“As an artist I think you have to be pushing yourself into unfamilar/uncomfortable territory all the time; I was terrified of plein air work and working with such fast, indelible media so I decided to dive in and try to master them.”
Andrea Boltresz is an amazing artist with a unique sense of how to draw amazing outdoors scenes. Also known as @zoozoostudio on Instagram, Andrea is also an activist who is passionate about the environment. Here is what Andrea said when we sat down for an interview-
I’ve been obsessed with drawing & painting since very early childhood, but was encouraged to pursue a more traditional academic path (sensible parents), so I really didn’t get the opportunity to puruse art full-time until quite recently. I got married, had a baby, started a business and lived a completely different life, although I always had to break out and do a painting every once in a while. Then, after a car accident that left me permanently unable to work, a 2nd divorce and then being abducted and held hostage, I really reassessed my life and realised there wasn’t enough time left to do anything I wasn’t passionate about and I’ve been living by that rule ever since.
I’m always drawn to anyone who can express a lot with very little, so not surprisingly, I like a lot of Japanese artists (historical and current), and to anyone who shows technical excellence regardless of their medium. Ultimately, the artist has to have something to say and to be immersed in their subject matter to really engage my attention – no working from photos or portraits of people you’ve never met!
Yes! Living on a small farrm, with only rain water for all our needs, it’s impossible not to be environmentally aware. I’m especially passionate about protecting continental marine buffers, particularly coral reef systems. Everyone knows about the Great Barrier Reef as a tourist attraction, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s part of a vast chain of reefs protecting our shores and all of them are under threat from off-shore mining and commercial shipping activities. Hawaiian reefs are facing the same issues, so ocean health and biodiversity are global issues. I’ve been mapping Australia’s coastline for over a year now, as part of a long-term art-installation to bring attention to this issue.
I try hard not to let myself be influenced by other artists – developing your own voice is critical, but almost impossible if you spend too much time immersed in other peoples’ work. But I am very inspired by the approach certain artists take to their work, such as Carlos Barios (whose love of working on paper has really opened my eyes to its possibilities), Sugisaki Masanori (a Japanese sculptor with total mastery of his media) and a host of manga/anime artists just because of the brevity and dynamism of their drawing.
I really fuse drawing with watercolour in the sense that I work only with an ink-pen and brushes. I made a conscious decision 3 years ago to turn away from oil painting (the market is really saturated) and to explore some lighter mediums that have been somewhat neglected in modern art. As an artist I think you have to be pushing yourself into unfamilar/uncomfortable territory all the time; I was terrified of plein air work and working with such fast, indelible media so I decided to dive in and try to master them. Settling time limits for all my work and not being able to go back and change anything has been frightening and rewarding in equal measure. I will probably return to oil painting at some point, but at the moment I want to keep pushing what can be done with watercolour and ink.
I live on a small farm in a fairly isolated place (total population 78), so I’m surrounded by rural scenes all day. Simple things like a bit of shopping require getting in a car and driving “into town”, so I spend a lot of time on rural roads, zooming between towns and running errands. Viewing the world from the drivers’ seat is how I see most of my district and trying to capture that sense of movement and the views that pass my window have become the focus of my current work.
Big question. As I mentioned, I’ve been working on a large installation piece about coral reef degradation, which involves weaving my own canvas as a metaphor for the intricacy and underlying structure of coral reefs. I’m also keen to see my daily manga sketches find their way into a book format where I think they will resonate with a wider audience and I’m exploring animating some of my paintings and working with musicians on album and video art – I go where inspiration takes me.