Vanessa Onuk

Born in: 1991, Germany
Lives in: Frankfurt, Germany
Describe your art in three words: Bleeding colours, raw art, abstract shapes
Education: Self-taught artist. Trained forensic doctor.
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“My abstract landscapes are intended to capture a moment in which we want to linger because the sight, the light, the color or the silhouette of an environment captivates us and we want to absorb it. My own observation of my works is not about subtleties and details, but rather I reduce them to shapes, colors and feelings."

What themes does your work involve?
I am an abstract painter who includes both abstract lamb portraits and figurative representations.
Describe your creative process.
Since my childhood, I have had a great fascination for abstract art with bleeding colors and transparent layers. In order to be able to achieve these effects in my own pictures, I started covering my own canvases with organic cotton or linen and am therefore flexible in terms of the sizes of individual commissioned works. My technique is to apply acrylic paint in layers with different degrees of coverage and pre- watering of the canvas as well as pre- watering the acrylic paint. This allows unique effects - natural, organic color gradients, color bleeding and color transitions - to be created in contrast to sharp lines and geometric figures.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
As an abstract painter, I have two different themes. Abstract landscapes and abstract body representations. The love of depicting the human body lies in my job as a doctor. I have been accompanying people in all different forms of their lives for years. To briefly explain: I not only work as a family doctor, I was a doctor in prisons for years and am currently working in forensics for the police. Every body is unique and beautiful in its own way. While I have so far devoted my studies to abstract representations of female bodies, I would like to soon expand my art to include different body shapes and situations. Through my professional work I come into contact with so many different situations and conditions of the human body that you get a different perspective on things.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
For me, art is always interesting when it makes me stop for a moment and I can't resist the urge to take a closer look. I am particularly fascinated by the mix of craftsmanship and the effect of chance, which makes each picture appear to be a unique creation. The first thing that often concerns me is the choice of color, followed immediately by the application technique. Paintings with social, political or other socially relevant themes are always interesting to me, but I do not feel that this background is necessary to create impressive art. In my personal opinion, the expression of feeling through the use of colors and shapes is always the factor that attracts me most in art and that fascinates me the most.
What is the role of the artist today?
How we define our role as artists is certainly very individual and varies greatly with the mental background of the images. I'm very happy that I'm not limited as an artist. It's a fantastic opportunity for people to deal with socio-political or social issues, but for some, art simply means the love of craftsmanship, technology and the ultimate result. For me, being an artist still means being able to be free in my expression in a world that is very controlled by norms. I have always seen art as a creative outlet for my main job, which is very scientific, and I am very grateful to be able to combine these different worlds in my life, as I need both sides in my life for my inner peace.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist