I am proud to present Featured Artist of the Month Erika Farkas. Go grab a cup of coffee because you are going to be mesmerized by Erika’s artwork.
Featured Artist Of The Month Erika Farkas
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“Gaia, Spirit of Earth in Distress” is a charcoal drawing on paper, 16” x 22”. With this drawing, I tried to convey a perhaps shocking image in which the beauty of earth is being ruined by pollution and human negligence.
“Dripping” is a graphite pencil drawing on paper, 16” x 2o”. This drawing received two first prizes at two different exhibitions in Ottawa in 2015, as well as a Special Merit Award at the international online gallery at https://www.lightspacetime.art/
“Conjugal visit” is a graphite pencil drawing on paper, 11” x 14”. It is a scene where a mare is visiting her locked-up mate, thus the title of “conjugal visit”.
“Homeward bound” is a pastel painting done with soft pastels on pastelmat, 12” x 16”. I tried to convey the feeling when the beginning of a snow storm forces the shepard and sheep to head home.
“True King” is a pastel painting done with soft pastels on pastelmat, 12” x 16”. I tried to capture the lion’s majestic glance and mane.
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Hello Erika I am so happy you could join me today. I am a big fan of your artwork and looking forward to learning more about your art journey and your artistic style.
Dave Nevue – Erika where are you from?
Erika Farkas – I was born in Arad, Romania and I have been living in Ottawa, Canada since 1987.
Dave Nevue – How long have you been creating art?
Erika Farkas – I actually started seriously creating art in 2012, at the age of 50. I can really say that I am a late bloomer! And the good thing is that I haven’t stopped since.
Dave Nevue – This is so inspiring. You will often hear me say that it is never to late to do something you have always wanted to do.
Dave Nevue – What inspired you to be an artist?
Erika Farkas – I always wanted to be an artist, but life circumstances took me on a different path, so I left art in the back of my mind. One day I created a pencil portrait for my niece as a birthday present, and from that day, something clicked in me and I have been creating art ever since. I still have a full-time job in Information Technology at the City of Ottawa, but I realized that creating art for me is more than a past-time hobby. It’s what I was supposed to do, it’s my real calling in life.
Dave Nevue – What medium did you start with?
Erika Farkas – I started with graphite and charcoal pencils, and shortly after I gave a try to coloured pencils and pastel pencils. From then, I graduated myself to acrylic and mixed media.
Dave Nevue – I see that you specialize using graphite, charcoal and pastels. How do you decide on what medium you will be working with for each project?
Erika Farkas – I love doing black and white portraits, so for my portraits I often choose graphite in combination with charcoal. My latest portrait commissions were also for black and white portraits, so then the choice was already made for me. For landscapes, where colour is important, I use soft pastels and pastel pencils. Lately, I have also been moonlighting with mixed media and abstract art, where I even combine my drawings and acrylic paints and incorporate them on canvas.
Dave Nevue – Do you have a favorite medium?
Erika Farkas – I can’t say I do. I like variety in my work, and that’s why I can’t settle down just for one medium and for one artistic style. For works on paper, I prefer graphite and pastel pencils and soft pastels. For works on canvas, I prefer acrylic paints for abstracts and landscapes, and oil paints for portraits.
Dave Nevue – Who are some of your favorite artists?
Erika Farkas – Although I love several classic artists, my biggest influences were a few contemporary hyper-realist artists. For pencil portraits, my favourite artist is the German Dirk Dzimirski. For pastel portraits, it’s definitevely the Spanish Ruben Belloso.
For oil paintings, it’s Yigal Ozeri and David Jon Kassan. I also love the work of Justin Gaffrey, who inspired my floral paintings.
Dave Nevue – Could you tell me about your artistic style and how it
Erika Farkas – I started out with pencil portraits, being influenced by some of the great hyper-realist pencils artists, such as Dirk Dzimirsky and Paul Cadden. I was really impressed by their works and I wanted to do something similar. I soon realized that far from being as good as them, my portraits were not bad either. After working with black and white graphite and charcoal pencils for a few years, I tried my luck with coloured pencils. I did not find coloured pencils a good medium for me, so I tried pastel pencils, which I found to be great. So I did a few landscapes, animal and human portraits with soft pastels and pastel pencils, and I must say that I quite like working with this medium. Later I tried out acrylic and oil paints, and even created some mixed media on canvas. My artistic style started out as realistic, and I have quite a few works in that style. But I also love the surreal and abstract, so of course, I had to do some works in those styles as well.
