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MOMENTS OF A DIALOGUE WITH ORIANA ARMAND

 

                                            BY MIGUEL SZINETAR 

 

1. When and why did you start painting?

 

I started painting at the age of 6.

My first canvases were pieces of wood that were left over from a library that was being built for my grandfather.

I asked the artisan to keep them for me,  because I wanted to paint on them.

The artisan  gathered them, and left them in the backyard of my house.

After painting several pictures, I decided to stop by my neighbors' houses and offer them for sale.

I could see their surprise at my offer, how they smiled, how they called each other to discuss the situation.

I was lucky and managed to sell some paintings.

A neighbor (Giorgione, in her 50s) me  traded some for ice cream.

When my grandfather found out what was happening, he told me not to offer them anymore, that he would buy them all for me.

That was the first time I painted, and the first time I sold my paintings.

 

2. In the time that elapsed from the age of six until last year, when you took up painting again: did you paint again?

I have dedicated myself, for a long time, to sewing, reading and writing.

A year ago, in Miami, I took up painting again.

Quarantine connected me with my interiority, in a very intense way.

The first week, when they began to talk about being locked up at home, I went out to buy my acrylics and my brushes.

I couldn't bear the thought of being alone in a room, surrounded by strangers, with my love on the other side of the world, all far away...

I needed to express what was inside me.  

It was at that moment that I began to paint, I do not have the exact time or date.

I did it all out of a fit. 

The passion that I feel when I have a brush in my hand, when I look for my canvas, my acrylics, when I grab the brushes, and I start to paint, was unleashed, once again, in me.

When I do my works, it is because I am carried away by catharsis.

It is as if a muse dictated them to me.

3. What currents or pictorial expressions (ancient, modern) interest you? What are your favorite painters? Why do you like them, why do you prefer them, what do you find interesting in them?

I am interested in surrealism.

One of my favorite works is: Dalí atomicus,  the photograph of Philippe Halsman, in which Salvador Dalí appears through the air, with a brush, and next to a stool, and the flight of three cats blacks.

I feel passion for Dalí's work and personality.

I am interested in how his paintings connect with dreams, and his admiration for Sigmund Freud, a character I admire.

I love the passion that Dalí felt for his Gala, so much that I dare to call my love,  My Gala, being him: the only one who has a right over me!

Just as Dalí referred to the woman who stole his heart, I refer my work to the man I love.

He appears in my paintings.

When I want to paint a male face, I end up painting him, because I know each of his features, his moles, his gestures.

However, I know that my paintings are similar to Munch's sad paintings.

Others are related to Picasso in his blue period, or to the faces of Armando Reverón.  

I love Dadaism, for its concept, for its proposal to remove objects from their context.

expressionism fascinates me

Perhaps it is the current that I unintentionally follow in my paintings. 

I feel characterized by Fernando Botero, and I am not referring to his art, but to a phrase that connects with me; the one that says: When you start a painting it is something that is outside of you, when you finish it it seems that you have installed yourself inside it. 

4. Where do you think your painting is going?

 

When I finish painting, I go into the work, and I find my emotions in it.

I am curious to know what is there, what my psyche hides there.

It seems wonderful to me how man can, in his work, contemplate himself: his thoughts, feelings, emotions; heinous things; loneliness, mystery, fear, sadness; or also something splendid, of beauty, of life, of hope, of love.

That is for me the most beautiful part of artistic creation: contemplation.

My works are inexplicable to myself!

I don't have a reason for them: they are just a stroke of creativity.

I can't say where my painting is going, I would like to know, but I don't know.

Discover more about Oriana Armand through this fascinating interview conducted by Miguel Szinetar, a prominent Venezuelan writer and doctor in Development Studies.

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