Zoe Sua Kay: “I See Art as Being an Expression of Humanity”


Finalist of the Art Sprinter competition Zoe Sua Kay is a truly multinational artist. Born in Portugal, she studied and exhibited in London and then moved to New York to continue her education and career. Zoe believes that traveling, constant exploring and collaboration with other talented people are three main components of the artistic success. That is why she is so excited to present her art together with 12 other artists from all over the world at the group art show on August 17, 2013 in the Water Mill Square Gallery.

Please introduce yourself to The Art Sprinter Blog readers.
I was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1987. At the age of thirteen I moved to the United Kingdom to attend school there. I then lived in London as a practicing artist from 2008 until 2012 when I moved to New York City to undertake an MFA at the New York Academy of Art. Having a multinational and nomadic background has been a huge influence on my interest in and de-contextualization of people within my work. I have previously exhibited in various shows around London and New York.

From your experience, do you think that art contests are helpful for artists?
Taking part in competitions has proved to be both rewarding as well as challenging. It is incredibly helpful that the process, whether successful or not, forces you to grow as a professional artist. It also makes you aware of the artistic practices of others, which helps to build a community and dynamic environment in which art can grow.

What would you advice the artists who are thinking to participate in The Art Sprinter competition?
I would advise anyone thinking of participating in The Art Sprinter to absolutely apply. It has proved rewarding and inspiring. I would also suggest applying early, and to not be afraid of submitting large works which can be tricky with other competitions.

When and why did you decided to be an artist? What are the most important projects you have been working on?
I knew I wanted to be an artist from the first moment I put pen to paper as a young girl. Being an artist for me didn’t really feel like a choice – the desire to paint was always a motivating force in my life. I was however, lucky enough to have a very supportive family who encouraged me to follow my passions.

Did you have formal art education? If so, which school did you attend?
While I was completing my BFA in Fine Art, I received a very little formal training (a short two week course in color mixing during the summer) until I began my MFA at the New York Academy of Art.

What role do you see art and your art in particular playing in society today?
I see art as being an expression of humanity. The conceptual intangibility of its visual form can inspire, move and speak to the human psyche in a unique and unpredictable way. It can be therapeutic and educational, thus taking an important role in society. I hope that my work can be all these things, and speak some of the truth of the human condition that makes us individuals, but also binds us together as people.

How do you find ideas for your paintings?
The objects/subjects for my paintings are my own personal experiences, as well as the people I have met along the way.

Which creative medium do you prefer to work with and why?
I prefer to work with oil paints, largely because I find it to be the best and most pleasurable medium through which I can manifest my ideas.

What is your best environment to create art?
Most of my best work has come from being alone in my studio listening to music. However, I work best in short, intense bursts, so having others around to speak to and bounce ideas off is important. I find I work best when my studio is either within close proximity to other studios, or has the works of other artists in it. It keeps my own practice fresh because I can always learn from other artworks, regardless of whether or not they are abstract paintings, representational or even conceptual installation works.

Who is your favorite artist and why? Please name of the old masters you like the most.
Currently my favorite artist is Jenny Saville. The way she combines technique, imagery and concept is incredibly striking. Her work has opened up many doors I think about color and application of paint. Furthermore Caravaggio’s intense use of light and form to create drama is a great inspiration.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a project about mortality and our abortive endeavors to maintain a sense of dignity in both life and death. The project is still in the very beginning stages but is slowly and surely coming into fruition!

What would you tell other aspiring painters, any advice?
My advice to other aspiring artists is first and foremost, surround yourself with other artists who nurture your creativity and provide the invaluable support you need to keep producing art work… and then, keep producing artwork—never give up.

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