Edina's works are an explosion of energy, intrigue and passion. In an instant, they communicate big ideas and big moments from both world histories and personal histories, with mysterious titles to allude to invented narratives. Rise Art Insider Adriana Marques ceased the chance to meet with one of her favourite artists to discuss her journey to becoming a professional painter, and her latest endeavours to marry the landscape with art. See into her botanical haven of a studio and be transported to distant, dreamlike lands by her ethereal paintings.
You haven’t always been an artist, can you tell us a little bit about your previous career as horticultural engineer?
For nearly 10 years I worked in plant cultivation, specifically in a commercial and marketing capacity. I had a successful career as a plant buyer, as well as being a member of the Haeberli Obst und Beeren Swiss company, where I worked on the DNA based breeding of strawberries. I was a member of the first hungarian Phalaenopsis in vitro laboratory team, travelling and working in Spain, in the Netherlands and in Germany for various production companies, who took part in stock market sales.
What made you decide to change lifestyles and pursue a career in art?
The opportunity simply found me. Although I had always dreamed of becoming a painter, I never felt that I could make the drastic decision to change my profession. When I met my husband and moved to Italy, to begin with I was searching for a job in my field, but after meeting my husband’s sister Angela Spano, who was already a great Italian artist, I began to paint in her studio.
To cover my expenses I would sell small cityscape collage paintings for local tourists. It was nice and easy, but I was always aware that to become a professional artist, I needed to learn and develop a lot more. After about 2 years I finally decided to commit to this way of life. I learned and practiced a lot, and began to sculpt my artistic career.
What are your main artistic influences? I know you are fascinated by surrealism and Pop Art – are there any artists or artworks in particular that have guided you?
I am drawn to the works of Japanese painters, such as Tomoko Nagai and Makiko Kudo. I love their use of colour and detail, and this has become one of the most important influences in my own art. At the same time, I like the semi-abstract works of Marcel Eichner and Eddie Martinez, and lately I am very interested in retroperspective art. I combine all of these genres and influences within my own practice to create a new take.
What was the first thing you painted and why?
My first artistic painting was based on Schiele style. It was a series of a self portraits - at that time I was highly interested in expressionism.
Tell us about your studio in Italy? I imagine you are surrounded by a lot of plants!
Yes, that's true! My studio is a huge haven in a very nice green area. It’s near to the sea, surrounded by many plants and birds in Sardinia.
Can you also tell us about the titles for your paintings?
The titles I choose often refer to something very specific in each painting, such as ‘A Cat is Guarding the House’. Sometimes they allude to something bigger, like ‘Darwin’s Room’.
What comes first – the title or the painting?
Choosing a good title is always difficult. When I project the painting I rarely or never think about the title, but when it is nearly half completed, I decide upon the final scene and begin to think about it. Sometimes when I discover an intriguing title I will move the painting in that direction. I’m often looking for some actual political theme, or simply something funny, but usually I don’t begin my paintings with a title in mind.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Can you tell us a bit about your new Melograno Project and why you started it?
The combination of my past, as well as my original studies of Agricultural Engineering are always reflected in my paintings, but I eventually linked the two themes in 2014 when I launched my most ambitious art project, which I have named ‘The Melograno Project’.
My father in law had an empty farm, and a building he intended to be refurbished ended up becoming the studio I use to this day. Inspired by the Richard Shapiro Houses and Gardens, 3 years ago I decided to transform the space, creating a 2500sm private garden where the beauty of nature and art could meet.
Parallel to my painting practice, I work on the landscape every day, pruning and planting. The project is still in the early stages, but I’m looking forward to its official debut.
What do you love, and hate, about being an artist?
I love the inexhaustible possibilities of art. It’s so inspiring to explore these possibilities; being an artist is never tedious, and it is never over. I hate it because in the same way, it can be like a prison for the mind. I never can let it go, my mind's always racing, thinking about my next work. Ultimately, I love how I find myself in air through art.
About the Author
Adriana Marques is an experienced curator and leader in the arts, with specialist knowledge of culture led regeneration. She has Over 18 years international experience which includes ambitious public commissions, delivering wide reaching public programmes with a range of cultural partners, and advocating for culture through teaching, public speaking and writing various cultural strategies.
She has just a started working for Peabody, leading a long term cultural strategy for Thamesmead, but is Best known for her public art commissions and cultural programme at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. She has written "Open Space", an advocacy publication for Arts Council England on best practice public art in London; running the contemporary art programme at the Austrian Cultural Forum for 7 years; and creating Lido Love, a night-time festival at London Fields Lido which ran for three years.