Interview​ with Antonio Mora – Surreal & Lucid Artist

Imagine walking to the deep end of your subconscious and learn about your true desires.  Imagine reaching your highest level of awareness. Imagine an extraordinary experience that explores your resilience which flows through the self-imposed boundaries of the intellect. Feel the sensation of the current of your own agency to revive your strength and the superhero within you. Skillfully, this journey is depicted by Antonio Mora. He leads you to discover your absurd, somber, or brave emotions through self-reflective imagery which captures your cognitive clarity to get closer to yourself.

Jungle - Antonio Mora
Jungle – Antonio Mora

Antonio Mora, a surreal creative and art director, frames the mystery of our pursuit in life and the endless possibilities of our being in an uncompromising artistic narrative. Patching emotions of cultural impressions to the advent of modern life and crushing the overprotective surrogate inner-self to the extent that fantasy becomes a tangible reality is what Antonio Mora offers.

young caribdis
Young Caribdis, Antonio Mora 

He studied psychology and philology, later completing his training with a Master of Art in Graphic Design and creatively continues to encourage self-reflection and deliberation to summon up the courage to connect with oneself. I had the opportunity to interview him, one of the most expressive artists of the present time, to learn about him and his spirit:

sevilla in red
Sevilla in Red – Antonio Mora

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art-

AM: I have always been a creative person. For more than 25 years I have worked as a graphic designer and art director in my own design studio.

In 2011, after a serious physical crisis, I decided to give free rein to my own creative desires and to leave the work commissioned by clients. I had no options after that long and hard process, so I decided to put all the meat in the grill, overcome my fears and trust in my vision. That’s how I came to this.

Jupilings: Who are your protagonists- 

AM: I want to believe that my protagonists are the hybrid beings that appear in our dreams, inhabitants of a parallel world that we only access either during deep sleep or through the use of psychotropic substances, and that nevertheless, we perceive them as coming, like a déjà vu that reminds us that there is more to reality than what we perceive with our physical senses.

déjà vu
Déjà vu – Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

AM: I think that throughout my work emerges a certain mystical, mythological sense in the classical sense, where the forces of nature take on a human form. Many titles are The Young Zeus, the Cyclops, Nymph, Persephone, Caribdis, Aquarida.

Nature as a soul-endowed force that, when transmuted in person, brings us closer to it. My portraits are often portraits of gods or heroes that we could have been.

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder-

AM: Although there are innumerable ways of understanding it, I conceive art in the classical sense, the search for intrinsic truth for beauty. In a society like the current one where through social networks we see tons of ugliness, trash, and injustice, my modest contribution is to create beauty that inspires others and that raises a wall against the mediocrity and vulgarity that invades us. I think that is my duty as an artist.

Jupilings: “Creative people are an idealist and live a colourful and chaotic life”, what do you think of this statement-

AM: It is a generality and as such susceptible to be interpreted in different ways but in my case, it is correct, although the colour is sometimes of a rather dark hue, and indeed the chaos is a constant in my life, I am messy, often imprecise and erratic. I wrote a long time ago that the artist feels himself with stupor as if he should not be there, as if he were not part of the reality in which the whole world lives. I thought it was a gift and it turned out to be a condemnation, once said an artist friend, my mentor, who died, unfortunately. Someone like him, chaotic by nature, knew how to inspire in me, and in many others (he was an art teacher) that life and therefore beauty arise from chaos.

into the wall
Into the wall, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: As a creative individual, you have a reflective nature, hence you are inclined to dive deeper into your fears, insecurities, or setbacks, where do you draw a line to stop and regain your sense of motivation and meaning in life to keep charging ahead? What is your coping mechanism, a routine, a friend, ….?-

AM: My mechanism is the constant creation, the progressive approach through creative work to the idea that I intend to bring to light. This, which often produces a feeling of ecstasy, also in many cases generates enormous anguish. To shake it off, fortunately, is my wife, my children, my dogs, who walk daily through the palm groves that surround my atelier in Elche (Spain).

It relaxes me to cook, to drink wine with my friends. Fortunately, very close to where I live, is the sea and a small and beautiful island where I go very often. As soon as I reach her, my anguish dissipates. In short, my life is the life of a normal person, or at least as normal as my nature allows me to be.

sea girl
Sea Girl, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience:

AM: Hahaha, that question could put me in a compromise. When I was 18 years old I tried LSD, since then my perspective on the world changed. I perceived that there were parallel worlds. No, of course, I did not take it for a long time, it scares me. However, I do allow myself to smoke some marijuana when I am faced with a creative process. It is the key through which I can reopen that door that opened in my youth.

red wind
Red wind, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-

AM: It jumps to the sight that I am an admirer of the woman, of the power of the woman, of its beauty. More than 90% of my portraits have women as protagonists. As a creator of life and a source of inspiration. I wrote once that the passion of the woman is the force that moves the world, I continue to subscribe. I am sure that the world would work much better if it were the women who governed it.

mother
Mother, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: When you start a creative project, how do you overcome self-doubt –

AM: Fortunately, I have a lot of experience and many years of preparation that allow me to save the initial doubts with a certain ease. However, that doubt always lurks, especially if I will be able to generate something really new and not copy myself.

