Divya Zeiss, Swantribune
All images supplied by Swantribune
Sometimes something creative speaks to you more than the usual. You find yourself craving to know more about the subject. How you gather more knowledge can vary, but whichever path you choose you find you still want to know more. This is what happened when I came across SWANTRIBUNE. You could say that the colourful souvenir illustrations of DIVYA AUORA ZEISS and DANIEL ARON COHEN touched me in a particularly profound way; I instantly adored the manner in which the art expressed their passion for the bygone era of travel and travel etiquette. Here, Divya opens up about their work, style and influences.
When did you become interested in art?
I can’t say I was ever interested in art itself, I never studied art. But I always needed beauty to surround me and everything that was beautiful became a form of art. I love colours, therefore, I love Matisse, but I stand before his paintings with a naive eye, very innocent to his techniques, motives, and methods. I am interested in beauty and the effect it has on the individual.
What was your first art love?
Actually, literature was my first love. The way in which words could compose a painting in my imagination was extremely powerful. I began to write about a world I visioned and later I found a way in which I could draw that same world that once I could only express in my diary as words.
What is your signature style?
Colour and little people within a setting.
How did it come about?
I never dared to draw before so I would collect images and cut them out to then make a collage, which came as close as possible to the idea I had in my mind.
Can you tell us a bit about your artistic process?
I went to Jaipur to do an internship in Manglam arts. I liked the idea of learning the art of hand block prints. Somehow I never entered the block print room and remained in the design compartment where day after day I played with watercolours. Within the month I drew and felt the most creative I had ever felt. I owe that awakening to Jaipur.
What material do you work with?
I began drawing sketches using watercolours in my travel diary. My partner Daniel encouraged me, believed in the style I was developing and pushed me to learn how to draw digitally. So my illustrations could be done on both paper and iPad.
What do you do when you get the artist’s equivalent of writer’s block?
I accept it and focus my attention on other things. There is no need to pressure oneself. I don’t associate myself with my art, more like being an instrument. In Indian culture, the Deity Saraswati is the Goddess who bestows creativity on one. Her blessings turn into art and beauty, we are only instruments. So if I no longer feel creative I completely surrender that if it needs to it will come again.
What are your creative influences?
I am very inspired by the past, especially the bygone era of travel and travel etiquette. Hotel lobbies and the way ladies and gentlemen dressed for breakfast and dinner. There’s a mist to that world that has somehow dissolved now, and so I like to wander to the past for inspiration when it comes to fashion and settings.
What’s next for you?
A great work of art should be spontaneous and for oneself.
THE GUCCI CLASSROOM
Perhaps had I worn beautiful clothes in the classroom,
I would have learnt to be a lady.
Had there been flora and a Cheetah,
I would have learnt to have an imagination.
Had I been able to see the sky I would have caught all the shooting stars and fulfilled my dreams.
I wore the muse of another man,
because in Venice the muse was never I
and the man always another.
A BABYHOOD OF DEITIES
I had a babyhood of deities,
and I was told they all lived within my body,
which they said was a temple.
So I corrected them and said,” no its a lobby”
CENOBIO DEI DOGI
I got over my Adolescent sadness when I found out about karma, that perhaps I was still suffering from the spoils of my last life and he was gallant because of his.
So we became wizards and hid in pink houses on the Riviera.