“[I love what I do because] it allows me to live in my truth and that is ultimate freedom.” – Lina Iris Viktor
Conceptual Artist | Performance Artist | Painter
The definition of #BlackGirlMagic!
One day I was mindlessly scrolling on social media and came across that interview. I immediately followed her on Instagram and have been hooked ever since. A true creative (in every aspect of the word) Lina refuses to box her creativity into one thing. Coming from a film, photography, and performance art background, she has expressed her creativity across a variety of mediums, from working with Spike Lee and designing for an agency, to creating dynamic mixed media art and visual performance pieces.
Originally from London, U.K. born to Liberian parents, Lina studied film at Sarah Lawrence College and design at The School of Visual Arts.
What makes her so unique is her use of black, a very specific hue of blue, and pure 24K gold (using the ancient technique of gilding) to make magnificent pieces of artwork.
After graduating college, Lina went on to work for Spike Lee…and hated it! She likes to do things alone and hated the collaborative process of filmmaking. As a filmmaker, that’s what I love most about it, but as a writer, I fully understand her preference for working in solitude. When I’m working on a new piece I like to isolate myself and dislike when people interject on my process.
She switched her focus to photography, and shortly after moved on to work in design, but found the work to be “soul-sucking and uninspiring”. After dropping that, she decided to focus on her artwork. She had a desire to create dynamic work that wasn’t design or digital based.
She’s always been obsessed with gold and fascinated by its deep roots, and origins in human civilization. She describes her work as “minimal decadence” because it’s simple but full at the same time. She takes inspiration from Ancient Egypt, the Dogon people of Mali, indigenous cultures in Australia and South America, and African textiles. Her work includes spiritual, cosmic, and mathematical themes.
“Beauty is a mathematical equation manifested into the physical. It is divine proportion that we regard as the golden ratio at work.” – Lina Iris Viktor
I’ve never really been “moved” by art the way others have. I figured it wasn’t my thing, but I was wrong. The first time I saw one of her pieces I was so intrigued. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before and it immediately drew me in.
Maybe it’s the way her color palette works together, or how the gold compliments the rest of the elements, but I’m totally in love, and dream of the day when I can hang her work in my house.
Check out this performance piece she did for Visionaire:
What also drew me in was her story. Not only does she come from the same kind of background as me (film and design), but I appreciate that she doesn’t box herself into one thing. She took command of her creativity and was able to apply it in a multitude of ways. Like her, I think of myself as an all-around creative, but have often had trouble defining that part of me. I never had formal training in the arts and struggled with finding different ways to express myself. People who possess the natural ability to paint and draw were artist in my eyes, but my thinking was flawed. I had only ever been exposed to that kind of artist, until I came across Lina.
Very controlled and mathematical, she makes it clear that she’s not a free hand painter, but instead starts off with huge digital prints on canvas, that she then manipulates and paints over. This immediately resonated with me. I’ve always had the desire to create and would try and channel that desire into filmmaking, but it was never enough. I always felt like something was missing. Concepts and ideas would flood my brain, and I would bury them, reminding myself that I wasn’t an artist and should not waste time trying to be something I was not. I’ve dipped and dappled in the arts over the years, but nothing serious. Well thanks to Ms. Viktor, that has changed.
Among many other things, what I absorbed the most from her journey is to embrace my process. Like me, she takes a long time to start on a new project (something I’ve tried hard to change about myself).
“It takes me a long time to start to literally create something…I need to draw, read, and soak up information before I start to create that thing, whatever that thing is.” – Lina Iris Viktor
She truly is an inspiration and I can’t wait to finally see her work in person at The Armory in March!
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