugliness, and the many layers in a painting.  Then he gazes at me intently after describing his mother and how she reminded him of Lisa Minelli in Cabaret, and quotes the book by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The little Prince, “ The essential is invisible to the eye ” . 

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Artist painter cake photo
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst