EUGENIA LOLI: A place in the Universe
EUGENIA LOLI is a Greek artist who has lived in Germany and the UK before moving to California where she currently resides. She has worked as a nurse, computer programmer, journalist, and filmmaker before deciding to pursue a career as an artist. Her collage works evoke surreal and cinematic visuals as well as addressing a variety of existential and metaphysical themes. To discover more of Eugenia’s work click here and here.
Interview by Will Kitson
Tell us a bit about your childhood. What was your first creative impulse?
I started drawing rather well at around age 3-4. I was able to draw realistic people, while other kids would draw stick figures. I would continue drawing until the age of 16.
Then, life and school happened, and I didn’t do anything artistic for many years. Plus, in Greek schools we learn nothing about art, so everything was up to me to cultivate.
I wasn’t helped out about my art by my parents. They didn’t want me to become an artist. I was in fact asked to stop drawing at several occasions. I kept going because I simply enjoyed it. I used just plain paper, pencils. In retrospect, I wish I was afforded some watercolors.
Though you currently live in California, you grew up in Greece. How have these two different cultures affected your creative process? I’m thinking specifically of the influence that Greek mythology has had on your work?
I have a category of Greek mythology on my portfolio. I wanted to become an archaeologist as a kid. I don’t think that the Greek culture has affected me much though. I never fit in there. I love my country, but I didn’t have much in common with the people there growing up. I fit in better in California, and the open culture here in the Bay Area has had more of an effect to me. But to be honest, I still don’t fit in perfectly. My last stop in life will probably be Iceland.
You’ve had many different jobs, from being a nurse to working in the technology sector (which you described as an ‘impersonal world’). Can you tell us about your transition from this to becoming an artist, what sparked the change?
I got sick. I couldn’t work in technology anymore. I had to be at home, so art was the natural thing to happen to me again (filmmaking at first, collaging later). Eventually, I found what was making me so sick (gluten), and when I got healthy again, my artistic vision exploded real fast.
About a month after going Paleo (at the time, I didn’t know that was gluten specifically to blame), my brain got rewired. I felt alive again. Brain fog disappeared and instead, many times when I’d close my eyes, I’d see… abstract artworks. It was the most weird thing ever. This happened for over 2 months. Soon later, a very involved animated music video took place, and then, collaging. The rest is history. 🙂
You say you give away most of your works as you believe that art should be shared freely. Do you think that this allows you to be more liberal with your self-expression?
Yes. I don’t work with galleries, for example. I don’t want to be told or be mandated what kind of art to do. I create whatever I feel like, and then I share it with the world. Right now, my work is free for personal usage, but eventually, when I’m done with it (I’m known to change hobbies every 3-4 years), everything will be free for commercial usage too.
Your collage work uses images found in vintage magazines and scientific publications. How has scientific thinking influenced these works?
I don’t think that scientific thinking has influenced it much. Science fiction on the other hand, definitely has. And since a year ago, my works have spiritual/psychedelic messages too.
I grew up with Star Trek, and I consider ST:TNG to be among the most educational pieces of TV ever made. As I always say, it was my mother and my father for ethical matters that my real parents could never explain to me.
The psychonautical part of me awaken just over a year ago. In fact, I “got” it just on my 40th birthday. For the first time, I understood my place in the universe, and what’s all this around me. So I incorporated a lot of that in my art afterwards.
Your work has a dream-like quality; how does the subconscious play a role in your creative process?
I’m not afraid to admit that some (not all) of my works don’t come directly from “me”. For some key works or elements, I somehow “receive” the information. It’s like an intuitive knowing, I might just stare my work blankly, without any ideas, and then suddenly, an idea comes out of nowhere. It feels very strange because I have this knowing that the information didn’t come out of logical thought, it was placed there. So I think that my subconscious definitely plays a strong role in my work.
If the universe inside you were to be contained in just one symbol, what would that symbol be?
The infinity math symbol. I believe that THIS image says it all.
Published: November 11th, 2014