3DValley Featured 2D Artist for December 2008 – Anikó Hencz. Anikó currently lives and works from Budapest, Hungary. She was taught graphics and painting by some excellent artists. Later on in life she took private drawing lessons and was more and more attracted towards abstract art and surrealism. She mostly use computer graphics, though all her paintings – may they be hand drawings, computer graphics, photo manipulations or some combination of all these techniques – she tries to capture an unique language that shows her personal emotions and visions. Her second “love” is creating handcrafted jewelry, especially beaded jewelry combined with glass, cork, wire, or stones. Please read our interview with Anikó below to get to know her and her work a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who you are and what you do in your daily life?
Anikó: I was born in 1962 as a Hungarian minority in Transylvania, western part of Romania. After school I attended the geography-English faculty on the University, in 1990 I immigrated to Hungary. In the beginning I had several jobs in different fields of life, all without art… In one of these workplaces I got acquainted with the computer’s little Paint program. This was a turning point in my life; I then realized I could make a living from what I really like to do. So after attending some computer graphic courses, I worked as a graphic designer for a printing company. Later on I settled my own business. In my daily life I create corporate images, brochures, web sites both for Hungarian and international companies or individuals. Meanwhile I continued experimenting with paintings, but only for myself or friends. Once one of my customers, a painter, saw some of my artworks and persuaded me to expose them to the public. The rest is in front of your eyes; I had several exhibitions in Hungary and Austria. Hope to have some more in the future.
Christa: Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Anikó: No, I cannot remember such a day… Actually it was not a decision taken on a certain day; I just grew up with pencils in my hand. It was naturally to spend my time drawing and painting, and the years just passed the same way.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
Anikó: My artistic lessons began when I was 12, at an art-school, in the afternoons. It was the time of some conscious “awakening” in the field of art. Later on my painting teacher was leading me towards graphics. I took some private lessons, too, but I think most of my ideas just happen to come out from my fingers.
Christa: What kind of materials do you use for your artwork?
Anikó: For my digital paintings I use mostly Adobe Photoshop, but I also like to work with asymmetrical fractals that are made in Apophysis. Recently I rework my hand drawings on computer, very interesting and funny experience. The finished works are printed on high quality paper, then installed on rigid stands or framed under glass.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
Anikó: Sometimes I simply dream my works. An object or a word often raises my attention, I am messing with colors, pictures in my mind or just simply a scene appears in front of my eyes. This is very difficult to explain; might I do anything, suddenly my brain produces a picture that appears – like a pop-up window. I am working on it for some days spiritually, and then I sit to the drawing table or computer and begin to bring the vision to life. I never finish a work in one day; what’s more, I have paintings I am working on for more than a year. I make and remake it, till I am satisfied with the aspect.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so why?
Anikó: Not really, each of my works is a favorite for a while, till the next finished idea replaces it. Works combined with my hand drawings are a little closer to me, but all of them are my children.
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work?
Anikó: First of all, nature has a great influence on my works. I love trees, love to see them on my paintings. Human feelings, concepts have also influence on my paintings, but I try not to let another artist’s style to affect my works. Now-days it is very difficult, even impossible to avoid influences. Art styles are cycling beginning with cage-drawings. Though I have preferences both from ancient and modern art.
Christa: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
Anikó: With my paintings I am somehow fighting against injustice, oppression, insularity. The place I was born and where I live now, also had and have great influence on my works, I try to catch the coherence and difference between them. Sometimes a little foolish idea or question can give some inspiration; for example ‘What would have happened, if Eva didn’t bite the apple?’ ‘Why was she punished so badly for knowledge?’ Well, it happens that things get tough sometimes… Then I try to relax -and not to panic- for a while, then I get started again. Ideas are coming; one of them is always helping me out.
Christa: What is your favorite place and time to create art?
