VAM 34 Artist Profile | Renee Makino

Renée Makino, Cool Fire, Acrylic, 76 x 91 cm

  1. Tell us about the artwork you have in VAM 34.  Give us an idea of the conceptual framework you used in creating this piece.  What inspired it?  Why did you choose to use that particular medium?  Why that particular perspective, set of colours, subject matter, etc. 

This is a non-objective painting, starting with the application of various fields of colour on the canvas, and then more vigorous and spontaneous application of layers of paint, with the use of various palette knives.  I love the colours blue and red, the contrast of fiery red and cool blues, perhaps inspired by my love of the sea.  I love the freedom of uninhibited expression possible with acrylic paint and palette knives, especially on larger canvases such as this.  Although I didn’t start out with a concept for this painting, my impression after completing it was definitely of the contrasting inner excitement and creative power of the red and outer cold restraint of the blue, or earth elements of hot volcanic lava against icy mountains, hence the name “Cool Fire”.

  1. How would you describe your creative process?  What medium do you use most often and why? 

Although I have sometimes painted realistic landscapes that reminded me of significant travel experiences, I most enjoy the spontaneity of just direct intense creative expression.  In the 1970s, during some years living inTokyo, I enjoyed a style of woodblock printmaking called “dye resist technique”, carving abstract designs into the blocks, building up textures with various materials, handprinting the blocks with oil paint on Japanese washi, then brushing on various colours of vegetable dyes, creating an intriguing effect.  Since 2006 I have discovered that painting with acrylics on canvas or paper allows me to express in a more uninhibited and intense way, without all the many steps and technical processes required to create the woodblock prints.

  1. How would you describe the Mississauga art community? What excites you most about it? Why should art lovers from Toronto come to visit? What can you do to ignite the Mississauga art community? How do you think the AGM can ignite the community? 

Since joining the Visual Arts Mississauga artist association in 2009, and developing the courage to submit my paintings to the annual juried shows at theAGM, I have been surprised and excited to discover the large number of amateur and professional artists in the Mississauga area producing a large variety of high quality work.  Just the lineup of more than 200 artists entering their paintings and sculptures in this current VAM 34 show demonstrates a lot of creativity and sensitivity in the community, and an appreciation of beauty in many forms.  I like the opportunity of meeting with other artists through art associations and art classes, workshops, exhibitions, and events.  I liked the “Walk the Talk” tour of the VAM 34 show with the jurors and hearing their response to some of the paintings, to better understand the selection process and to get more involved with the exhibition.  And when I brought some friends from outside ofMississauga who had never visited or heard of the AGM, I realized that it’s an impressive gallery, and also that seeing my painting exhibited in this show made some of them realize that they had once enjoyed painting and might take it up again.

  1. Art should be accessible.  Agree or disagree?  What does “accessible” mean to you?  How can galleries make art accessible even to people who’ve never been to an art gallery?  If you disagree, why? 

I agree.  I think making art starts very young and that classroom art classes and workshops in the schools, summer camps, and art associations like VAM, as well as the possibilities of creating digital art on the computer, and reading about and viewing art on the computer, all contribute to our appreciation and involvement with visual art.  As for the art gallery experience, and actually physically relating to the artworks, it seems that AGMs various tours and interactive events taking place in the gallery, surrounded by art, is a good way to make art accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise visit an art gallery.  How to re-create the party atmosphere of  opening night for such special visits or events throughout a show,  to add to experiencing or relating to the art ?

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