Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Yael Bolender

Hi guys, hope everyone has had an awesome Easter time, eeek I can't believe it's tuesday again eeek! I have a fab interview for you today - very inspiring, I hope you will give it 10 mins to read through, I know you will enjoy it =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are:
So, I was born in Israel but totally raised in Paris, France. I come from a music family, my father is a composer, my mother, a singer, my step-father used to be a drummer. And I was drawing all the time, since I've been...2? 3? I don't remember. When I finished high school, I thought that the art field was not serious, and that I had to do "serious studies", so I went to an Economics University (Paris II Assas), what surprised everybody because I was doing comics and paintings all the time. That is how I ended up having a Bachelor's degree in Economics, what I weirdly and certainly don't regret, because it happens that I am also passionate about Economics. I always worked half in "serious stuff" and half in "artsy stuff", I started by drawing women accessories for Louis Feraud (a famous French fashion designer), while I was doing accountancy for another company. But I really managed to mix these both sides when I started working for Rougier & Ple, a famous store of arts and crafts supplies in Paris. I was doing demonstrations, workshops, for them and also as an independent teacher, doing tests reports on products, window decors, and I wrote an art and craft book about recycling that you can still find on Amazon Canada and France: "Une Nouvelle Vie Pour Vos Objets" (A New Life For Your Things), Didier Carpentier Publisher, with my co-author Jean Pierre Delpech who is a specialist in molding and resins. All this, while painting and exhibiting. To do all these things, I had to be an artist, but also kind of a business woman, and a little a writer as well.

However, after September 11, things turned out badly in France, and as a Jewish woman, I started being disturbed by anti-Semite behaviors there. The economy got worse and I lost my job. Then, in 2005, my personal life totally collapsed messing everything up.  So, in 2006, I moved to Los Angeles with my younger son to open my business and somehow run away from Paris. My older son moved to Japan a little before. And here I am now in L.A., running my home decor and woman accessories boutique/gallery named Cuculapraline-Frenchic, trying to do my art as much as possible, and fighting with the immigration services to be allowed to stay.

I am passionate about recycling. That is why I crossed Jennibellie's videos. I am passionate about arts and crafts techniques, and products testing as well. I need to be happy to create, what was not really the case lately. After the end of my marriage, I have neither being able to create during almost 8 years, nor to do a painting since 2005, but I have the feeling that this will change very soon. I am very grateful to Jenny, because thanks to her and her videos, I am eager to create again. I practice many techniques as I used to learn and to teach a lot of different things in France, like painting on wood, glass, fabric, silk, canvas, acrylics, oil, watercolors, pastels and more, paper mache (a lot), collage/decoupage, mosaic, any mixed media you can imagine. Bigger it was, happier I was. Now, I am starting small and it will eventually get bigger along with my happiness.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is to finish a project. Not that I am a procrastinator, but I have a tendency to lose my enthusiasm of the beginning. Sometimes, I get attached to what I am doing, and for me, finishing it, is like living a loss, it was especially true with my paintings, that I finished, but in a kind of pain. Or sometimes, I think it is not good enough, and in my mind, it is still a work in progress.

This is also linked to two other problems I have: I need to feel happy and settled to create and finish in peace, what is not obvious when you live somewhere without knowing where you will be the next day. And not finishing a project creates a mess, what I don't like, since I dream of a Zen space, something almost impossible to reach when we recycle a lot.

So, how I overcome all this? The only way I found so far is: forcing myself. I force myself to finish things, even if it is painful and hard. Sometimes, we have to kick our butt to do things. If I am not happy, I try to think about what would make me happy, I try to find solutions. I also try to calm myself down to avoid panic attacks and all the things which could come in the way of creating what I want to create. And to reach the Zen space, I read a lot about Feng Shui. It makes me happy, and it really helps. I am way far from a Zen space still, but I am getting there, little by little. If I may suggest a book to overcome these kinds of problems: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. After this book, there is not much more to say. 

Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognizable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
I would say that "achieve" is not really the word. I think I have my own style, as most people do without knowing it. I think we have our own style from the very beginning. When I look at the drawings I was doing as a child, of course, I improved myself, I have more tricks and technique, I have more experience, so more ideas, but the core of the style is the same, it was already there. We may be influenced by other artists, we may want to try new ways or be inspired by colors we see on someone else's work. For example, I have learned the "trompe-l'oeil" technique with a famous French artist named Joy de Rohan-Chabot. So, when I paint according to this technique, it may vaguely look like her work, because I learned from her and I admire what she does. But eventually, I went to a direction and she went to another one, because we are not the same people and we can't evolve by the same way.

Anybody should be proud of his or her own style. Even if an artist thinks that he or she doesn't know how to draw, it doesn't matter, because in his or her so-called "bad" way, this person is unique and should honor this uniqueness. My father who is a musical composer always draws with two or three lines. He is not Picasso, but these simple lines are just full of beauty and spirit. It doesn't take much to be recognizable. 

Have you ever found anything that originally daunted you as an artist that you can now overcame easily?
Yes, the fear of messing up what I am doing. I used to be so not confident, that I was sure that I was going to screw everything up at a certain point. And of course, I was sweating so much, panicking so much, that it always happened. And in my mind, if it was not perfect, it had to be destroyed, or erased. Later, I was already the mother of my two sons, I don't know why, but I started honoring the flaw. I was fixing it, but actually, the fixing part was giving a better result that what I was hoping to get. Because then, was coming the surprise factor, and things that I wouldn't have even imagined before. Eventually, my best pieces were the "screwed" ones. At a point, I was even regretting not to do more mistakes! I think the mistake is a part of the creation and we should accept it, relax and do. After all, we are just human beings. Someone told me lately that we couldn't do everything perfect, only God can. I love that. I actually like more imperfection than perfection now. It is valid for everything, not only in art.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You will find about my art on my Facebook page here. On my shop blog, you will find an article about small paintings shown lately in Somerset Studio Magazine in USA. And on this page, you will know a little more about my present workshops. It is true that I advertise much more for my business than for my art, but this will be improved soon. If you want to see the book I released years ago, you will find it here (but it is in French).

Many thanks for sharing all this with us Yael, it was so interesting to read your story having already seen your art and thought it was fabulous =) I have been thinking a lot about what you expressed as your biggest challenge lately myself - re: having a tendency to lose enthusiasm of the beginning of a project. I am feeling soooooo like that, due to having a lot of ideas and wanting to run after several at once, I tend to lose much enthusiasm for one in favour of another (shiny object syndrome!!) I shall take up your recommendation of reading The War of Art, I have had it in my Amazon basket for quite a while but having read Steven Pressfield's recent book Do the Work & finding it a little too negative a mindset for my taste I put it down but essentially I think you (and Steven Pressfield) are right, sometimes we just have to sit our butts down and get it done! I think we have to listen to ourselves to learn how to govern ourselves - sometimes we need an indulgent movie and ice cream break, other times we need to put our butt into gear in-spite of our own protests - and I think deep down we usually know which one it is. (Right now, for me, it is frozen yogurt with art... hey whoever said you can't mix both tactics together sometimes?)
Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

1 comment:

  1. Frozen Yogurt! You give me ideas here! Thank you so much again, it was a joy for me to answer your questions!


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