I receive many custom orders. There yes, the doubts begin, since not only I have to satisfy myself but to manage to transmit my satisfaction to the client and that is not an easy task.

ruins
Ruins, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why-

AM: I would be Lucidman. Always able to have immediately the creative response at hand that would allow me to disturb the conscience of others.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor- 

AM: I would have liked to be George Baines (Harvey Keitel), in The Piano. A tormented and unforgettable character.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

AM: Live and let live.

 

To learn more and for commissioned artwork please refer to mylovt.com.

 

Interview with Jana Brike, Echoes of Self-Awareness

What happens when you achieve to liberate your mind, when you weave memories, capture purely personal feelings and unfold your experiences in colour?  Beyond doubt, beautiful imagery! Nothing is as fulfilling when you come to terms with your repressed unconscious.  Latvian pop surrealist artist, Jana Brike is the epitome of this awareness. With Masters in the Art, she transforms taboos, despairs, pleasures, desires, and vulnerabilities by channeling the energies to discover her true self and create a sublime art. Unassumingly, she explores her life story and feelings, re-creates and allows us to re-live the stimulations.

"Summer of Wild Wallflower" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Summer of Wild Wallflower” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Unapologetically, she has put aside manuals, instructions of social behaviors and codes of hierarchical society by refusing to accept conformity without examination. In spite of that, she believes in the naivety of human soul and purity of love in an unconventional manner. She touches on existential life question, embracing with harmony and awareness her transformation much like the cosmic ocean cocooning planets and stars which continually create new forms even if they are interdependently connected and travel in similar paths.

"Echoes from the Center of the World" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Echoes from the Center of the World” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

I had the opportunity to meet her at Gallery House, Toronto during her exhibition and was able to have an exclusive interview. To begin with, I would like to thank Jana Brike for her generous collaboration, Belinda Chun and David Keyes from Gallery House, Toronto for curating, organizing exhibitions and facilitating this talk:

Jupilings: Jana Brike, tell us about yourself and how you got into art:

JB: Honestly, I’ve been an artist as long as I remember myself. I always was the kind of “beauty would save the world” person and knew I would do something creative. As a little child, I loved art exhibitions, ballet performances, theater, reading books, looking at book illustrations, watching movies and especially animations. It felt like these expressions transcend the human condition so beautifully. So I knew I would do something in that field. I disliked stage though and loved spending countless hours hatching and brewing something creative in the quietness of my room. So painting choice came naturally.

Jupilings: Who is your protagonist? 

JB: It is always me, in a broader sense. My work is my visual poetic auto-biography through which I look at my experiences, at what it means to be human, I change these experiences and conditions into something meaningful, they become like stages of initiation into a broader and more profound self, for myself and hopefully others.

"New Day Rising" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“New Day Rising” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts:

JB: Personal truth and love. Lately, it is also something more fragile, like naked vulnerability and hope. I feel that the spear that destroys your armor and injures your hardened skin can itself break in the gentle softness of your open heart. That fierce gentleness and complete openness, I want to channel it into my work. Even if living like that in a world like ours is not yet always possible.

"Tour Guide and the Runaway Princess" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Tour Guide and the Runaway Princess” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder: 

JB: I don’t think it differs much from the role and social responsibility of any human being – to experience the wonder of life to the best of your ability, in the way that expresses the best version of your self. Otherwise, the role differs from artist to artist, there as many forms of visual expression as there are individual personalities of artists out there. I personally always felt that role as some peculiar form of shamanism, for me the work always involves a deeply meditative state, certain transcendental energy, even a sense of ecstasy, specific sensing of and work with the future possibilities like in dream states and more. Work with collective archetypes, with collective daydreaming like in myths. In an as aware way as I currently can. I don’t know if it’s the same for other artists.

Jupilings: What narrative transpired in your latest collection and especially “two angels in the deep dark wood”:

JB: I feel my work less like a linear narrative and more like a piece of visual poetry. Those are stories very much about intimacy – towards your own body, your soul in the first place, and then between you and another. Also, about playfulness, joy, discovery of your true nature, the pleasure of being alive.

