1. What part of the process of creating art do you like best? I especially enjoy those moments when I’m just beginning an abstract painting. The canvas is blank, the paints are in front of me. Anything is possible in this moment. It’s exciting. I’ve chosen the colour schemes, and they fit in with what I’m going through at the time. I also enjoy those moments when I’ve realized the painting is finished. It’s a gratifying and truthful moment for me because I make the final decision that ‘I’m happy with this’ and other people’s perceptions are irrelevant in this moment. It gives me a sense of real freedom.
2. What is your working environment like? I paint in my home, on the floor of my lounge room, which looks out onto the forest, in the Dandenong Mountains. I don’t have a studio, although I dream of the day I will. I have taken my materials out into the desert, beach and forest. I love creating in these environments.
3. What kind of (formal & informal) art training have you had? I have had one lesson in painting. I remember the teacher commented I had a very free style, and that’s the way I like to keep it. I’m not sure if I will ever undergo any formal training in art in the future, since I am deeply involved in my field of psychology, counselling and hypnotherapy currently. I am interested in art as a form of therapy, so perhaps I will pursue studying experiential therapy with a focus on art at some stage in the future.
4. How has your art training affected the kind of art you produce? My lack of training means that my style is minimally influenced by other artists and genres of art. I paint because it gives me a sense of advancement in my personal and spiritual life. I create to express myself via the symbols, patterns, colours and abstract themes that evolve naturally. I hold a very Jungian perspective with my art.
5. Name some important influences and inspirations in your art career. The philosophies of Carl Jung have really inspired me to create, as has the perspective of artists like Kandinsky. Both of these men took the view that art can allow you to not always be trapped in your intellect, but reach deeper into the soul. I like to think my artwork is born from my inner soul, in a mysterious, enigmatic and mystic way, and then it acquires an autonomous life; it becomes an independent subject animated by a spiritual breath.
6. What has been the most difficult thing you have encountered in your work? The hardest thing has been to keep it ‘real’. What I mean by that is to paint according to what I want to achieve and experience, and not by what galleries and the market wants. I have made the decision to never ever compromise myself, and I will always stick to this. I once had a gallery tell me I should do it more ‘this way and that way’, and that didn’t feel right to my soul, and thus I rejected that path.
7. Have there been major turning points in your art career? My art career is continually evolving and there is no one turning point that is more significant than the other. To be honest, I think I have a lot more to achieve with my art to come, and I really look forward to that. I am interested in philosophical conceptual art. I will be extremely pleased with myself when I eventually generate an exhibition that can express, via conceptual art, some of the major political, ethical, metaphysical, epistemological and psychological philosophies of the past and present. It will be fun to engage my intellect more in the artistic process.
8. What has been the highlight of your art career? Getting an award from Rick Amor a few years ago was a very happy event for me. I am also pleased to have held a few of my own exhibitions outside of the activities of CAS. Also, once I received a phone call from a man who bought one of my paintings. He wanted to know more about my processes of creating and he praised the artwork, and I found this very flattering. He said to me “please keep painting”.
Caption: Evergreen by Antonietta Sanfilippo (Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 cm)