Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic singularity?
I have always been creative and artistic my whole life. As a kid, I would prefer to paint, draw or do crafts rather than play soccer or climb trees outside. My first real art show was at a local restaurant called Jane Bond in Waterloo where I grew up and was going to school. I studied art at the University of Waterloo, but it was actually through my time outside of the classroom that I created my first real body of work for this show at the Jane Bond, which was a huge success. I pushed myself to create five large canvases, three of which sold immediately following the show. After that, the last half of my time at university was much more fulfilling. Learning to create things for myself was a very important lesson. It’s what I was making outside of the classroom, the stuff that wasn’t being graded that was most authentic and important to me. After graduating, I was very grateful to have been included in many group shows, art fairs, and residencies. One thing lead to another and I’m very happy with where my artistic path has led me thusfar!
How did you find your voice as an artist?
My first body of work was extremely spiritual and very personal. I was interested (and still am) in the links between science, spirituality and art. These ideas are still what fuels my practice today. I’m trying to find new ways of expressing the same fundamental curiosities about life, connectedness and technology. I write a lot, my sketchbook contains almost no sketches (I use the computer for that). I love experimenting with technology and discovering how I can use the digital in my process of painting. But the writing helps me to make sense of what I am doing visually, and is a personal way to ensure that I’m creating in line with what matters. In 2015 I started writing about a ‘Digital Sublime’– feelings of awe and terror surrounding our technological world. I think a lot about the current state of the world and where spirituality might have a place in our new digital reality. I am very influenced by contemporary painters such as Dan Hays as well as historical artists like Hilma Af Klint and Georgia O’Keefe.
In your work you explore the impact of technology and digital processes on art and contemporary life – what are your main ideas you want to transfer with your art?
Behind my work is a definite optimism and enthusiasm for technology and its future role in creativity and in life. I feel that there is far too much media inducing guilt and terror about evolving technologies. We are afraid of those things that exceed our comprehension because we are terrified of the unknown. Through the work, I hope to posit a gentler more hopeful outlook that demonstrates faith in technology and in humanity. Of course, the paintings are abstract, but through the processes behind the work there is a harmony between digital and natural. It’s my hope that a certain assuredness emerges from the work, a nod to a new way of creating through and alongside the digital.
Without getting too esoteric… In technology I see a certain movement and direction towards some sort of ultimate interconnectivity. A flow and exchange of information between everything that touches it. I strongly believe that our technology is the catalyst for positive change, transformation, and maybe even some form of enlightenment.
Many critiques think that digital means and digital communication destroy art – what is your opinion on that?
I have met many people who think that technology is threatening their social interaction and experience of nature. The fear is that with so much at the tips our fingers, we are being pulled away from real life. This seems to be popular opinion now. I think this argument takes all blame away from the people using the technology. In the end, you are in control of whether you go outside to read a book, see a friend, or choose to stay in your den chatting online through the internet. Technology does not limit your social or natural experiences so much as you let it. Much of the conversation about the destructiveness of technology is fear mongering.
We all have a choice. To either let the fear of change paralyze us, or learn to work with it to our advantage. I’m a fan of the latter. We are at a technological place that most of us can’t understand… and yes, that’s scary but it’s also thrilling and exciting! Looking past the fear to see all the opportunity and possibility ahead of us is revelatory. Have a little faith in humanity and see all the wonderful things we are creating! New worlds are being opened to us, new perceptions and attitudes. That’s expansive, not destructive.
You are working with very innovative techniques such as 3D modelling software. Which other different techniques would you like to experiment with?
I was recently on residence at the Banff Centre in Alberta and got a chance to experiment with 3D printing and bronze casting. I would love to continue experimenting with sculpture and 3D printing soon, but for now I am focused on painting 🙂
Vickie Vainionpää on Singulart: https://www.singulart.com/en/artist/vickie-vainionp%C3%A4%C3%A4-1015