This week we talk with Farah Bellio, a young emerging artist soon to be exhibiting in our Winter Exhibition.
In one sentence tell us what you do.
Hi, I’m Farah Bellio. I’m 24 and I’m an abstract painter.
When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist?
I always had an interest in art from an early age. My parents picked up on this almost immediately and sent me to the Prince’s Drawing School in the summer holidays during my school years. There, I was able to learn techniques and feel more confident about the topic of art as I was surrounded by like minded individuals and teachers who were able to give me a better take on things. No other area of study held the same amount of importance, so I knew that it was something I would eventually focus my entire attention on. I went on to study an Art & Design Foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts where I had the chance to be free and completely dissect the prism of art. It was at this stage I specialised in painting. After this, I went on to complete a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art at Central St. Martins.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your experience whilst studying there? What have you been up to since leaving CSM?
I absolutely loved my experience at CSM. I appreciated how multicultural my year group was; it was interesting to get so many unfamiliar perspectives on things. The range of facilities and workshops we had access to was incredible, we could use any of the facilities in the six colleges dotted around London. The workshops were free to attend, frequent and the class sizes were often small.
Since leaving CSM I did some voluntary work in Cambodia for 3 months and I worked as an Assistant Manager at D Contemporary; a small gallery in the heart of Mayfair. Alongside that, I have exhibited my art in several locations all over London and set up my own Beauty business. Working at the gallery has been great as its given me a chance to learn about the way the art world works. What I loved most about the job was the artist selection process, the curation of the shows and the logistics behind the set up of each exhibition.
Do you think that that experience influences the way you work?
I’d definitely say I’ve learnt the “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to exhibiting work. It was extremely helpful to gain some knowledge about the sales and pricing of works as well as the current appetite for abstract art in London. I’ve made some interesting connections whilst working there; including all types of artists, collectors, curators and some pretty cool people in general!
Talk me through your creative process from beginning to end.
I seek the narrative for my work through the raw, playful act of painting itself. I will often work on multiple pieces at once and in some cases I will use each artwork as a reference point for the next. The only thing that can effectively influence the execution of my work is the emotional state I am in when creating it. I’ve recently been using plywood as a surface to paint on. I apply initial marks in a loose manner, just going with it and doing what feels right. I usually work with a lot of things such as squeegees, piping bags, sand, etc. I like the idea of not having too much control when using these tools, it’s the risk taking and accidental marks that hold the truest essence of beauty within the work. When it comes to choosing which mediums to work with I never restrict myself, my work is an experimental search, I would definitely get bored if I just stuck to one thing. The result is a complex yet harmonious display of irregular marks and gestures in an array of warm, pastel florescent tones.
At what point will you stop painting? When is the painting finished?
It’s not a case of when but IF! I would never describe any of my works as finished pieces but rather an open question on my search for a utopian state of completion of which I hope I will never find. I’m always returning back to old works, I will sometimes leave a work for weeks and then come back to it once I feel I can add something, not all pieces make the cut, I go through a lot of trial and error. I like to have a degree of uncertainty about what should be done next, in some cases I feel comfortable with this. These are the types of works I choose to exhibit.
Why do you choose to make non-representational art?
I have this obsession with exploring the unknown; I’m fascinated by unusual colours, lines, forms and gestures. It opens up a conversation between the artwork and the viewer. Abstract art is so open to interpretation and I love that no person will ever understand my painting in the same way as somebody else. It’s not that I don’t appreciate representational art, in fact, J.M.W Turner has influenced the way I work massively. After discovering him, I developed a new found love for expressing emotional energy within paintings.
How would you like people to interpret your work?
I want them to feel a sense of enjoyment when viewing my works. I want people to feel as open minded as I do when I create the pieces. Maybe some people will connect with it on a deeper level and let their minds run away with the work, whilst others might appreciate the playful journey I’ve been on with the materials used. I hope that they can take something positive away from the work, whatever it may be.
Check out Farah’s work in our Winter Exhibition this December 11th - 15th at the Menier Gallery, London Bridge.
To RSVP to the private view on Tuesday 11th December please click here.