"Two angels in deep dark" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Two angels in deep dark” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: You create defiant art, exploring social and cultural pressures, how do you preserve the standards of propriety while discussing and weaving your
visual narrative:

JB: I don’t think my characters defy public opinions or propriety; I feel more like they live as if there were no outside opinions or pressures to consider, as if one’s freedom and integrity and love was the only law to live by – maybe that is what gives this slightly utopian feel to my work. And I don’t think on much else while I paint, and definitely not the collective standards and expectations. If any rules guide me, it’s my personal sense of ethics and my own deeply felt experiences.

"Wildflowers on the Edge of a Cliff" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Wildflowers on the Edge of a Cliff” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience:

JB: All my important personal feelings, thoughts and human experiences are shared through my painting with no reserve and no holding back, truly. At the same time, to me, there is something numinous to the painting process, as if I transcend my trials and tribulations in an in-depth emotional sacral process while I paint, so the finished painting is a sort of personal icon to me. This process is mysterious, even to me, I know for sure that I emerge healed on the other end. The particulars of my life facts don’t matter.

"Mayday" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Mayday” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

JB: Definitely, the first step is finding your own personal power, a broad sense of self-worth, self-love, self-respect, self-care that doesn’t require external validation. I honestly believe that the way you treat and think of yourself, the world will reflect that right back to you. How worthy of the love you consider yourself. And having this personal base foundation strong, the next step is to reach out and help the sisters, to share, support, encourage. The changes in the society do not star from outside and from the top as law as much as they grow from inside – you change yourself, spread it to the family, closest tribe, and then outwards, to the society. From the center of your heart outwards.

Dreams, more real than life sometimes.. by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
Dreams, more real than life sometimes.. by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist?

JB: I think it is first a very honest work with yourself as a human, “brand name” comes much later; first, you need a very solid substance of who you truly are, something to attach that brand name to. You have to find yourself, to dare to be yourself and stay true to yourself, celebrating your uniqueness, your individual view of the world. To dare to speak about what is important to you personally, about what makes you burn, what is your bliss, what is your passion. Then comes very serious, very responsible and professional work ethic and very committed work on the necessary skillsets. And just after all that can you think of brand names. Of course, vice versa is possible, you can come up with some loud noise of a brand name to cover up the emptiness behind, and it would work for one day, but it wouldn’t give satisfaction, nor serve any worthwhile purpose with a capability to last.

"The procession" by Jana Brike - Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“The procession” by Jana Brike – Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

JB: Self-doubt is also a kind of fear – that you may fail, that you won’t be good enough etc. – so it’s a question about fear.
To me, the answer is almost constant self-observation. I look at, and question every thought or emotion that rushes through me, and I question where it’s coming from, and what purpose does it serve. And in the very base, I feel there are two basic emotions, or energies – that of love, and that of fear (which further feeds anger, hate, etc.). So I question my motives, viewpoints, decisions, thoughts daily, asking myself where they come from and what I will choose today – love or fear. Every single day. All the time. I don’t think there is any other way. It’s a daily work, daily hygiene – like wash your dishes, make your bed, brush your teeth and also weed out your soul and mind and motivations and keep them clean.

"Blood Moon" by Jana Brike - Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Blood Moon” by Jana Brike – Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: The blockchain technology will remedy many issues linked to provenance, transparency, copyright, ownership, valuation, and authenticity in the Art Market. And indeed, it could make it easier for artists to get paid and get known. What are your thoughts about this technology which is about unconstrained collaboration, & promise of fair rewards for the artist? Would you consider using blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts? 

JB: I haven’t investigated its potentials much beyond what is commonly known about new types of currencies, but I am excited about new possibilities and growth, and this new era we live in with new kinds of sharing and exchange. These are exciting times.

Jupilings: What are the problems in the Art Market do you want these platforms to solve?

A lot of issues are already being solved by just internet, like artists complete dependence on the establishment, necessity for some person who is a mediator between viewer and artist and on whose good grace and evaluation an artist depended – it’s nearly gone, you as an artist can find your public even if you don’t have a gallery or a magazine which would publish you. Also if you stand way out and beyond what the establishment considers a value. I think it’s a big gain all in all. More will be changing I expect, so it’s good to have one’s senses keen and alert.

"The Wild Honey Girl"by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“The Wild Honey Girl”by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings:  What superpower you would like to have ? and why?

JB: I’d like to be able to fly; I think that would be a thrilling sensation.

"Into the Dark" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Into the Dark” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor: 

JB: Lead role in my life’s story is enough for me.

"The Deep Waters" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“The Deep Waters” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

JB: Stay true to myself, live with an open heart, accept myself as I am – that’s the basic guideline. Although I don’t despair if some days I can’t manage this.
I have somewhat of an inner protest to things like verbal mottos; those tend to turn into self-imposed laws like a box you can’t get out of it. I live as I live, I am what I am, I have my inner compass that guides my path, and it doesn’t depend on pre-conceived mental constructs much.

Jana Brike
Jana Brike