Homestyle New Zealand
Philippines-born, Auckland-based visual artist Andrea Bolima’s explorations of colour and form tell the story of how things move and don’t move, the varying degrees of tone, control and spontaneity showing their flow and suspension. Right now, she’s preparing for an exhibition that will showcase her recent journey from art school to art world.
We’re captivated by your colour palettes, Andrea. What draws you to the hues you use?
I went through a black-andwhite phase a couple of years ago, so I could focus on the transition between light and dark. This led to the palette
I’m working with now, where the colours are slightly subdued and seem to come from a grey area. Because of that, I’m drawn to colours that are mostly toned down, and occasionally use sharper tones for contrast.
What’s your creative process in the studio?
I enjoy starting from scratch, so I begin by stretching my own canvas then priming it with gesso. It’s a ritual, like making coffee in the morning. I then start layering oil paint onto the canvas and react intuitively to what happens as I paint. I often have a vague idea of how I want something to look, but it’s never a fixed vision. This is to keep things open and allow for possibilities. You never know, I might invent a new colour or something!
What materials do you like to use?
At the moment, I like using oil on canvas. The slightly rough texture of the canvas gives me enough control to make any kind of gestural marks. Materiality is important in my practice. The slowdrying feature of oil paint keeps things open and approachable.
What led you down the path to the art practice you have today?
I’ve always had an inclination towards communicating things visually.
“I enjoy starting from scratch, so I begin by stretching my own canvas. It’s a ritual, like making coffee in the morning.”
Painting stuck with me because it gives me the middle ground between chaos and control, light and dark, and allows me to make something with my hands.
You completed a Master of Visual Arts at AUT last year — what are your thoughts on making art in these Covid-y times?
The world being put on hold definitely gave me a lot of time to paint, and that level of attention it wouldn’t otherwise get made me really focus on my practice. I feel both comfort and discomfort during these times. It’s nice to be able to paint but also unsettling because you can never tell what’s going to happen in the future, and this can be reflected in my paintings, where forms may seem grounded but at the same time have a strong sense of movement.
What gets you in the mood to paint?
With the projects I’m working on at the moment, the act of painting becomes less about what gets me in the mood and more about allowing for moods and forms of expression to take place. I don’t sit around waiting for ideas to come to me — I just go to the studio and work with what I have. The pondering comes afterwards.
What would your dream project be?
Lately I’ve been working with kids who have special needs and helping with their transition into the working world through art. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve received so far and this is my way of giving back to the community. Working with them is so rewarding, and it’s also taught me a lot about myself. My dream project would be to be able to do more of this.
What else is on the horizon for you?
My first solo exhibition is on at Föenander Galleries in Mt Eden from June 3 to 23 and I’m really excited about it. Everyone is more than welcome to see it, so please come along!