Component Exploration: Nina’s Art
Toxicity by Nina
Nina (she/her) – Artist’s Statement and Reflections
I’m 26 years old, I live in Vancouver in the Downtown Eastside actually. I make paintings like abstract art is what I usually do. Art is something that I just started. I’ve only been painting for three years now, before that I was in social services. I had my practicum to like work with this one organization as a mental health worker and it was part way through my practicum that I ended up stopping and just taking on earth full time because I just got so into it. It’s true, I started off in social service because I liked helping people, but then I realized with art that I could be doing the same thing. I can help people with my art in a way.
I named it “Toxicity” because I felt like it was – almost like fumes in it – like fumes coming out. Like toxic fumes. When I was doing the painting, I felt a little stressed out and it was like any kind of toxic energy was being let go, you know. I guess so, in a way. Because there’s some light colors but there’s purple in there, too, it’s kind of dark. Light in the dark kind of makes you feel like a mix of emotions. I liked the way it looks. It’s pretty abstract but there’s a lot going on, I see almost like ghosts in it, and like faces and it’s pretty trippy. Like usual I mixed my paint, got it ready, prepared everything. I don’t really have a set vision of what I’m going to do, or when to do it, I just go with the flow, but it turned out alright, in my opinion, so.
I think one of the themes would be called like the contrast of light and dark. I think another theme would be release and allowing room for different kinds of energy. Another theme could be kind of free flowing and just kind of free. Maybe a theme is that it’s okay to be free and just go with the flow. I just like going with the flow with these paintings, you know, and then, just like letting it just evolve on its own naturally. This is kind of really important to me to be able to not have it too pressured either or planned out. Just to go with it and see how it goes. To have that kind of faith that it will turn out alright. Um when I think of the darkness, I think of it makes you feel loneliness and maybe sadness too and withdrawal from things.
People a lot of times asked me do you pre draw it or how do you go about it. I always have gone into it with the vibes and just you know just started playing with the paints and making images in my head with like the paints and colors and next thing you know, I have a painting. Sometimes it’s even beyond me like I can’t believe I’ve even created what I’ve created sometimes. I like to basically, just express what kind of emotions that I’m feeling at the time. Usually, I like to do different kinds of styles too. But usually if I’m doing a series of paintings, I like to change each one up like with the colors or whatever. But they all reflect how I feel.
Well, I’ve always tried to inspire others with my art in a way, like. Because I do a lot of abstract work. You can see and interpret your own things when you see it right. Especially if I’m doing a painting for someone in particular and I’m making a painting for them, I try to make something that when they’re looking at it, that painting and a piece that they will experience something you know, greater than just like “oh it’s Nice”. I want them to feel a deep connection and like have you know emotions come out and like and it’s and it’s happened before, like I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve made paintings for people, and I’ve literally seen them in tears, and it’s such a beautiful thing that art can touch people’s souls in such a deep way.
No, not really just that, like you know they’re abstract. I think, like my intention was to allow the person who is watching them or looking at them to experience whatever that they want to experience really. I like to leave room for them to be able to interpret it the way they want to interpret it so.
My paintings in general all have this kind of bubbly kind of effect going on. Mostly, because I like the way it looks, but it also is because I think it reflects what I’m going through. Which is a lot of times when I’m doing these pieces, I am letting things out. Either maybe it’s happy emotions, maybe it’s sad, angry, whatever it is it’s like they’re almost like those little bubbles, and you know they can go and get big and then they pop in, and you know they released right. Yeah, most of the time I do I get this feeling of just whatever kind of emotions I have inside are being released in a way.
I kind of just leave it [my art] for the person who’s watching to interpret and if they see something and they think that they see something, then that’s good right, that’s cool. But you know everyone, I think, sees something different anyways when it’s abstract. If the students understand, like the full… like you know where I’m coming from with it… just relaxing and letting that stress go. It’s possible to let emotions out in a way that’s healthy. Even though it’s something toxic is not per se something like a great thing, but when you do release that kind of negative you create room, I think, for the positive and bring forward better energy… Maybe it’s looking at and being well, are you able to have that kind of release too? Are you able to look at this and, like feel the lines of the work, of the colours and the blending of them – almost like bubbling up in the… the painting? And that it’s okay to release things but it’s possible to have that freedom and to not be negative about it, but to be positive. In a pretty kind of way too, because it looks nice.
I just wanted to add one thing with COVID. I wanted to say, but mentioned that it’s even harder for the arts, I think, since COVID started like. I went from having commissions and selling paintings almost all the time to like slowly it just kind of went lower and lower and went to a dull point. And I know obviously, the whole world worried about the virus and there’s so much going on, but the focus for people changed a little bit and it wasn’t necessarily directed toward the arts. Definitely, I feel like it’s definitely impacted the business for sure, like and then that’s in return impacted my mental health in a way, because it’s made it’s brought me a little bit you know of sadness, or whatever and depression. Because I’m not doing as much or not getting to be able to make as many paintings as they used to. It sets you back and makes you obviously kind of sad in a way.