This week we will be interviewing young local talented artist Jeremy Amaira.
Jeremy, 22, has just finished his degree in Fine Arts BA (hons) and is currently planning to further his studies abroad. Interested in both good music and books; he developed a very keen interest in history and it also seems to play an important part in his work, his interest is particularly in old and vintage objects, war history and old photography.
So Jeremy, I’ve seen some really awesome work in your portfolio, can you tell us more about it? What’s the technical definition of your style of drawing?
My work aims to produce contrasts which create a different reality from what we see and hear around us both locally and international. This happens through a variety of materials and processes, such as drawing and installation. I make work that reflects upon the significance of past episodes and political issues in a contemporary society. I tend to tackle delicate subjects which invite the viewer to reflect on issues happening around us. My work aims to be a protest because I present work that shows the opposite of what is being done. I also like to challenge the boundaries between what is beautiful and horrific.
Why did you choose such themes?
I’ve always been interested in war and war history, especially thanks to my grandfather who was always open to tell me stories about childhood during war. The political unrest and war in North Africa in 2011 was also something that triggered my thoughts. The ability to protest and rebel against war and other atrocities through art is very powerful in my opinion. I also have a tendency to focus on dark and violent subject matter. The lack of color and the type of subjects used to portray my idea are very evident in my work.
Is there any message you want to send with your work? And if yes, what is it about?
Not exactly. Most of the times it’s just my personal opinion and idea about a topic or an event, the rest is open for the public’s interpretation. This I think leaves more room for conversation between the viewer and myself.
Do you feel nowadays art is given the attention and respect it deserves?
Locally no, abroad for sure. Having said that I feel that there have been improvements compared to what it used to be before. Nowadays local private galleries are more and more interested in the expression of young upcoming artists, and thus new initiatives are being introduced.
Where do you get your inspirations from? Do you have any artistic role models?
I get my inspiration mostly from books and the news. These two present us with a huge amount of images and stories that remain printed in my mind. With the advancements in technology the public is closer than ever to what is happening in other countries, be it wars, revolutions or protests. I get inspired from almost everything, usually by drawing something which represents or reminds me of what I really want to draw, thus using the idea of symbols. I like the work of artists like Marcel Van Eeden, Dominick Mc Gill, Marcel Dzama and Michaell Borremans.
Picasso once said: “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth”. Do you agree?
I don’t think I agree with it to be honest. I see it as the total opposite – Art is the truth that makes us realize lies.
Name your favorite quote.
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” – Albert Camus.
What is the weirdest / funniest source of inspiration you’ve ever had? And why?
Ignorance. I get inspired easily by stupidities that people say and do.
Why did you choose to take the artistic path?
I did not CHOOSE to take an artistic path. From a very young age I was always interested in drawing and art. When I was at school I always chose art as a way to improve my skills and also as a hobby. After finishing sixth form I decided to take what I like more seriously, and so I continued to study art on a higher level. Since then art changed it’s meaning to me. It was not on how accurate you can make something look from a real object, but it was more about thinking about what I believe in and who I am, and expressing it into my work. My work is my diary composed out of images.
What is your favorite personal work?
My most recent work named “Spectacle of Death”, I feel my true artistic identity mostly evident in this work. The work consists of 100 drawings, all showing different variations of the same event, the explosion. This is an action so fast that we do not think of all the changes that happen to society at that moment – lives lost, families broken and cultures changed, thus the smoke is used as a metaphor for this. By freezing a moment in time and presenting it in numerous drawings, I’m giving the viewer time to think of all the repercussions during the instant when a bomb is going off. My choice of material is also important in this work. The properties of charcoal emphasize on the idea of temporality.
If a person aspires to become an artist, what are your suggestions?
The same answer in the favorite quote question – (“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” – Albert Camus.)
Do you have any upcoming plans / projects?
Yes. I am currently working on a collaborative exhibition with 9 other artists which will be held in a private gallery in Valletta. This is going to be open to the public for a whole month. I am also working on another collaborative project together with a Maltese writer, I was one of 10 young artists which were chosen to create illustrations for a book he is currently writing.
Thank you for your time Jeremy.
To view some more of his work visit the following :