Serena Curmi‘s minimalistic and slightly melancholic drawings are an escape from our prismatic colour based reality. The artist herself reveals what her art is all about: visual aesthetics, a little bit of cosy solitude and a great deal of imagination.
Serena knew that her destiny was to become an artist from a very young age. She was 2 years old when her parents decided to buy a white VW van which was eventually covered in stickers from almost all of the States of America. This adventure was followed by another one – living on a sailboat and travelling around the world for 8 years.
Serena’s artwork usually consists of solitary figures with endless space in the background: “I don’t like things that are too cluttered. That is what makes it mine, in a way. It might have something to do with the fact that when we lived on a boat we didn’t have a lot of stuff.”
This loneliness in her paintings is sometimes contrastingly accompanied by other living creatures, birds in particular. Birds and wintery forest animals such as dears, bears and wolves appeal to her visually, adding mystery and romance to her work.
Where does the inspiration come from and what stories are being told through her works of art? Serena tells us more about this:
“It is more of an intuitive process, I start a drawing and it starts to form some kind of a narrative. And then the idea develops. I do not like to be too obvious about what it means,” the painter admits. “For instance, ‘Judgement’, which got selected for last year’s RWA Autumn show, has a quite simple meaning. The girl in the picture is looking as if she is judging or is being judged by a viewer.”
“I am trying to portray a sense or feeling of intrigue or mystery without trying to be too direct, because as soon as I am too obvious about it, it becomes an illustration. Even if I feel like it means something particular to me, I do not want to say, ‘This is it’. I want people to relate to it in their own way without putting my meaning on it.”
With pastel colours dominating in most of Serena’s paintings, inspiration to use specific combinations comes from Pinterest: “I spend ages trying to figure out the colours I want to use as usually they are quite monotone and greyed down. When I was working as an illustrator they were never bright enough, especially for the British market.”
After working from home in London, painting for a variety of educational publications and illustrating children’s books, such as ‘The Dream Jar’ and ‘Smile, Principessa’, Serena Curmi moved to Bristol and now works at Jamaica Street Artist Studios: “I love it here as it is such an amazing place with a vibrant atmosphere”.