The Heart2Art Project’s Gillian Rule interviewed Remi Frolichman, a 17 year old artist attending the Orange County School of the Arts about her artistic expression and what the youth have to offer the artistic world. Here’s what she had to say:
GR: What is your passion and when did it begin? How did it develop and grow throughout your life?
RF: My passion for art has been around for as long as I can remember. I’m told it began with drawings on MagnaDoodles - then it evolved into oil painting, and now ranges from painting, photography, to graphic design.
GR: How do you express yourself creatively? What mediums do you use?
RF: Aside from, and more frequently than visual arts, I express myself through my apparel. For a while I’ve valued the expressive side of clothing - it’s something that’s new every day so I prioritize having fun with my clothing as almost an artistic medium in a commitment-free/transient way.
I express myself through music, as well - I can sort of play a few instruments and I’ve written a little, in a hobby type of way. Whether it’s playing or creating playlists, music is huge in my life and I’d consider it some way I express myself.
GR: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there a particular artist that you find inspirational?
RF: Artists Ignasi Monreal and Delfin Finley make up my top inspirations in art. I’m constantly inspired by their detailed work and who they create for. Also Sari Shryack and Kehinde Wiley [inspire me]. A very large portion of my inspiration also comes from the people and work I encounter at school.
GR: Aside from visual artists, are there any artists in music, film, or other mediums that have inspired you as well?
RF: I’m often inspired by the work of musical artists, the music, the writing, and the visuals. Specifically artists like Tipling Rock, Steve Lacy, and Half Alive. My favorite fashion designer/creative director is Alessandro Michele who leads all the beautiful ideas portrayed by Gucci.
GR: What kinds of obstacles did you face in pursuing the arts, either as a hobby or career? Did you have any supporters along the way?
RF: Though I think it’s gotten better, there’s still a stigma around pursuing art. I’ve felt some subtle influences of this stigma, however I’m very fortunate to have strong supporters of my artistic path.
GR: You go to an art school. How has being in an art school enhanced your creative expression?
RF: Going to an art school for so many years has really shaped myself as an artist. Since 7th grade i’ve been immersed in a school where I’m constantly surrounded by talented artists. I immediately found that this could make it easy to fall into a pool of comparison, so i feel that this environment allowed me to prioritize strengthening my own originality. On top of this, the friendly competition as a result of the concentrated talent provides a source of motivation to create and advance my work.
GR: While more spotlight is being brought to the voices of our generation in recent years, history has shown that the perspectives, activism, and art of teenagers are often dismissed. Have you personally experienced this as a teenager?
RF: I have definitely felt the effects of dismissive comments regarding my art, but I think more so than the comments, I place the dismissal on myself. I often find myself devaluing what I do, almost regardless of what people say - that people won’t want to purchase my pieces or will take my work/practice less seriously due to my lack in experience or young age. So I think it’s the climate that surrounds the overlooking of teen voices that can affect how teens view themselves.
GR: What does the youth have to offer to the world (whether this means perspective-wise, activism-wise, the sharing of art, etc.) and why is it important that this is recognized?
RF: Youth today can offer open minds. Though mindsets aren’t unanimous, openness to change is something more prevalent in the newer generations. I think it’s important to recognize that the future can diverge from the past and today’s teens can understand that what we live in depends on what we spread as individuals.
GR: Do you have a favorite piece that you have created? Can you explain it and why it is your favorite?
RF: My favorite piece is a self portrait I completed in December 2018. It’s a manifestation of the week I spent in Italy. The composition, posture, and expression were inspired by Renaissance portraits I saw in Florence; the curved border from the repeated architectural style; the flowers and greenery from the agriculture. This trip gave me a significant new perspective on the world, outside of the bubble of my own region. Consequently, I thought it best to create a piece representing what I saw, but also how I felt during/after the trip. I consider this piece my favorite because I felt more conceptually driven during the process than in that of any others, so I have a much stronger connection to it.
GR: How would you explain being a teen artist in comparison to being from an older generation?
RF: Exposure is different! It’s obvious that with the advancement of all types of social media networks it’s extremely easy to get your work out there. But this has its ups and downs. Like, your work, it’s out there, but in an ocean of everyone else’s as well. I also think there’s more freedom in what’s considered art today, which allows more people to create what they want and get recognized for it.
GR: Do you feel like your art is representative of your experiences as a teenager? As you get older, do you think that your artistic style will change?
RF: Throughout my teen years my work has included depictions of my friends and photos I’ve taken. I don’t think my pieces directly tell the audience the stories of my experiences, but more so give a snapshot of something I find significant. When I look at my work I can see the arc of my skill and the transition of my interests and inspirations. I think my style will keep a lot of the same aspects but I’ll continue to develop it as I explore many more subject matters, techniques, and mediums.
GR: Any last words or advice you would like to share?
RF: Explore, let your confidence radiate, ‘make an enemy of envy’ (Jerry Saltz), find those who inspire you and keep them around.
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