One to watch out for: Tizta Berhanu
Tizta is a really exciting contemporary artist. She was born in Ethiopia in 1991, and graduated from Addis Ababa University where she studied under #TadesseMesfin
Tizta’s painterly figurative works are made up of layers of thin paint washes, suggesting overriding memories, thoughts and emotions.
She chooses her colours unconsciously, in high intensities with monochromatic harmony.
The people are never copies of humans, rather merging of faces and bodies, lending the works to an unobtainable quality in the scenes depicted.
I love the tenderness, subtly and abstraction of her works!
What is it about paint that you love?
Paint is my medium. I can do most of the things I Imagine with it. Some people create with words I feel at home with paint. It has endless possibilities embedded in those spectrums of colors.
Tell us about the colours you use in your work?
I choose the color of my painting unconsciously most of the time. I usually use high intensity color with monochromatic harmony. High intensity colors have their own effect on the viewers and me too. But sometime the color itself leads me to what I am going to do next.
Who are the figures in your paintings?
Some are people I capture with my camera while others are models, acquaintances or friends. The main thing is though I don’t use the exact copy of the captured models. When I start to paint I merge and combine different faces and bodies until I land on my intended mark. I also use the modern gift of the Internet to search for figures.
I’ve read that you’re fascinated by love. What is it about love that intrigues you so much, and how do you explore this through your art?
The subject of Love has always been immense for me. It is not only a floating abstraction but real and experienced. Not far away but near, sometimes at an arm’s length. Plus, if you look at it from a theoretical point of view it is supposed to the ultimate whole; a concrete where all small details come together in to one big whole; like the concept of God for instance. So I can’t avoid it even if I intentionally try to.
What else inspires you to make art?
I like to be busy making things. Things that develop and grow, it could be craft or Art. But the real inspiration comes from life especially from people and from bible. Faces and bodies and what different people do with their bodies and faces.
Has there been an event, person, or object that has had a particularly strong impact on your work?
A couple of years before it was romantic experiences that inspired my works, in recent years my inspirational ground is mostly spiritual. There were events and people throughout my life; I know how much they had influenced me when they start to become part of my works as much as my life.
Can you tell us about your arts education?
When I was seventeen and was about to graduate from high school I joined The `Enlightenment art academy` in A.A, Ethiopia for a year and got my primary feel for the area and acquired my major skills. Then I enrolled at the `Alle school of fine Arts and design ( A.A.U) and got BFA in painting. After graduating I became a full time studio artist.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Stick to your passion in whatever flood of acceptance. Whatever you like is good. Be true to yourself, know what you are good at.
What do you like and dislike about the art world?
There are many things that I don’t like about the art world. But I will mention only two. One) The fact that one cannot be an Independent artist and be successful at it the same time. Two) I resent the fact that art is becoming a continuation of commerce and politics; and that I can’t tell good art from bad, or when equal opportunities are not in place for every artist to understand what the value of it all is. I like the technological aspect of the art world where everything and everyone seems to be accessible.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am not on to something new yet. I will be continuing on the same area for a while.
Who are your favourite contemporary artists and their Instagram handles?
Edward povey, Hans van der Leeuw, Emma Hopkins, Denis Sarazhin, Salman Toor…