Dave Nevue – How do you find inspiration?
Erika Farkas – I can find inspiration anywhere, really. My realistic works are done mainly from photographs, so when I come across an interesting image online, I do research on it and get permission to draw or paint it. I occasionally take my own pictures and try to recreate their subject and atmosphere as realistically as possible.
Dave Nevue – Would you mind sharing some of the awards you have won?
Erika Farkas – I have won several awards in local juried exhibitions in Ottawa, and some in international online exhibitions. Although these awards did not entail any monetary reward, it helped me a lot in my own formation as an artist, reinforcing my hope that my work had some potential.
Dave Nevue – What message would you like to get across with your art?
Erika Farkas – I would like to help people perceive beauty not only in the accepted and photoshoped features of a face, but in the character and value that is hidden behind an old wrinkled face, an imperfect smile, a soulful glance of an animal. Beauty is all around us, we just have to stop once in a while from our busy lives and take a minute or two to appreciate it.
Dave Nevue – Do you sell your art? If so when did you first start selling your work?
Erika Farkas – After a year of creating tons of human and animal portrait drawings, in 2013 I decided it was time to see if I could actually sell some of them. It was not an easy process. Everybody seemed to like my drawings, but in the beginning I only sold to other artists.
I soon realized that in local venues where I exhibited, there was no real market for black and white drawings, especially portraits. So I tried my luck with my colourful pastels and acrylic paintings, and these seemed to do better. I started to sell a few, and hopefully I will continue to do so in the future. I still do black and white portrait drawings, but mostly for commissions.
Dave Nevue – Where can people purchase your art?
Erika Farkas – My art can be purchased on the UK site Artfinder, where anything that I have currently on sale is posted. I also sell locally in art shows. If someone is interested in one of my works listed on my website, they can contact me directly through my website erikafarkas.com. I try to keep my website up to date with my older and newer artworks. If one is sold, it will indicate so on the image. I also accept commissions for portraits through my other website PortraitsFromPicture.com.
Dave Nevue – Where can people view your artwork and learn more about you online?
Erika Farkas -My website contains my bio, my artist statement, as well as my best artworks. I often get asked by students for permission to do a school project on me and my drawings. That is why I assembled a Frequently Asked Questions page that gives a bit more details about myself and my drawing process.
I also have an artist profile page on several Ottawa art organization websites, where I am a current member.
Dave Nevue – What social media sites can people follow you on?
Erika Farkas – I am very active on Facebook, and a little bit on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. If someone wants to follow me, it would be best on Facebook. I have two art pages there: https://www.facebook.com/ErikaFarkasArt/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErikaFarkasArt
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/farkas1299/
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/efarkas23/feed
Dave Nevue – Do you enjoy the business side of being an artist?
Erika Farkas – Of course not. Most artists, same as myself, love the creating process, but hate the marketing and selling part. But after I decided to start selling my work, I soon realized that today it is not enough to be a good artist. There are tons of other great artists, so I must make myself visible in some way and take advantage of the online marketing and selling opportunities.
Dave Nevue – What advice could you share with young artists trying
to enhance their craft?
Erika Farkas – If you are not a self-learner like me, you might want take a workshop or two to gain a deeper knowledge of a particular technique or medium. Learn something new and keep experimenting with different media. There are tons of great art demos on YouTube, take advantage of them. Keep art making fun. As long as you are enjoying what you do, it will be all worthwhile.
Dave Nevue – What advice could you share with artists just learning
how to sell their art either online or offline?
Erika Farkas – My first advice is to start out with a good artist website. In our days, it’s very important to project a good front to encourage potential buyers, and not only the online buyers. Join local art organizations, and through them, you will have the chance of exhibition your work in group or solo shows. Have a good business card with your contact info and your website, which is very important. Potential buyers might see one of your works exhibited somewhere, but they might not be ready to buy. Once they look at your website, learn about you and your other works, they might be more inclined to buy that piece of art. If you want to sell art online, there are tons of sites where you can join for free and post your artworks. They will charge a commission if one of your pieces are sold, but so do most art galleries. Use social media to your advantage, have an artist page on Facebook at least, and using paid advertisement to get more likes is also a good idea.
Selling art these days is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while until you sell. You just need perseverance, and in the end, you are bound to get some good results.
Thank you so much for joining me today Erika. I look forward to
seeing more of your work in the near future.
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