April 7, 2023: Vian Borchert Interview
is an award-winning expressionist artist, poet, and educator along with being a Notable Alumni of Corcoran GW University. Borchert exhibits in galleries in cities such as NYC, LA, and London, along with coverage in publications. Borchert had her artwork exhibited in places like Times Square – Broadway Plaza, the United Nations Gallery, NYC, Art Basel Miami Beach.
Website: www.vianborchert.com Instagram: @vianborchert
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I currently reside in the Washington D.C. area. I am an American artist, although I do consider myself a global citizen and an international person due to my travels and upbringing. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and my childhood was spent in Amman, Jordan. When I was a teenager, my parents moved to Washington D.C., where I went to art school/college. I am a graduate and "Notable Alumni" from the Corcoran College of Art and Design George Washington University, Washington, D.C. I've been working and involved in the arts ever since. I was always interested in art as far as I can remember. I was born into an artistic household where my family are artists and art supporters.
Everyone from my mother's side of the family does something with the arts and is rather artsy. I believe due to my genetic leanings, I was born an artist or born to be an artist. Art runs in my blood so to speak. Hence, I was born with this natural gift and talent that was refined, enhanced and polished into an art career through my family's support. Furthermore, my school's principals noticed my talent at an early age and directed and encouraged me in the art field. In a sense, it was a no-brainer that I became an artist. Almost everyone who saw my art when I was a child said, "She has to become an artist, going for another profession is almost a crime." I would hear that almost constantly growing up when people saw my art. Thus, I didn't even think about another career, although if I go back in time, I would have loved to have been a surgeon or a psychologist. One can say, it was almost the environment along with my creative nature that nurtured me in such a path. When I was young, I remember saying to myself: I am good at art and will pursue it. And, that's what happened.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
I started doing art at a very young age and as far as I can remember. One can say, the minute I was able to hold a pencil then that's when it all started. Most likely when I was a toddler. I was a very shy child and art for me was a refuge from the world. At a very young age, I remember secluding myself to my desk in my own corner of the house that I dedicated to myself to create my artwork and do my artsy creative projects and crafts. In a way, thinking back, It was almost creating my own little world away from the peering and critical world and entering my own space and zone. Art did that for me as a child and still does that for me as an adult. Art is a form of sanctuary that I retreat to in order to find solace and peace. I remember being very content in that space and world that I created for myself by sitting at my desk quietly and drawing away the day. This art was and still is a form of self-soothing mechanism that brings a smile to my face and a hidden joy within my heart.
What themes or ideas are you exploring in your art practice? Are your works purely visual or do they also have a symbolic meaning?
My artwork evolves and shifts as I grow older and with time. So, the paintings done, let's say 10 years ago, look different than the ones done today. My expressionist identity as a painter and artist has always been evident throughout my art practice and creation.
For the longest time, the themes I explored were abstract seascapes due to my deep love for the sea and part of me believes this is due to the fact that I was born a few feet from the Mediterranean Sea. In this, I do believe the sea runs through me.
In 2020 I started working on NYC cityscapes in my abstracted style encompassing the color purple and its lavender and periwinkle shades. A huge series of NYC skyline paintings was a result of my love for the magical city and its wondrous architecture and landmarks. In March 2023, I had an Invitational solo exhibition at the prestigious NYC Phoenix Art Gallery where my NYC cityscapes were highlighted.
My artwork is a mix of the visual and the symbolic. My paintings can be mysterious and allude to the idea of storytelling yet in an abstract form. Also, my art can offer symbolism. To illustrate, the scattered waves within a painting can imply a storm and the difficulty of going through uncharted waters. The titles of my paintings also help the viewers in deciphering the deep meanings that go into the works. Yet, I am one of those artists who doesn't mind the different interpretations the viewers bring to the table upon viewing the works.
To be moved by a work of art, is where art matters in transforming lives into better ones through this visionary interlude. Moreover, in regards to symbolism, in my writing on art and especially in my artwork, there were monochromatic black and white pieces done during Covid where the sentiment was to state the nostalgic feeling of missing a beautiful city and its monumental landmarks during the shutdown and quarantine times. The color was absent to express strongly and without ornamental decoratives the stark reality we found ourselves in during the midst of Covid times when everyone was quarantined in their homes.
