BROUHAHAART Interviews Lavia Lin
Lavia Lin is a Berlin-based abstract painter and live painting performance artist from Shanghai, China. She has a BA in humanities, arts and social thoughts with a concentration of arts and aesthetics from Bard College Berlin.
Growing up in the family owned live-music venue, she was exposed to music as a kid. As an attentive listener, she engages music with her senses, the embodied experience she has when listening to music inspires her to paint, where the intense feelings can only be put into “words” through colours. She’s interested in exploring ways of visualising the experience of listening, and conveying the beauty of music through colours. Lavia’s art can be described as atmospheric and melodic abstract art, that are often blue-toned.
Lavia Lin was featured on Brouhahaart 3D virtual "Beauteous forms' exhibition.
Tell us a little about your background?
"I was born in 1995, in Shanghai, China, to creative parents. My father is an actor and a painter, my mother manages our family-owned live music venue “House of Blues & Jazz’’. That’s probably where my love for music started but I never learned to play an instrument, instead I was interested in painting. I attended weekend classes at “Creative Art’’, where I learned the basic technique, mixed media and use of colours".
"I came to Berlin in 2014 to pursue my studies, and I have been living there ever since".
"As far as I can remember, I have always been painting or drawing ever since I was child. From little color penciled drawings of stories with stick figure princesses and ballroom dancing from fairy tales to landscape & still life paintings to the abstract paintings that I am making now, art has always been a part of my life. For a long time, I made art as a hobby.
After moving to Berlin, I was inspired to pursue an artistic career. There is so much happening in the vibrant local art scene, and being surrounded by many creative and amazing friends really motivate me to take a step forward to become an artist. Especially during the pandemic, I have reconnected with my creative self and realised how much painting means to me. I quitted my previous job and by the end of 2020, I have finally decided to become a freelance artist".
What motivates you to create and why have you chosen your particular subject matter and medium?
"Painting is my favourite way of expressing myself, it is a reflection of me, my emotions, my journeys and encounters. I’m an emotional person, I see creating art as cathartic experience of processing what’s happening in my life, it helps me to overcome and process emotions when they get too overwhelming. It is also an activity in which I can spend time with myself and my thoughts.
The ongoing painting series I’m working on is dedicated to music, especially Jazz, the music I grew up listening to. There are many music pieces that I feel especially attached to, some have personal meanings to me, where others are reflections of life events or significant moments in my life. I’m fascinated by the way how music triggers memories, pictures and emotions in me. I want to channel my love for music and put these feelings into “words’’ through colours and forms".
"Sometimes when I listen to a particular piece of music, I feel a rush of inspiration, I just have to paint it. I think abstraction is a great way of painting music, because music itself is a very abstract form of art (I’m not talking about the physical form of notes or recordings). My bachelor thesis was actually a study of the relation between painting and music, how the two mediums relate to and differ from each other".
"I’m still learning and experimenting how to make musical paintings and to capture the movements, melodies and rhythm in music".
Image : 'In a sentimental mood' Oil on Linen Canvas
What's your biggest barrier to being an artist? How do you address it?
"As I’m still in the early stage of my artistic career, it is a long process for an emerging artist to become an established one. It’s difficult to make a living merely as an artist, so I work on the side as a freelance cultural and event manager, working and co-curating cultural projects to ‘finance’ my artistic career. It is a slow start, but I really hope that I can dedicate my time fully to making art soon".
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given and professionally, what’s your goal?
"In art there is no right and wrong ’ is something my teacher from art school told me when I was a child. I have the tendency to be overly critical of my work, sometimes get discouraged by the paintings I make. When this happens, I’m reminded of this advice, and I take a step back from the current painting, either by taking a break, starting a new painting or simply paint it over. It helps me to be go back to it, sometimes, the painting actually doesn’t look that bad at all".
"My goal is be able to make a living as an artist (if it’s ever possible) and have more opportunities to exhibit my works. Also, to have a painting studio so I have more freedom in making larger paintings without worrying about throwing paints over all the place".
Image: 'Monk's Dream' Oil, Pastel, Mixed Media on Linen Canvas
How do you go about getting known?
"As an emerging artist, it is very important for me to promote my works, constantly look for open calls, residencies and opportunities to exhibit my works. I’m still learning more about the art market, and how to put my work out there. It can also be very difficult and expensive too. Luckily there are great platforms that also offer opportunities for emerging artists and support them! (Thank you, Brouhahaart!=)"
" I’m currently thinking of different strategies to let people know what I’m doing, by starting a regular newsletter. Social media is an excellent tool but it can be overwhelming too, people are exposed to so many visual images and contents every day and it’s challenging to come with new contents, to keep people interested. I think having a regular newsletter can be a great way to give people an overview of my works, perhaps offer more insights to the works and keep them informed about important exhibitions, events that I’m involved in".
Is there anything else you would like to add of interest for our audience?
"An important approach of my work to music is the direct contact to live music. Since 2017, I have worked with an Italian Band, “Satoyama’’ as a live painter, where I paint to their music during their live concerts. It opened up a new understanding of painting music for me. I found myself moving my arms simultaneously, as if I was playing an instrument, conversing and engaging with the musicians through painting. I really love the liveliness of the energy when music is being played alive, it encourages me to be courageous and more daring. Satoyama is planning a European tour with their newest album this year, hopefully we will be able to perform together again!"
"Aside from that, I’m honoured and grateful to Brouhahaart for the opportunity to exhibit my work virtually and it will be the first time for me to exhibit my complete Jazz painting series. I’m very excited about it! :) On top of that, I will be having a Pop-Up solo exhibition in August this year in Berlin, just for a week. I have planned a little concert and live painting action at the Vernissage, so the visitors can have a direct connection to my approaches to painting music!"
Image : 'When Sunny Gets Blue' Oil on Canvas
Discover more about Lavia Lin:
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