We catch up with the Lots Road Group member Alla Broeksmit below:
How did you become a painter?
I am a London based figurative artist, specialising in portraits. My studio is just off the New Kings Road. Four years ago I began a journey, mid-life, that has allowed me to build on my extensive experience supporting fine art, to become an artist myself. My association with art institutions, coupled with my background in interior design, have allowed me to develop an artistic eye. Design work helped develop my sense of composition and colour. From that grew a desire to construct my own art forms and explore my instinct to create.
What drew you to portraiture in particular?
Ukrainian born, and steeped in the vibrant contemporary art scene of New York, I studied art in the British figurative tradition at The Heatherley School of Fine Art and at the Prince’s Drawing School. Studying portraiture at Heatherley’s, I became interested in painting portraits that are not a direct reflection of reality but communicate my painterly observations and style. My technical training in figurative art allows me to be produce compositions that are present, immediate and impactful.
I experiment with the texture of oil paint in capturing the fleshiness of faces and nudes, since paint is, quite literally, the canvas’ new skin. I focus on capturing human figures to communicate layers of experience – both my own relating to my history and my artistic education – and that of my sitter. My studies have firmed up my belief that drawing is essential to map out one’s work.
Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and why?
A hybrid of three cultures, my art aims to fuse their influences – from the religious iconography found inside Russian and Ukrainian churches, modern constructivism and social realism to American contemporary and UK figurative art.
What, to you, constitutes a good portrait?
Tutored by members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, I express myself through the language of art, seeking a dialogue with the viewer through my gaze to the sitter, and then to the viewer.
Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about (exhibitions, articles, websites, commissions, personal projects)?
Currently I’m taking the figurative aspects of my work and inserting them into more abstract forms. I am also fascinated by the immigrant experience and am exploring how to incorporate my life experience and family photographs into my art. My website is www.allabroeksmit.com
Many thanks Alla!
(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)