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First Prize for Digital Art 2006

Central Park Blues by Heidemarie Z-Carnelid
"Central Park Blues"
Artist:  Heidemarie Z-Carnelid
Home:  Sweden
Medium:   Photoshop and Corel Painter IX
Size:  193 x 430 mm

I made this after a visit in Central Park – New York. The man playing his sax inspired me to paint him. So I took some pictures of him and other parts of Central Park. So this is the result of my day in one of the most beautiful parks in the USA.

As long as I know and can remember I had a pencil in my hand. I got over to Digital art around 10 years ago. I live on the countryside together with my husband and our two cats. Her I got all he Inspirations I need for my Art.

Art Dept Interview

As the winner of your category in the 2006 International Art Contest, being selected by such a diverse group of artists from all around the world, how do you feel?

Oh My God! This is huge. Good I guess but I am a little bit in chock since I didn’t think I had the chance to take the first price at all. With so many fine contributions that contested 2006 – it’s a great honour. At best I can explain that it feels like a dream. Have been online already several times to check whether it is true or not. Thank you everybody who voted for my picture. Personally I think there were a lot of fabulous pictures this year.

Please describe your current works and any plans for forthcoming exhibits.

For the moment I am painting for the upcoming exhibitions I will have or participate in during 2007-2008. For me it’s important to be prepared since some places will be the same as last year and I want to show something new. As a painter in Digital Fine Art I feel the obligation to show the viewers that my way of painting is to take seriously in the world of art. But, the largest project right now is to create three paintings that I will have on the 6’th Biennale for Contemporary Art in Florens, Italy in December 2007. I want them very special and the process is filled with agony.

Many of my paintings right now are about the children’s situation and exposure in the world. In our times of war, natural disasters and the societies changes it feel important to take an active interest. I do that by painting pictures where the lives of the children are mirrored. There is always an idea behind every picture I make. I want to mediate a feeling, a thought. Several times at my exhibitions I have been standing together with people who have been crying, stirred of emotions, while watching my pictures and reading the text connected to it. People take great interest in my paintings. They walk out of the exhibition, touched in their soul. That is good – then I have reached my goal.

If any, in what ways have you seen changes in attitudes towards "art"?

I haven’t seen any changes in my kind of Art. It is said that it is difficult to succeed as a digital artist, but not even that I have noticed. Sure there is certain suspiciousness towards the digital media in the traditional Art World but it also open doors since it is a new way to create and express your artistic skills.

Do you think that the fine artist will survive as technology replaces our skills?

Absolutely. The technology doesn’t replace our skills it just changes the way artists can work and express themselves. Genuinity is always asked for. I am convinced that regular Art always will enrich our lives. As a digital artist I have been confronted with the fear that the digital way will wipe out the traditional way to paint. But I don’t believe that for a moment. Digital painting can never replace oil, aquarelle or any other traditional method. These will live on as far as I can see.

As much as it doesn’t suite me to paint with traditional methods, the digital media doesn’t suite everybody. To paint digitally isn’t just to paint through the computer using a digitizing tablet. For me it’s a way of life. To create you have to love your tools to make them cooperate. I love my computer – it does even have a name (the resent one is Maximilian). I have a relationship with it.

What advice could you give to those embarking upon a career as an artist?

I don’t know if I’m the right person to give advice to other artists. But giving it another thought there are some things that have been of great importance for my own creative process. I have never seen other artists as a threat. Art is a wide concept and the taste differs a lot between people that it can never out-compete my art. There are those who like what I do and those who don’t understand at all.

I think that my success is partly due to that I have been sharing my gifts to other artists. I have told them of exhibitions, good art galleries and marketing ways. It is a fantastic feeling to see other artists grow in their gift. I have also dared to try to find my own way of expressing my art. I’m quite critical but I have nonetheless no problem to admit that I am very content (almost proud) of what I have created. In my cultural setting (Sweden) that is rare and I’m getting some hard words for that. For me it’s important to develop. I think that we are never done in the creative process. If you have the gift to paint, then use it. I love what I do. My life would be empty if I couldn’t express what I have inside. But, I will continue to develop. I want to know that what I will create in 10 years will be so much better than today. Creativity is a process not a result. If possible try to find someone you trust who can guide you through all the steps to be established in the art world. Someone with experience and a positive attitude that can be a mentor both in practical ways but also artistically. And don’t be afraid to think marketing. You are selling something don’t forget that.

But most important is that we artists support each other. I have some friends whom I meet with a couple of times every month to visit shows and exhibitions. Then we go out for some snacks and discuss what we have seen and sensed. We don’t want to steal other artist’s ideas but want to be inspired and also show support for other artists. It’s very awarding. Never underestimate exhibitions there is always something to learn.

And another thing; don’t expect everything to be fair in the art world. Is it fair that I won this contest? I’m sure there were other artists who have been working harder and longer than me in this contest. But someone has to decide autocratically or democratically. You have to find your audience.

Why did you enter the Art Dept contest and what decided your selection for entry?
Most of all I wanted to see how my way of creating digital art would be in comparison to other digital art. And then it’s always fun to throw yourself out on deep water to see if you can swim. I read about the contest in a magazine and thought “Why not?”. And then I hit the road.

Is there anything about being an artist that you do not like?

Yes, the loneliness. As a painter a lot of your creative process takes place when you are alone. Not many of us have a work place to go to but we work in our home or studio. At the same time the hours alone drives me forward. I really miss someone to share my ideas instantly to get critical feedback. Good or bad.

Would you sell your most favourite artwork, or keep it?

Yes, but in my case it’s easy since I print every edition of my art on a large scale Giclée printer. And I always have the original digitally stored. I often do get closely touched to my artwork. They are created from the depths of my soul and becomes like my children. I develop a relation to my pictures and when they are done I put them where I can see them as much as possible. I need to see them and be fully content before they end up on an exhibition. I always write text to my pictures for the viewers to read. Therefore I need to formulate in words my feelings and thoughts behind the picture.

How important was education and training to you?

I’m almost ashamed to answer this question. I have no artistic education. I took an evening class in Photoshop some years ago. Otherwise I have been struggling at home alone with my computer, getting mad when things haven’t worked as I wanted. But I have never given up and continued to work on till I’ve been able to rejoice in the result.

Is there anything in your art career that you would have changed?

I wish I would have had the guts to show my art in public earlier. I had my first own exhibition in October 2005.

If you were invited overseas to exhibit your works, where would you like that to be?

Yes I dream of possibilities to show my art in other countries. Berlin, where I was born, Paris, New York, Seattle, Hong Kong, Japan and of course down under in Australia. I would very much visit Sydney but actually the size of the city doesn’t matter.

Are you looking forward to entering the contest for next year?

I haven’t been thinking so far yet, but I guess so. I still have a couple of months to go before I decide. I just have to see what art I will create the next coming months.

Do you recommend use of the Internet for an artist's publicity?

Absolutely! What would I be as an artist without my homepage. I have between 30-60 visitors every day and it’s a great tool to show your art for everybody.

Would you change anything about how the contest is organised?

No, since you have decided to let other artists and viewers vote in a democratic way. I also like that the contest is held during a long period of time. I also like that it’s not possible to see whom the artist is when you vote. Then you now it’s the art and not the name of the artist that compete. But if I can have a wish then it would be an exhibition for the winners and those who reached the final round somewhere.

How can the Internet be made better for working artists?

Most important would be for me as a painter that pictures on the Internet would be impossible to download. I’ve heard it’s possible to make but difficult to do. Then I wouldn’t be afraid that someone steals my pictures.



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