Anikó: I have a room with windows to the garden. There is my computer installed, my books, pencils, papers. Everything at just an arm-length… Usually I begin creating in the afternoon, till late in the evening.
Christa: Which areas of creating art do you enjoy the most?
Anikó: I think graphics is the closest area to me, I enjoy photo manipulation and to play with asymmetrical fractals. I also like jewelry making, or photography, but I am far to be an expert on this field.
Christa: You work with various kinds of mediums (traditional, digital) to create your artwork with. What advantage does one has over the other for you?
Anikó: I like to combine hand drawing and photo manipulation, as I find it very challenging. In my opinion these two fields of art amend each other very well. A hand drawing is always unique, but the computer fastens the process of work. It would be pretty difficult to draw fractals, but combined with drawings or scanned handworks; they can lead to unusual paintings.
Christa: How and when did you get interested in the abstract art and surrealism?
Anikó: In my early childhood I began to draw unusual shapes and named them somehow. Or I cut pictures from different magazines and liked to put them incongruously together – some kind of mixed art. Several years later I heard about Salvador Dalí, Viktor Vasarely, Hieronymus Bosch or Gaudi – I still love their art.
Christa: Your images tell a story and you blend your shapes/forms together to one image. Can you tell us one of the stories behind an image?
Anikó: My actual favorite is the “Greetings from Eastern Europe” series. At the moment these are the works that best reflect my birthplace with all the annoyance survived over there. I might say it is a summary of dislikes from my past. They evoke times I spent under the communist regime, and I’m afraid those years cannot be wiped out from my life. These works are not against a country, but against narrow-minded leaders, ill dictators.
Christa: Besides a fantastic artist you also design beaded jewelry. Can you tell us a bit more about that passion to work with various materials?
Anikó: I’m a rather pry person and I like to try out as many fields of art as possible. My mother had a lot of beads kept in little boxes. As a child I was amazed by the abundance of sizes and colors. She taught me the first steps in making beaded necklaces. Later I began to combine these methods with my fantasy. And if beads are not enough, I combine them with glass, cork, wire or stones. It is a very interesting experience combining different materials and even sweeter delight if a nice-looking pendant or bracelet is the fruit of my work.
Christa: How do you handle the business side of being an artist?
Anikó: Well, business is the most difficult part for me… I wish I had some art dealers to do this part of the work for me. I am continuously advertising myself over the internet. I upload my works in online communities, take part on calls for artists and continuously looking for places/galleries where I can exhibit my paintings and jewelry.
Christa: What would be your dream assignment?
Anikó: To tell the truth, I have never thought of that before. Each work is a challenge for me, and the reward is given by those, who appreciate what I do. Anyway it would be great to see my paintings in Moma, Guggenheim or other museums – while still alive.
Christa: Can you tell us where you are currently working on?
Anikó: Now I am working on the ‘Greetings from Eastern Europe’ series. This is a collection of digital paintings grouped around a photo and theme. Each of them has a different title, that express the main meaning separately. These works show not only my feelings, but unveils the reality me and my generation passed through. These images are the insinuate anger against a wrong regime where people are kept in intellectual darkness. It’s about the eternal regime -either in the past or present- people are told to be happy and free but actually they are closed among boundaries, and are desperately looking for a way out. I know these paintings are not too happy, but I think the world should know about these things, too – fake equality, disappointment and naked childhood to a bad regime, jailed if disobey.
Christa: Besides 3DV, which other graphic sites do you visit regularly?
Christa: Is their something you can’t work without?
Anikó: The only thing I need is total privacy when working. I cannot draw a line, when someone is watching me. Only my cat is allowed to enter the studio Sometimes I happen to listen to some music but I better prefer silence.
Christa: What do you do when you’re not working or creating something?
Anikó: As I have a puppy and a kitten, it is much fun to play with them. I also like to read, grow my cactuses or have fun with my friends. By the other hand, I love traveling, to see unknown and exotic places.
Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview Anikó!