Interview – Priscila Designe – Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency

PORTFÓLIO SET 2023 - digital

Can you tell us a little about your art and your background? How did you start getting interested in art?


From my formative years, art has been my compass, guiding both my personal and professional pursuits. The vivid hues of colored pencils, which I whimsically used as playthings during my childhood, were a precursor to a lifelong passion that would shape my identity. By my teenage years in 1996, I was already charting a course into the formal realm of art, refining my skills in oil painting—a medium I would come to professionally embrace by 2011.

My journey wasn’t just a linear progression; it was an expansive exploration. While my hands danced over canvases with watercolors, they also etched intricate designs in Metal Engraving. What sets my work apart is not just the versatility of techniques but the depth of emotion each piece encapsulates. My aspirations were never confined to creating; they soared towards exhibiting in esteemed galleries and sharing my art with a global audience.

Art, for me, transcends a mere passion—it’s a lifeline, a language, a legacy. Every brushstroke, every hue is a heartbeat echoing my narrative. And while art is deeply personal, my academic journey in Architecture and Urbanism, and my subsequent specialization in Interior Design, has broadened my perspective. It enables me to fuse spatial intelligence with artistic expression, offering viewers a multidimensional experience.

As I look towards the future, I envision my art in spaces that value depth, dialogue, and distinction. It’s not just about showcasing art, but about starting conversations, evoking emotions, and challenging perceptions.


What subject matters interest you? What is more important for art, the idea or the execution?

My artistic inclinations predominantly veer towards the organic and ever-evolving realms of nature, landscapes, and botany. Each hue in a sunset or the intricate vein patterns of a leaf tells a story, and I’m compelled to capture that narrative. Beyond the subjects, I’m deeply engrossed in the dance between brush and canvas— the nuance of a hand’s pressure, the lyrical gesture of a stroke, or the calculated weight of paint on a spatula.
Art, in its essence, is a delicate balance between idea and execution. The idea is the soul, the underpinning essence of a piece. The execution, however, is the heartbeat that gives it life and presence. One cannot exist without the other in the truest form of artistic expression. In my process, painting becomes an intimate dialogue. It’s not just me imposing on the canvas; the artwork often speaks back, guiding my hand, suggesting colors, or sometimes urging restraint. Some pieces evolve quickly, while others linger in my studio, waiting for that moment of clarity when I know they are complete.
In essence, every artwork is both a journey and a conversation. It’s this continuous dialogue and exploration that brings depth, intent, and vitality to my creations.


You choose mostly traditional art-painting to express yourself. Could you tell us about the process of creation? Where does the process begin for you?

My artistic journey is a delicate dance between intuition and intention. It often begins with the subtlest of inspirations: the interplay of light and shadow on architectural forms, the rich hues of a sunset, the tactile allure of a leaf, or even the emotive resonance of a piece of music or a particular life event. Sometimes, it’s as nuanced as being captivated by the color of a garment or the mood it evokes.
Before any paint touches the canvas, there’s a moment of stillness, a silent communion with the blank space that beckons my creativity. The choice of palette emerges from this dialogue, with certain colors and shades instinctively gravitating towards the narrative I wish to convey.
While some artists sketch preliminary designs, my approach is more organic. Guided by the rhythm of my wrist and the emotions of the moment, my brush or spatula becomes an extension of my thoughts, each stroke a conversation with the canvas. This intimate interplay gives rise to a melange of textures and forms, with layers and gestural movements defining the depth and dynamism of the piece.
In essence, while traditional art-painting might seem rooted in the past, for me, it’s a timeless medium, alive and evolving, allowing me to manifest my observations and feelings in their most authentic form.


What are some of your favorite projects you are proud to have been a part of in your career?


Throughout my artistic journey, certain projects and collaborations have left indelible marks on both my craft and my narrative. Among these, my engagements with renowned institutions like Abra, Pinacoteca de São Bernardo do Campo, and Casa do Olhar Luiz Sacilotto. These platforms not only offered me esteemed spaces to showcase my art but also opportunities to learn under the aegis of seasoned mentors, allowing me to delve deeper into myriad techniques and perspectives.
While I cherish my recent works and the maturity they reflect, I hold a particular fondness for pieces I crafted during 2010-2011. This period was a crucible of innovation for me, a time of fervent production and bold exploration, especially in the realm of oil painting on canvas. The artworks from that phase capture a raw, unbridled passion and serve as a testament to my evolving style and artistic vision.