You are a poet and a visual artist. Do poetry and visual art go hand in hand, are they fueling each other?
Yes, art and poetry go hand in hand for me at least. In some cases, I create the artwork and then I write a small poem or a haiku to it. In many cases, I post the works together as an entity. For example, in the summer of 2022, I participated in an NYC art exhibition titled "Flora and Fawna" at Lichtundfire Gallery where I am represented at. The works were inspired by English literary novels that I read as a child such as "The Secret Garden." After the paintings were created for the exhibit, I wrote short poems to accompany each work to encompass its essence and give hints to the romantic feelings I wanted to emit from the work. Here is an example of that through this work titled "A Sea of Flora" and here is the painting's poem that encompasses the essence of the artwork:
"In a secret garden
I buried a seed
that bloomed and blossomed
into a field"
Do you actively search for inspiration or wait for inspiration to find you?
I don't actively search for inspiration, it simply occurs without effort. I believe this is due to the fact that I was born with a natural gift/talent, and I am a highly creative individual. Thus, inspiration comes to me effortlessly sometimes in the least expected matters. I could be simply driving and I would look up and see a source of light coming through the trees while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and just that simple light that caught my eye through the branches can evoke one idea leading to another and another, and through this, a fountain of ideas start streaming through my head. I am very much a right-brain-oriented person.
What's the most peculiar thing/situation that sparked your inspiration?
As of recently, the peculiar thing that has sparked my inspiration is more of a concept rather than an actual concrete visual thing. My recent works have been inspired by the concept of infinity rather than a specific place. The idea was to bring perspective to a difficult theory that has baffled many from ancient Greek philosophers like Archimedes and Aristotle to physicists, mathematicians and even artists. Thus, bringing a matter that very few can pinpoint and projecting it visually through my paintings via an abstract field helps in presenting these deep subject matters.
What artist(s) do you admire?
I love art history and the riches of art genres and artists it gives us. Some of the artists that pop in my head are Monet, Louise Bourgeois, Anselm Kiefer and others. I am also a huge fan of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, and I find their expressive work to be so meaningful. Another artist whose work I love is Richard Diebenkorn, especially his Ocean Park series which depicts the topography and streets of the Bay Area. Anselm Kiefer is my favorite contemporary artist from our times.
How do you relax and recharge?
I relax and recharge through meditation. Due to Covid times, I feel that I grew a lot in terms of my mindset. I felt that the Covid times had tested me in so many aspects, that I had to look for ways to retreat within myself to find peace and solace within my mind, body and soul. I usually meditate in a quiet corner first thing in the morning and around the time I drink my cup of coffee. I feel starting my day with half an hour of meditation helps me a lot. Meditation and its exploration have aided me in valuing my strengths and my being as a whole.
In an ideal world where money or time is not a constraint, what is your dream project?
One dream that has been with me for many years is to make my own museum with a fruitful garden and a restaurant on the premises that serves from the garden's bounty. It would be not only a museum to go see works by contemporary artists such as myself, but also works by contemporary artists I discover and want to shed a light on. The venue will not only be an art museum with spectacular gardens but also a mental-wellness center where people would gather to practice yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and listen to eclectic musical performances along with outdoor artsy movies - a cultural and wellness hub of sorts. I mention food since I am a foodie and a cook as well and many people have told me how delicious my dishes are and that I should open my own restaurant. So, in a sense, this future dream venue with spectacular views to meditate in the sunset should encompass my passions in all its forms from music to cinema to art, cuisine and more.
Tell us about the future: plans, dreams, anything you'd like to share with the world.
I have a number of future projects in the Washington DC area, I've been invited by embassies to display my artwork in cultural events during "Passport DC" week which is a time in early May when the embassies in Washington DC open their doors to the public through cultural happenings and events.
In the Summer, I return back to NYC for a number of art exhibits and events. In June, I will be exhibiting again with Lichtundfire Gallery, in an exhibit titled "Lemon Sky '' with a concept by curator Priska Juschka. Also in June, I will have a number of my NYC cityscape paintings up in a digital exhibition in Times Square - Broadway Plaza. Keeping my fingers crossed that the upcoming events and happenings will go well and be impactful.
Moreover, be watchful for the artwork that I have on the auction marketplaces of 1stDibs and on Artsy where one can acquire my original artwork, and stay posted on the new paintings I create.