Sunday 9 January 2005
Inspired by Travel
Stephanie Borg was born in Malta in 1971 and is one of the rare breed of self taught artists who has managed to make a name for herself in the art world.
Stephanie has worked as a graphic designer for more than 12 years in Malta and has lived in Italy, the US, the Bahamas and more recently in the Sultanate of Oman. “My work can be described as a vibrant exploration of colour and linear patterns coupled with a sensibility for minute details and chromatic values. I don’t usually have a clear idea of what my finished painting will look like. Each painting unfolds itself with the flow of colours. Each brushstroke is an irreversible moment of magic, discovery and truth,” she says on her new website www.stephanieborg.com. MaltaToday caught up with her this week.
Do you trace your artistic talent to anyone in the family? Has anyone in your family influenced you in your artistic direction?
Painting is not a family tradition. However there is an element of creativity and craft within my immediate family. My father has taught himself carpentry and my mother has unknowingly nurtured in me a love for colour and pattern when still a child, she used to drag me with her to ‘tal-bicciet.’ I remember myself being fascinated seeing all those colours and patterns all at once! Also when young, I used to enjoy watching one of my sisters doing line drawings. I’ve never had any formal training except for the art classes at secondary school. My father was not very much in favour of me pursuing an artistic career, as he could not see a future in this, so I did not get much encouragement.
When you paint do you try and create something which will be pleasing to others or is it more a matter of a mortal trying to create the immortal?
If I think about what would please others instead of what would please me whilst painting, I would kill the artistic spirit. I’ve worked to clients’ briefs for many years in my career as a professional graphic designer but it’s painting that gives me the luxury and freedom to my own feelings. Whenever I start a new painting, I release within myself a new set of emotions. My limitations lie only within my own abilities.
Which artists have inspired you and why?
Many artists inspire me! I’m always open to any kind of style in art, from Caravaggio, to Klimt, Escher and de Lempicka. People from different cultures and from different eras express themselves in different ways and that is always very inspiring and enriching. However, it’s not just artists and their art that inspires me, as inspiration can be everywhere.
Pablo Picasso is reported to have said: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”, what does painting do to you?
Painting is the magic that adds sparkle to my soul. It’s an emotional experience, very intimate and self-absorbing task. Every new painting brings with it impatience, energy, a thrill and enthusiasm that if not there, I won’t paint at all. It’s not something I can do mechanically or even in company.
Have you tried abstract art? Or installations? Any plans to move in different directions?
I’ve recently finished a piece that is the most abstract in my collection so far. I don’t think I would have arrived to this had I not produced the other work before it. I’ve never worked on an installation, but who knows what the future may bring? Never say never. Creativity is a process. I hope to keep evolving and grow, and have my artistic soul always alive.
What have your travels and living abroad added to your art?
First and foremost I’ve come to realise how important it is for me to feel at ease in my suroundings. Living abroad brings with it many positive experiences and also less positive ones. I have expressed these influences through the use of colour, linear movement and subject matter. Being amongst diverse cultures has also given me a sense of boldness and self-esteem.
What can the authorities do to assist art and people’s interest in culture?
Art education and appreciation should be part of the curricular activities from an early age. The educational system in Malta leaves hardly any space for creative activities and emphasizes too much on academic subjects. Organising workshops, educational trips and talks with artists and their art might entice the average person, who might otherwise shy away from going to view an exhibition, to involve oneself. Art is not something that belongs to a narrow section of the population, it should be accessible to all.
Any future plans?
I have been asked to conduct a workshop to the university students in Beirut, and I’m also hoping to exhibit my work outside Oman in 2005.
Where can your art be seen?
I have four pieces of artwork in Malta: two (called ‘flow of Green Leaves’ and ‘Blazing Dunes’ are at Artitude Gallery in Sliema and a further two (‘Untitled I’ and ‘Untitled II’) can be viewed privately upon request by those seriously interested only. Other work is exhibited at a five-star hotel in Oman. Otherwise I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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