London, United Kingdom
Christian Azolan is an artist we picked up on through our partner The Arts Gallery who have been following Christian and his work for a while now. He went on to grab our attention by winning the Artourney Painter of January 2021 award and we thought it be a nice idea to introduce Christian to our community of art lovers. He says he creates art for people’s walls and not for the galleries, but we’re not so sure his work won’t end up in galleries around the world. Read on for an interview with Christian and get to know him.
2021- Artourney Painter of January 2021
Who is Christian and what does he do?
My name is Christian Azolan and I'm a visual artist from London UK. I started my full-time art and illustration practice at the start of the first UK national lockdown in March 2020. Since then I've released 4 art collections: Matters of the Heart which is about emotions of the human heart, Light Fantastica which is about the power of light around us, The Birds which is a direct response to the confinement of the pandemic and Genesis; my new series exploring the luminescence of creating a new world. I'm in the process of working on my first acrylic and paint series called LBG which fuses photography and painting as one medium.
What is your background?
I studied fashion design and illustration at Ravensbourne College of Design and I only picked up art again at the age of 37 as i wanted to have a job that was purely creative and have my own business. So i thought becoming an artist was my only option. I love drawing, I love art and I love creating things for people's walls.
What does art mean to you?
To me it's all about the visual, I love simple and effective art, from abstract to simple illustration it's about what the viewer feels. I love adornment and it needs to have meaning, even if the viewer can't see it. All my art has meaning, it's not just a pure pleasure of adornment.
What do you think art means to people in general? What is the importance of art in the world?
Art is about stimulation and whenever I buy art I always make sure I like it first, then I look at the size and see if it will work in my environment, will it be for my studio, will it be for my living room, bedroom etc. Then I look at the price. Art means different things to different people, it's about expression and intent. I consider film, music and books all art. I think Art is very important in the world as for it is all about the 'visual', we learn to see shapes, faces and experience emotions before we can even talk and communicate as babies. They say maths is the universal language, but it's the ‘visual.’ You have to learn maths, but you don't have to learn to see and feel.
How do you work?
I have a very clear process, I think of my idea not yet fully formed, I find inspiration, I do research, I watch a few films just for stimulation, i draw a few sketches and make a few marks, I decide on colours and styles, I start illustrating a mood and an idea of a series of works. I start working on all the artworks at the same time, moving from one to another, I think that keeps your eyes fresh and you can feel the works coming together as one. I then edit, this is important as not everything I draw will make the final selection, some artworks I do as part of a series will never see the light of day or be released. Then I give it a name and release it, as sometimes a name comes at the start, sometimes at the end.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I'm inspired by nature, I go walking a lot, animals and people. I'm also inspired by global issues like the environment, social justice and human emotions.
Which artist or artwork inspires you most?
I'm inspired by Alexander Mcqueen as he blurred the line between fashion and art, I'm also a fan of Salvador Dali and Mario Testino. I'm slightly obsessed with Art Nouveau artists like Alphonse Mucha, Gustave Klimt, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is interesting how the art and artists I like is not actually the art I have in my home. I love illustrations and graphic design artists when it comes to my home. I like to find up and coming artists and photographers that are not yet known.
Name 3 artists you would like to be compared to
I think being compared to another artist is a bit cringe to be honest, but if i had to pick one i would say Gustav Klimt, there is no way i can pick 3.
What do you hope to achieve in your art career?
I hope one day to be in a national gallery but I make art for people's homes and not for the art gallery so the chance of that happening is very slim. I think in art you feed the masses or you feed the critics, I don't think you can ever really do both.
What do you like and dislike about the art world?
I think the art world has a real issue with diversity, I spoke to an art journalist once who said he would love to show my work but he wanted me to produce some black art. What he meant was that I should have black figures and really fit his idea of 'black art'. I said I don't want to be known as a black artist, I just want to know as an artist. Being black, everything I create is therefore 'black art' or just simply art.