To what extent does the pandemic influence your depiction of art? Does it generate new inspiration?

The pandemic, undoubtedly one of the most significant global disruptions in recent history, has paradoxically been a profound catalyst for my art. Amidst the larger societal upheaval, I found myself gravitating towards the often-overlooked nuances in our environment. The enforced solitude heightened my sensitivity to the subtleties of nature—the intricate play of light and shadow, the myriad gradations of color at different times of the day.
This introspective phase saw a surge in my watercolor endeavors, with an inclination towards smaller canvases. They encapsulated the immediacy of my emotions and the transient beauty of my surroundings. Yet, the pull of oil painting remained undiminished. Limited by the constraints of the lockdown, I turned my residence balcony into a makeshift studio of oil painting.
Post this period of confinement, a renewed vigor took hold. Recognizing the importance of space, both literally and metaphorically, I established my own art studio. This not only facilitated the production of my oil paintings—considering their extended drying periods—but also symbolized a personal and professional renaissance, underlining my commitment to continually evolve and adapt as an artist.


How do you feel about being involved in an online residency program? How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?

Embracing an online residency program epitomizes the art world’s resilience and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges. While nothing can truly replicate the tactile and immersive engagement of traditional workshops, this digital pivot opens up vistas previously unimagined. It transcends geographical barriers, enabling artists like me to engage, collaborate, and learn from peers spread across the globe.
Remaining interwoven with the international art community isn’t just a preference — it’s essential. This connectivity fosters a great exchange of ideas, techniques, and artistic philosophies, continually invigorating and expanding the global art community. Beyond the art itself, I’m keen to delve into the rich layers of local floras, culinary traditions, and the myriad inspirations that drive artists worldwide. It’s this multifaceted exploration, encompassing both art and the environments that nourish it, that truly fuels my passion and growth.


What are your thoughts about the theme ‘artist on standby’? Tell us a bit more about your project…

The theme ‘artist on standby’ is profoundly evocative, especially in today’s rapidly changing world. It encapsulates the tension between pause and progress, as well as anticipation and actualization. My project seeks a balance within this dynamic, employing a myriad of color palettes and compositions to probe moments of stillness, the fleeting nature of time, and the boundless potential of what lies ahead. A pivotal experience that deeply resonates with this theme occurred at Malpensa International Airport. I found myself in limbo, uncertain of my position as a passenger on an overbooked flight to São Paulo. Yet, amidst this ambiguity, there was a surprising revelation: I wasn’t eager to return home. The richness of my experiences and the allure of my surroundings fueled a desire to extend my stay. This personal uncertainty, juxtaposed against a backdrop of global unrest, spurred profound reflections on the very nature of waiting – a theme not confined to airport terminals but woven into the fabric of life itself.
My exploration then expands to various facets of ‘waiting’ and ‘standby’: from the aspirational pause of those seeking brighter horizons abroad, to the challenges and joys of expatriate life, and the universal longing for some semblance of ‘normalcy’ in tumultuous times. Additionally, I ponder our innate tendency to overlook the present and the moments of revelation that emerge when we truly engage with our everyday surroundings. Recent events, notably the distressing situation in Israel, have layered further intricacies, prompting me to reflect on the ripple effects of geopolitical unrest on ordinary lives.
In essence, ‘artist on standby’ is not merely a theme—it’s a prism, refracting a vast spectrum of emotions, experiences, and expectations.


What do you want to achieve before things return to normal if it is to happen? Any future plans/projects?

Our recent global context has transformed not only our external realities but also our intrinsic ways of connecting and relating. While it’s underscored the vastness of our global community, it’s also amplified the significance of our immediate circles and how much we need human interaction face to face.
With an ever-evolving artistic landscape, I am keen to further hone my painting techniques, expanding into the realms of mixed media. An upcoming series I envision will weave together landscapes and natural motifs, but with a more profound intent— to ponder my role as an artist in fostering harmony in an era characterized by turbulence and unpredictability. Furthermore, I aim to magnify the reach of my work, engaging with a broader spectrum of audiences, sparking conversations, and eliciting introspections. My long-term vision culminates in a solo exhibition, not just as a showcase of my art but as a chronicle of resilience, innovation, and reflection during these unparalleled times.